It's all about the music this month in Whatcom County


It's all about the music this month in Whatcom County!

The Bellingham Festival of Music, now in its 20th season, was included in one of the nation's top summer music festivals in the New York Times this past May, and deservedly so. The festival begins Friday, July 5, and offers five orchestral concerts through July 21, with other special concerts at other locations in Bellingham.

Under the direction of Michael Palmer, the festival not only draws high-caliber instrumentalists and vocalists from some of the country's major orchestras, but audience members come from around the world to enjoy the performances.

As part of the festival, Western Washington University's college of fine and performing arts and the Bellingham Festival of Music host a Choral Arts Symposium July 13-21, in which participants join colleagues, conductors, students and observers in an intensive, nine-day study culminating in performances July 19 and 21. Details are at 360-650-3308 and

For a complete festival schedule, go to


The 12th Annual Blaine Jazz Camp and Festival runs Sunday, July 7, through July 13, presented by Pacific Arts Association and the city of Blaine, in cooperation with Blaine School District.

The camp and festival went through severe cuts this season with the closing of Semiahmoo Resort, but the volunteer association succeeded in continuing the much-acclaimed experience for young musicians age 12 to 19, who work with 18 world-class musicians in what is a great opportunity to learn from, and play with, huge talents from across the nation.

Key personnel this year include Ted DeCorso, director of the Suncoast Symphony Orchestra in Clearwater, Florida, and artistic director of the Blaine Jazz Festival; Greg Hopkins of the Berklee School of Music in Boston, directing Jazz Band 1; Greta Matassa, heading up the vocal music program; and the director of the fusion program, international bassoon soloist Martin Kuuskmann.

Kristi Galbraith, executive director of Pacific Arts Association, told me that new to the faculty this year is trumpeter Charlie Porter, who recently moved from New York City to Portland, Ore., and was a student of Wynton Marsalis.

The Blaine festival presents free noon concerts all week at the bayside G Street Plaza in downtown Blaine, and by-donation evening concerts at the Performing Arts Center in Blaine.

This year's opening concert on Sunday is the Blaine Jazz Faculty meets Pearl Django. The Blaine Jazz Faculty present "Jazz: A Few of My Favorite Things" on Tuesday, July 9. Martin Kuuskmann and the Fusion Faculty combine musical styles Wednesday, July 10. The concerts are all at the Blaine PAC.

The Blaine Jazz Faculty turns on the fully orchestrated sounds of a big band at the Big Band Benefit at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 11, at Semiahmoo Golf Club Pavilion. Tickets are $40, available online and at 360-820-8312.

The finale of the week is the Friday night Student Showcase at 7 p.m. July 12. The Art to Jazz Street Fair is 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 13, with student performances on both G and H Street plazas in Blaine, providing a festive finish.

Details: 360-820-8312 or


Coming up later in July: The Marrowstone Summer Music Festival presented by Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestras, July 25-Aug. 4, with concerts at Western Washington University, including a world-premiere chamber opera in partnership with Seattle Opera on Aug. 1. Details are at 206-362-2300 and

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