National Endowment for the Arts to honor Pauline Hillaire

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDSeptember 26, 2013 

I received a phone call from Liz Auclair, spokeswoman for the National Endowment for the Arts in Washington, D.C., letting me know that Lummi Nation member Pauline Hillaire will be honored during the NEA's National Heritage Fellowship concert on Friday, Sept. 27.

Hillaire is known as one of the most knowledgeable resources on Northwest Coast arts and culture. As an artist, teacher, native arts conservator, author and a storyteller, she has worked for decades to learn, preserve and share the heritage of Lummi Nation.

The NEA is recognizing her work with a National Heritage Fellowship Award, to be presented at the National Heritage Fellowships Concert on Friday. The concert will be live-streamed over the NEA's website at 5 p.m. West Coast time.

The concert will feature art forms as diverse as Irish fiddling, traditional gypsy music, and Native American storytelling, among others. Nick Spitzer, host of public radio's "American Routes," will emcee the evening of conversations, demonstrations and performances.

Hillaire is the daughter of carver Joseph Hillaire, who, in 1952, created the totem pole that (once restored, after years of neglect) now stands outside Whatcom County Courthouse.

The NEA award she is receiving is the Bess Lomax Hawes Award, which recognizes an individual who has made a significant contribution to the preservation and awareness of cultural heritage.

To learn more, and to watch the webcast, go to There will be an archive of the webcast available afterward, Auclair said.


Christina Goodwin, production assistant in Bellingham for the national organization Childcare Worldwide, based in Bellingham, called me about a benefit concert at 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, at Bellingham High School featuring Susie McEntire, Reba's sister. (When you see photos of them side-by-side, you can tell they're related!). Admission is $10 at the door.

The sisters are touring together, with Reba is performing in Abbotsford, B.C., on Oct. 10.

The Bellingham High School Showstoppers will open for Susie and accompanying her on a few numbers. The concert benefits Childcare Worldwide, to provide children in developing countries with food, shelter and education.


K.C. Sulkin is once again hosting a benefit concert for the new Sudden Valley Library on Saturday, Sept. 28, with jazz vocalist and pianist Laila Biali at the Sudden Valley Dance Barn.

K.C. just got word for the go-ahead on the third year of the series, and it's a whopper.

For the opener, on April 26, New York singer and pianist Champion Fulton will perform. Sulkin says she reminds him a bit of British Columbia's Diana Krall.

The next booking, says Sulkin, is a "real coup." It's drummer Dan Brubeck, son of Dave Brubeck (of "Take Five" fame), who will play songs written by his dad, with lyrics by his mom, Iola Brubeck. He'll play with his quartet on June 7.

The third concert in the series, on Sept. 27, 2014, features pianist Miles Black, who has composed two tributes to jazz greats Count Basie and Duke Ellington, which will be played by an octet featuring Western Washington University saxophone marvel Mike Allen.

Seattle's Josephine Howell will return to perform on Nov. 15, 2014, with her trio, along with tenor saxophonist Kareem Kandi, who has been playing around town lately, often at McKay's Taphouse and the Redlight. For details, call Sulkin, 360-671-1709.


Western Washington University's Viking Band and dance team was recently featured in Rolling Stone magazine's list of "10 Mind-Blowing College Marching Band Cover Songs."

The band joined such schools Jackson State, Southern University, University of Michigan, University of California at Berkeley and Michigan State in the list for its performance of a medley of tunes by French electronic-music duo Daft Punk, complete with glow sticks and Tron-esque costuming.

"It's great to be recognized with great bands like Michigan and the others in the story," Christopher Bianco, faculty advisor to the Viking Band and an associate professor of music at Western," said in a news release. "We have all kinds of innovation going on in our department, and this is just one example of that."

The Rolling Stone article can be found online using the keywords "Rolling Stone Marching Bands." The performance, filmed by Bellingham's Jonathan Gipaya, can be seen and heard on YouTube by searching "Daft Punk Tribute WWW."

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