Singer Robin Wallbridge busy with bandZandt and slew of other groups

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDMarch 20, 2014 

Robin Wallbridge

Robin Wallbridge has been singing with ensembles and trios in Whatcom County for decades.

JIM ABERNATHY — COURTESY TO THE BELLINGHAM HERALD

Robin Wallbridge has been singing with ensembles and trios in Whatcom County for decades. Born and bred in upstate New York, "where the wild things are," she says, she now lives in what she says is a "great community," Welcome, a Deming neighborhood "where there are even wilder things," she jokes, with her ever-present big smile.

She has several gigs in the next few months. Keep track of her via bandZandt's Facebook page.

Question: How long have you been enamored with music?

Answer: I was always interested in music, with two tone-deaf parents, who always played music on the hi-fi, danced, and encouraged my love of music. I used to crawl under my brother's bed with a handful of rubber bands and string them to the bed springs and sing along with my handmade bed-guitar.

When I was 4, my dad tossed me up on stage with Duke Ellington and I got to dance with the Duke! Judy Garland's "Over the Rainbow" was my first 45. (Still the best song ever written.)

My sister and I used to stick our heads down the laundry chute to listen to contraband music by the Rolling Stones that my mother prohibited but my brother would still play in the basement.

Q: Who do you perform with currently?

A; bandZandt, an east-Whatcom County rock-n-roll band (with Kent Rogers, Doug Sutton, Diane Leigh, Joe Hawley, Chuck Loos and Gregg McClaran, my husband); Mockingbird, an a cappella women's trio, (with Sherrie Lutsch and Ali Harris); One Lane Bridge, an offshoot of bandZandt and a mellower version of the big band, (but still just as fun! with Doug, Diane and Kent); and Meinhardt Merry (Kent and me).

Q: Where can people see you play in the next few weeks?

A: bandZandt's upcoming gigs are The Edison at 8:30 p.m. Saturday, March 22; look for us at the Elizabeth Park Summer Concert series.

One Lane Bridge is playing at 7 p.m. April 11 at the Fireside Martini Bar.

Q: Where have you played over the years?

A: I've played every venue from the Staten Island ferry with my husband Gregg, to coffeehouses in New York City, Mary Jane's Farm in Idaho with Mockingbird, to my daughter's senior prom with bandZandt, singing the national anthem at a Bellingham Bells baseball game, to Folk Life Festival in Seattle, grassroots Land Trust celebrations, to our beloved community Van Zandt Hall.

Q: Any fond memories?

A: One program that is especially dear to my heart is called "Her Voice," a live "musical book" that was created collaboratively with Mockingbird, poet Lois Holub, and storyteller Karen Edland.

"Her Voice" takes us into the lives of women on a personal, social, familial and spiritual level. We have presented it at least once a year, at venues including Fairhaven College, Whatcom Museum, the Roeder Home and local libraries.

Q: What's new with you?

A: I've expanded my musical skills to include remedial drumming and harmonica-izing.

Meinhardt Merry recently held a CD release party to welcome their first album, called "Life." We're hoping to put on a Roeder Home show in the spring.

I love being a songwriter. Some songs are wrenched out of my heart, some have to be crafted and recrafted until every word fits, and others burst forth under their own steam, like "No Coal Train." I am grateful to be a part of the No Coal train movement working alongside Dana Lyons. You can view our "No Coal Train" song on YouTube!

Q: What's your day job?

A: I get to work with unique kids at Kendall Elementary as a para-educator.

Q: What do you enjoy about being a musician?

A: The people we play for are the people that pour themselves right back into the music to make a big, beautiful, round circle. I adore my family and my friends, and our dog, Copper; music completely sweetens up my already great life.

Reach Margaret Bikman at 360-715-2273 or margaret.bikman@bellinghamherald.com.

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