Bellingham Music Club making changes now; planning centennial events in two years


Isabelle Cormier, the president of Bellingham Music Club, now in its 98th year, wants to share exciting news about major changes and plans that reflect the club's growth and development.

Activity includes a new evening series, renaming and expanding the club's awards, and getting ready for the club's centennial.

Award-winning pianist Cole Anderson returns to Bellingham and opens the season with two recitals - 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 4, and 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 5 - as part of the new "Night Beat" series at Firehouse Performing Arts Center, in Fairhaven. Cole will play a challenging program featuring works by Chopin, Schubert and Gounod-Liszt. Suggested donation is $10.

The next Night Beat will be 7:30 p.m. Oct. 3 at the Firehouse and will feature Western Washington University award-winners Matt Birmingham on saxophone and Madeline Slettedahl on piano.

Another Night Beat is planned for Nov. 14.

Isabelle says she's thrilled to feature a winner of the club's student awards as a regular performer; Cole won first place for the Enid Carrick High School awards in 2005 and 2006.

The club is renaming its voice competition the Jack and Ginny Frymire High School Vocal Award, in appreciation for all that the couple has brought to Whatcom County since they made it their home 25 years ago.

And the club is creating the Ethel Crook String Award, allowing more woodwinds, brass and percussion players to enter the Nicolas Bussard Instrumental Award competition.

In all, there will be four high school competitions, plus one at the university level, with at least $4,700 in prizes.

Finally, the club is starting the countdown to its centennial season, which be launched in June 2015 with a grand concert featuring club alumni - award winners and accomplished musicians who haven't been heard for a while in Bellingham - as part of the special season that will run to June 2016. Among the many planned events, there will be "decade dramas," a series of 10 short vignettes that will parallel the club history with current events of each decade, complete with slide show, costumes and live music.

A centennial fund is set up with the goal of raising $10,000 to help bring in performers who no longer live in the Northwest. Donors will autograph a giant 100-year calendar that to be unveiled this fall.

Here is the club's 2013-2014 season:

• First Wednesday Morning concerts, 10:30 a.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church, 119 Texas St. Free admission.

• Sept. 4: Pianist Cole Anderson

• Oct. 2: Soprano Amber Sudduth Bone with pianist Jay Rozendaal

• Nov. 6: Cellist Nick Strobel

• Dec. 4: Bellingham High School Showstoppers

• Feb. 5: High school award winners in piano and voice

• March 5: High school award winners in strings and other instruments

• April 2: Western Washington University student award winners

• May 7: Marrowstone showcase

• June 4: Millie and the Mentshn

Donations at the monthly meetings help fund the student awards. Details: 360-733-4676 or 671-0252, or


The Temple Bar Residency Series is an ongoing art, craft, music, food and culture compendium. One day a week for a month (four sessions), a selected community member will offer a two-hour display of their talents for an intimate audience at the bar, 306 W. Champion St.

A local favorite for the past 18 years, Spencer Willows will bring his own brand of conceptual and literal performance art to the Temple for the month of September. Unique performances every Tuesday from 5 to 7 p.m. will include live and recorded music, surrealistic experiences, community guest appearances, and general stimulation in an intimate setting. Small bits of his brain will be scattered throughout the space in the form of playlists, pictures and hidden installations.

The Residency Series is a call to artists to break out of their comfort zone, and is open to musicians, chefs, filmmakers, writers and performers. An artist statement and a short application outlining the sessions are required.

The Temple offers a stipend, tips, and food and drink as compensation. If you are interested, contact Marisa Papetti at

Here's what Spencer will be performing in September:

• Sept. 3: Get to know Spencer, with local deejay PhDJ. A mix of recorded music and live performances culled from the music Spencer loves.

• Sept 10: "Cold Read" project, with PhDJ. Participants read cue cards, the contents of which they have never seen before. Upbeat music punctuates the performances.

• Sept. 17: "Anthology" project, with PhDJ. Participants are recorded reciting great works of poetry, with the poems being played back in a live setting. Strange, beautiful music accompanies the performances.

• Sept. 25: 15 Years of country undercover, with performances by Cherry Blossom Family Delivery and the Quaalude County Country Band. A retrospective of show posters will also be on display.


Bellingham's Ann MacDonald founded Bellingham Sings in 2006 with the goal of educating as many singers as she can in vocal technique and musical artistry via solo and choral work in a safe and supportive environment.

Beginning with 10 singers, in the past seven years Bellingham Sings has performed more than 50 concerts for several thousand audience members, and has served hundreds of singers in the community through its workshops, choirs and classes.

This season, Allegra Women's Choir and Whatcom Sound Jazz Singers will tour Whatcom and Skagit counties, presenting concerts to audiences in Blaine, Anacortes, La Conner and on Lummi Island.

Bellingham Sings will host a community voice workshop and choral reading session for women on Saturday, Aug. 31, at Our Saviour's Lutheran Church. Auditions for both women's choirs will be held the first Tuesday and Wednesday in September.

Ann is looking for dedicated soprano and alto choral singers who are eager to learn, passionate about music, and who value teamwork. Singers should have choral experience and some sight-reading skills, or the ability to pick up parts quickly. Details:

Reach Margaret Bikman at 360-715-2273 or Read her Entertainment Blog at or follow her on Bellingham Entertainment on Facebook or @bhamentertainme on Twitter.

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