The Creative Team
The Ghosts of Celilo is a collaborative dramatic production developed, written, and composed during the last 10 years by Marv Ross, Thomas Morning Owl (Umatilla), Chenoa Egawa (Lummi), Arlie Neshakhi (Navajo), and Tom Hampson. Greg Tamblyn joined this group several years ago as the director of The Ghosts of Celilo.
Marv Ross & Rindy Ross (Ross Productions) are musicians, songwriters, producers, and former teachers. Marv is also a playwright. In 1981, with his wife Rindy, he formed Quarterflash, a band signed to Geffen Records that produced four albums resulting in more than 2 million records sold. Their writing and production with Quarterflash garnered several awards including, “Best Debut Artist 1982” - North American Radio Rock Awards, the Recording Industry Association of America’s Gold and Platinum Album Awards, and the Canadian Recording Industry’s Platinum Album Award.
In 1993, Marv was commissioned by the state of Oregon to write and produce Voices From The Oregon Trail, a play with music that toured for three years and was awarded The American Society of Composers, Artists, and Producers Special Award. From Voices, Marv formed The Trail Band which has recorded 9 albums, and presented the Meritorious Award from the Oregon-California Trails Association. In 2000, Marv and Rindy received the “Alumni Award of Excellence” from Western Oregon University for their contributions to Northwest history and music. In 2002, Marv was invited to the Kennedy Center’s New Visions New Voices workshop to develop Sacagawea - an original play presented by Oregon Children’s Theatre.
Marv has spent years doing extensive research on the music, history, and culture of the native peoples on the Columbia River in the creation of The Ghosts of Celilo. He served on the board of Painted Sky, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting Native American music, and co-produced Jammin’ For Salmon for the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission.
Thomas Morning Owl Jr. is a tribal leader, linguist, teacher, and musician. He has served as the Chairman of the General Council of the Umatilla Reservation of Oregon. In 1981, he was the youngest individual to be elected to the Tribes Governing Body at the age of 18. Thomas founded the traditional language program for the Umatillas and has supervised the tribe’s preservation of Columbia plateau language, culture, and song. Thomas is an accomplished traditional singer and Powwow producer and announcer. His knowledge of traditional songs - both religious and secular spans many years. His efforts to revive the relatively unknown songs of the plateau lends an invaluable weight to the creation of The Ghosts of Celilo.
Chenoa Egawa is a member of the Lummi and S’Kallam nations of Washington State and a multifaceted performance artist. As a vocalist, she has released four CDs - Spirit of Salishan (Swan Clan Productions, 2007), Heartbeat of Life (Swan Clan Productions, 2006), Road of Life (Swan Clan Productions, 2002) and Sacred Fire (Sound of America Records, 1997). Her experience as an actor includes performing in the lead role of Sacagawea, staged as part of the New Visions, New Voices series at Washington, D.C.’s Kennedy Center in May 2002, and a guest appearance on television’s Northern Exposure. She is also host of the Native news television program, Northwest Indian News, and hosted the one-hour documentary, Inside Passage, for PBS currently showing nationwide. She has performed as guest singer and storyteller at a variety of Native cultural events.
Egawa has long been active in international work for Indigenous peoples. In 1991, she worked as an intern at the United Nations Center for Human Rights in Geneva, Switzerland, serving as a member of the Secretariat during the 10th Session of the Working Group of Indigenous Peoples. In 1996, she was part of an international Native delegation that traveled to Chile to support Indian communities there in efforts to halt construction of dams on their homelands. In 1997, she received a fellowship from the Institute of Current World Affairs to study, write and publish on issues concerning Indigenous peoples of Mexico and Guatemala.
For the past six years, Egawa has worked with the University of Washington in Seattle to develop curriculum and workshops that celebrate Native American culture, values and spirituality and foster self-empowerment among Native youth.
