Lifelong musician Clea Taylor ready for Solstice Dance Concert Dec. 20

Cellist Clea Taylor, 29 (and feeling fine, she says), has lived in Bellingham since she was 2 years old and attended Lowell Elementary, Fairhaven Middle and Sehome High schools; as well as Western Washington University, Bellingham Technical College and Whatcom Community College.

"I guess I refuse to leave," she jokes.

She's playing in one of the bands she's in, Giants' Causeway, in a Solstice Dance Concert on Friday, Dec. 20, at The Majestic (Underground), 1027 N. Forest St., There are two performances, both all-ages, at 7 and 9 p.m.

For more on her bands, go to bellinghamceiliclub.com, and rattletrapruckus.com. Giants' Causeway and Rattletrap Ruckus also have Facebook pages.

Question: What's your musical journey?

Answer: I've always loved playing music, and when I was younger I liked getting my hands on any instruments I could. When I was 9 I started studying cello with my uncle, Matt Rehfeldt, and later took lessons for several years from Barton Frank. I played in school orchestras and the Mt. Baker Youth Symphony.

When I was in college I met an amazing couple from Cuba and Croatia and had the chance to play in a classical trio featuring a mix of Cuban ballads and opera. I absolutely loved our chances to get together and discovered what a deep connection between people that music could create.

Around the same time I was also in my first rock band, Poppycock, in which we only wrote songs about the movie "Point Break." So there was some variety there.

I started playing Irish music on cello about six years ago when I had the chance to study with Anna Schaad. She introduced me to the music of Natalie Haas and Alasdair Fraser and that pretty much sealed the deal. Through her I met Cayley Schmid (the fiddler in Polecat) and we've been playing tunes ever since in our group, Giants' Causeway.

I also play in a group called Rattletrap Ruckus. We play tunes from all over the world with the combo of accordion, washtub base, banjo and cello. We had the amazing experience of touring Southern Alaska this summer.

We played a not-so-silent film in a small but lovely theater in Juneau and had the chance to repeat it here at the Pickford Film Center a few weeks ago. We're hoping to do it again soon because it was so much fun!

Q: What have been some of your most memorable musical experiences?

A: There are a lot that come to mind, because they are precious to me. I loved being part of the group the Wayfaring Strangers.

I love playing pretty music all night at the Subdued Stringband Jamboree (in August at the Deming Logging Showgrounds).

This summer I got to join massive late-night Irish fiddle sessions at the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes in Port Townsend. I fell asleep with tunes racing through my head and sore fingers, but oh so happy.

Q: What genres of music are you drawn to?

I absolutely love music with a fiddle in it, but I like all kinds of music. I love sweet ballads or rowdy dance songs. I am always looking for new music because I tend to obsess over one song until it's officially ruined.

Q: What's your day job?

A: I am a phlebotomist at PeaceHealth labs part-time, and a full-time nursing student at Whatcom Community College. I'll be done in June. So exciting! I've been a wee busy over the last year or so.

Q: What's in your future?

A: I would love to be able to stay in Bellingham because I just love the community here and couldn't bear to say goodbye. I am already excited about Fiddle Tunes in Port Townsend and the Jamboree this summer; that's how fun they are!

Coming up I will be teaching Irish cello workshops at camps put on by the Bellingham Ceili Club (founded by Cayley, bellinghamceiliclub.com), so if anyone is interested in Irish anything, we probably have it covered.

At the Celtic Solstice show on Friday (with Lindsay Street), there will be dancing, music and mead, so it should be the perfect cozy evening!