Christopher James BA ’80


Christopher Roberts BA ’80 reminisced: “As the Class of 1980 was processing our impending graduation and the scary next episode in our lives, Fir Acres Theatre was presenting the first production, post-U.S.-premiere of Sam Shepard’s play Curse of the Starving Class. James Ostelhoff was the theatre’s director/professor and John Maki BS ’80 was the play’s director. His soon-to-be-wife, Kathleen Minifie BA ’80, was costume director. Curse was about a poor California family in the midst of an emotional breakdown and featured a creepy interloper, Ellis, played by yours truly. Those moments, on and off stage, were pure joy for all of us and a perfect way to exit the stage of Lewis & Clark College. But this, of course, was just a sideshow to the main event, ironically best witnessed outside the theatre: Mount St. Helens exploding on our lives. Literally! Talk about a curtain call!”


Chris Roberts BA ’80 recalls one of his fondest L&C memories from spring 1978: “I was playing piano (poorly) in the jazz band ensemble, and my roommate suggested a small version of the group could get paying gigs. The LC Sextet was born—Dan Balmer BA ’80, Jason Heald BS ’80, Michael Brockman, Grant Herreid, Mark Goodenberger, and me. We started playing in various venues, both on and off campus. The money was good, and the camaraderie was wonderful. All of us have gone on to very different, but very successful, careers in music, helped along by innocent experiences like these.”


Christopher James BA ʼ80 is a composer, musician, and producer. In early 2020, Val Gardena, his current musical project, released its latest album, “Across the Divide.” James has released four albums with Val Gardena in the past five years.


Christopher James BA ’80 is a musician, composer, and producer. His third solo album, Grace from Persistence, was released in April 2019. Recorded over several months in Portland and New York City, it features more than 30 musicians. James’ music reflects a mix of genres, from jazz to classical to pop.