Tom Hampson has been involved in business and cultural arts development for Northwest tribes for more than 20 years. He is a writer, poet, composer, and is the executive director of the Oregon Native American Business Network. Tom serves on the board of Crow’s Shadow Institute on the Umatilla Indian Reservation, and recently scripted 15 multi-media programs at the Tamastslikt Cultural Institute including the theater video documentary, We Are.
Arlie Neskahi is a native singer, poet, teacher, and flute player. In 1995, he was awarded a Grammy for his performance on Paul Winter’s, “Prayer For The Wild Things.” He toured extensively as a singer and dancer with the American Indian Dance Theatre Company and performed with A&M Records recording artists, Songcatchers, receiving the “Outstanding Musical Achievement” award from First Americans in the Arts.
Arlie has also traveled across the country several times with numerous drum groups, and his current group, White Eagle Singers, have won numerous singing championships. He was the musical director for the Oregon Trail Pageant, is the founder of Painted Sky, and the composer for “The Bridge of the Gods” produced by the Tears of Joy Theatre. Neskahi has performed and recorded with The Trail Band on their show, “Lewis and Clark”.
Greg Tamblyn recently directed and produced the successful I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change under his production company Pixie Dust Productions. Other Pixie Dust shows are: the award winning 2003 production of Peter Pan, and The Full Monty, which is scheduled to re-open in March of 2008. In 2007 Greg directed Ragtime at Lakewood Theatre where he also directed the award winning Man Of La Mancha. Recently Greg collaborated on Hedwig and the Angry Inch for Triangle Productions where he also directed The Rocky Horror Show. Greg was honored with a 2004 Drammy Award for directing the Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe, for the Oregon Children’s Theatre, which also won for best production.
Listed are only a few of the shows Greg has directed: At The Musical Theatre Company, Anything Goes, Funny Girl, (Drammy Award Winner), A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (Drammy Award Winner) and La Cage Aux Folles. Greg has directed for the Oregon Children’s Theatre at the Keller Auditorium for the past 18 years and most recently a musical version of Miss Nelson is Missing. At Portland Civic and SRO Productions, Greg is best known for his 6 years of directing Peter Pan, as well as You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown, West Side Story, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, and The Little Shop of Horrors. Greg is the Director of Theatre at Pamplin Entertainment writing and directing original musicals produced locally at the Twelve Oaks Theatre, and stages 10 Grands with pianist Michael Allen Harrison. Greg has staged events for the University of Oregon, Eugene Symphony, Our House of Portland, Portland Opera, and multiple non-profit fundraisers. For over 15 years Greg has worked on the Singing Christmas Tree as director and scriptwriter. Greg is most proud of his two beautiful daughters Ariel & Aurora.
Mel (Melanie) Kubik is a musician, multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter, producer, arranger, composer, musical theater director, and painter/collage artist. As well as appearing on many NW artists’ recordings, (including Quarterflash, Craig Carothers, Nicole Campbell, Donna Jose, Prowler, Loyd Ruby, Loud Sistah, Dub Squad, Gary Ogan, etc.), she has released 2 CDs of her own - Pigeon (Swallowhard Records, 1998) and Jungle Nights (with her band, The Shanghai Woolies, American Gavabun Records, 2003).
She has accompanied and composed for Mary Oslund’s dance company, and Oregon Ballet Theater, and was commissioned by Third Angle New Music Ensemble to co-compose “Kinji Suite” with native singer/composer Arlie Neskahi. She is also composing and performing with Painted Sky/Northstar Dance Company.
Mel has been a musical director for Northwest Children’s Theater. In 2002, she helped to create and arrange the music, with Marv Ross and Chenoa Egawa, an original play, Sacagawea, for Oregon Children’s Theater, and performed as musical director.
Since 2006, she’s been active with Playwrite, Inc. a non-profit creative organization dedicated to empowering marginalized youth with tools for creative self-expression.
Mel has been blessed to work with Marv and the rest of this amazing creative team on The Ghosts of Celilo throughout its 10 year development. She is musical director for the show, a co-composer, and arranger.