The Polkatones Band will perform from 7 p.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday, Oct. 12-13, at the 30th Deming Logging Show Oktoberfest, a great fundraiser for the Deming Logging Show for busted-up loggers. The Oktoberfest will be held at the Logging Show grounds near Nugents Corner.
Festivalgoers might recognize five members of the band from Bellingham, as three of them went to Sehome High School and Bellingham High and then attended Western Washington University.
The group got its start in 1975 after a long dream that Al Schwend always had - starting a band like his father's band in Switzerland. Schwend immigrated to Tillamook, Ore., from Switzerland at the age of 2.
The group started with three members - Al Schwend, his daughter Linda (Schwend) White, and Joan Blazer, a daughter of a next-door dairy farmer who emigrated from Switzerland as well. While at college, Linda met her husband, Byron White, also from Tillamook, and he later joined the band. As the years went by more members were added to the band; piano player JoDee Larson and drummer Virgil Robitsch, also from Tillamook.
In 1977, Linda and Byron moved to Bellingham and started a family. In 1986, their daughter Kristy was born, followed by her sister Stacy in 1988. The girls spent many hours sleeping in the accordion case on the back of stage while the band performed.
As the girls grew older they started performing on stage, singing a few simple songs. While attending middle school, Kristy started playing the saxophone and Stacy played the trumpet, but before playing their instruments in the band Linda's dad, Al Schwend, died in 1997.
Years later, tuba player Everett Barr, a graduate of Bellingham High and of WWU, was added to the band, as well as Paul Johnson, a drummer from Bow Hill, after Virgil Robitsch retired from the band.
The band is celebrating more than 40 years playing at various Northwest festivals, including Leavenworth's Oktoberfest and the Oktoberfest in Mount Angel, Ore.
JOHNNY BARNES JOINS SWING CONNECTION AT FESTIVAL GIG
Swing Connection, a 19-piece big band/swing orchestra that plays during the Lynden Music Festival at 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13, at the festival tent at Fourth and Front streets, features a special guest who appears occasionally at such Whatcom County venues as Bobby Lee's in Everson. It's Johnny Barnes, who sang with the '50s bands The Platters and The Ink Spots. (Barnes also will perform at 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 14, at Guido's Italian Cuisine, 5611 Third Ave., in Ferndale.)
Don Phillips, the band's publicist, says the festival program follows the format that Glenn Miller used for his radio show and is based on the old wedding-gift theme, "Something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue."
Under the heading of "something old," the band will play material made famous by bands of the swing era, such as Les Brown, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Woody Herman, Tommy Dorsey and Glenn Miller.
The "something new" category will include new compositions and arrangements by Bob Storms, the band's lead alto sax player.
"Something borrowed" focuses on swing arrangements of tunes not usually associated with swing. They've borrowed folk, rock, country western and gospel tunes, making the point that there is no tune that can't be swung.
For the last category, they've redefined "something blue" as "the blues," with a variety of blues styles, pointing out America's popular and jazz idioms - ragtime, Dixieland, swing, bop and cool - are based on the blues.
The Swing Connection is a mix of professional and non-professional musicians who span a wide range of ages and careers. Details: swingconnection.org.
PUBLIC CAN WATCH REHEARSAL OF BELLINGHAM REPERTORY DANCE
The public is invited to attend Bellingham Repertory Dance's open rehearsal from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 14, at Firehouse Performing Arts Center, 1314 Harris Ave. The free event provides a chance to catch a sneak peak of Bellingham Repertory's seventh season as the dancers rehearse a piece choreographed by founding member Diane Williams, to be performed this fall.
Williams is one of a handful of dance creators from the Northwest, New York City, San Francisco and Vancouver, B.C., whose work will be on display at Bellingham Repertory's annual fall performance Nov. 2-3 and 9-11 at Firehouse.
Choreographers in addition to Williams include Joshua Beamish, artistic director of MOVE: the company; Lindsey Drury of Dreary Somebody; Kate Digby and Holly Jaycox of Digby Dance; independent dance artist Giavanna Enriquez; and Catherine Cabeen, artistic director of Catherine Cabeen and Company.
For details about the open rehearsal or fall performance, see bhamrep.org or call 360-734-2776.
SEATTLE OPERA BUSY IN SEATTLE, BELLINGHAM
Seattle Opera opens its 2012-2013 season with Beethoven's only opera, "Fidelio," on Saturday, Oct. 13, at McCaw Hall in Seattle Center. It runs through Oct. 27.
Closer to home, Seattle Opera's Young Artists Program returns to Bellingham for the second time on Nov. 1 at WWU's Performing Arts Center Concert Hall, in a presentation called "King for a Day ('Un giorno di regno')." The performance will be performed in French with English captions.
Pianist Jay Rozendaal, an affiliate professor of music at WWU, is on the music staff at Seattle Opera, where he's working on "Fidelio" and is helping to promote the production, which is sponsored by the WWU Department of Music and the WWU Opera Studio.
Tickets are $16 general, $13 seniors, and $10 students, available at Western's box office, 360-650-6146, and at tickets.wwu.edu. For more on the production, call 360- 650-3130 or email Jay.Rozendaal@wwu.edu.
Reach MARGARET BIKMAN at firstname.lastname@example.org or 715-2273.