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Tacoma Teen’s Piano Compositions To Be Played In Starbucks Cafes Around The World

Ashley Gross
Marc Estabrook was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis as a baby. He started playing piano around age 10 and now practices during his twice-daily lung treatment.

Listen closely to the music playing next time you’re grabbing coffee at Starbucks. If it’s a relaxing piano piece, it might just be the work of Tacoma teenager Marc Estabrook.

Estabrook, 18, is a senior at Bellarmine Preparatory School. Until recently he was shy about letting people know that he has cystic fibrosis, a genetic disorder that causes mucus to build up in his lungs.

Every morning and evening, he puts on a blue inflatable vest called an airway clearance system. He turns it on, and it puffs up with air.

“It vibrates, so I can shake out all that mucus,” Estabrook said.

He also puts a device in his mouth to inhale antibiotics. Then somehow he musters up a complete calm and sits down to play piano while he’s breathing in the medicine and while his chest is being shaken.


Estabrook might have just continued playing his music at home if it hadn’t been for the local chapter of Make-A-Wish, a foundation that grants wishes for kids with life-threatening conditions.

Credit Robin Estabrook
Estabrook practices piano while he wears a special inflatable vest that's designed to shake the mucus out of his lungs.

“At first I wanted a car, but they said, `No,’ so I had to think of something bigger,” Estabrook said. “So I wanted to record my music and then share it with the world.”

And that what’s happened.

He made a CD, an executive from Starbucks who volunteers with Make-a-Wish heard it, and now, two of his compositions are being played in Starbucks stores in the U.S. and Canada — and soon, Europe, Latin America and Japan.

'It's Kind Of Given Him A Boost'

All of a sudden, Estabrook, who describes himself as a “pretty humble, shy guy,” is in the limelight.

But his mom, Robin Estabrook, says it’s been a wonderful experience.

“I’m really happy for him. I think it’s kind of given him a boost,” she said. “It’s just given him a good outlook, like there’s a future for him.”
Estabrook won’t make any money from the deal, but his music is for sale online, and he and his family hope people will donate to either the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation or the Alaska Washington chapter of Make-A-Wish

In July 2017, Ashley Gross became KNKX's youth and education reporter after years of covering the business and labor beat. She joined the station in May 2012 and previously worked five years at WBEZ in Chicago, where she reported on business and the economy. Her work telling the human side of the mortgage crisis garnered awards from the Illinois Associated Press and the Chicago Headline Club. She's also reported for the Alaska Public Radio Network in Anchorage and for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.