I attended the annual meeting of the Bellingham Festival of Music a few weeks ago, eager to hear what's coming up in the summer of 2014.
After an introduction by Bob Lynch, chair of the board, with some well-deserved accolades for the dedicated board members, Michael Palmer, artistic director of the festival, presented a program about some of the highlights of the 2014 season.
The festival takes place July 5-14 at Western Washington University (with one recital at Bellingham Cruise Terminal and one at Whatcom Museum), with the theme "Mentors and Protégés."
Palmer said that each of last year's 20th season concerts nearly sold out, and that "going forward" the festival hopes to develop the careers of young artists.
He says that for great performers, "music isn't something that just happens to you; it's creating what you do," and it's hard work.
Festival organizers are working closely with WWU and Whatcom Symphony Orchestra, as well as with the Bellingham Music Club, which sponsors several scholarships to young musicians and frequently features high school and college students at its monthly concerts. In fact, award-winning high schoolers Eleanor Kahn, soprano; and Ian Aegerter, violin, performed at the meeting that evening. Both have performed at the Music Club meetings.
To begin the new year, the festival hosts a "Welcome Home" concert on Jan. 4, featuring violinist Roman Yearian, a former Bellingham High School Student.
The Calidore String Quartet, which includes 2004 Sehome High School graduate, violist Jeremy Berry, is among the young guest artists returning next summer.
Last year, the quartet collaborated with the WSO musicians in performances at Whatcom County middle and high schools.
Violinist Hilary Hahn is scheduled to perform on April 28.
Among the highlights of next summer:
Stefan Jackiw, performing Prokofiev's Violin Concerto No. 2 with the Festival Orchestra on July 5; and Spanish guitarist Pablo Sáinz Villegas, performing July 18 and 20.
For a complete schedule, go to bellinghamfestival.org.
ARTISAN CHOCOLATE DOCUMENTARY
Bellingham filmmaker and creative artist "Binary" Bob Ridgley, (owner of Binary Studios, which produces all sorts of video and audio projects), let me know about his new documentary, "Bean to Bar," a film about artisan chocolate and the dedicated people who make it, which will screen Saturday, Oct. 19, at the Pickford Film Center. Be there at 5:30 p.m. to sample chocolates from local chocolate-makers Forte Chocolates of Mount Vernon and Fresco Chocolates of Lynden.
MOUNT BAKER THEATRE NEWS
News flash(s) from Mount Baker Theatre:
The theater is now offering free use of the Encore Room to nonprofit performing arts organizations, based on availability. The space, located just inside the theater, seats up to 120 for a lecture-style setup or 60 to 80 for seated dinners. It offers a mounted screen and projector, attached prep kitchen and various staging, dance floor and sound systems.
Maia Newell-Large, house manager at the theater, told me that after the venture of the Commercial Street Theater Project didn't fly, it became apparent to the board that a mid-size space is needed in Bellingham for performing artists.
"It can be difficult to find that space," she said, "and we hope to fill that void to encourage more performances at the theater and to grow our audience members."
Details: 360-733-5793, ext. 344, email@example.com.
Brad Burdick, executive director of the theater, sent out an invitation to prospective arts groups and other organizations about the theater's development of new facilities, as part of the strategic capital development plan. Interested community members can join MBT staff at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 23, at the theater.
The staff seeks input on mid-size theater space for performances, rehearsals, and public gatherings; banquet facilities, kitchen and catering capabilities and cooperative administrative space for multiple performing arts organizations.
Here's a quick survey for interested groups to complete before the meeting:
Details: firstname.lastname@example.org, 360-733-5793.
Behind the Scenes focuses on the people who make the arts and entertainment world of Whatcom County happen. It appears in Take Five, The Bellingham Herald's entertainment section, each Thursday. Margaret Bikman is the Entertainment News Coordinator at The Bellingham Herald.