Columns & Blogs

Futuristic musical debuts March 10 at BAAY

Anya Seegers, Melissa Burke-Manwaring, and Elsie Dank perform in “The Skylark” March 10-20 at Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth’s Theatre.
Anya Seegers, Melissa Burke-Manwaring, and Elsie Dank perform in “The Skylark” March 10-20 at Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth’s Theatre. Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

Steve Barnes, a 2000 graduate of Sehome High School, has been described as “just a kid on the inside.” In 2013, he devised a musical, “RPG,” sparked by the idea that video games were seen by young people as vehicles for storytelling, thought, and imagination. The show mixed onstage action with digital music and visual effects.

Now he’s come up with another show, “The Skylark.” He wrote what was essentially the original draft in 2010 for what he calls a “lovely group” of middle-school students in Bellingham. They’re now adults, he says, but they told him they enjoyed the material.

The play runs at 7 p.m. March 10-12 and 17-19, and at 2 p.m. March 13 and 20 at BAAY Theatre, 1059 N. State St. Details are at and 360-306-8531.

Although it’s a musical, Barnes says that spiritually it’s closer to a “Star Trek” episode. Likewise, even though “Star Trek” is foremost an episodic show, he considers the episodes inherently plays.

The cast of 21, who are in grades 7 through 9, with a few exceptions, is as much a vocal group as an acting troupe, says Barnes, and, as with “RPG,” their performance fuses with lights, digital music, and some imagery that bridge the scenes.

Barnes says he proposed the show for BAAY in the hope of encouraging students to create their own productions. He hopes that his high school, college, and director colleagues will come and scout for talent, especially if they’re likely to work with the people in coming years.

Jazz time at Whatcom Museum

Bob Storms presents his eighth annual Jazz Celebration concert at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, March 12, at Whatcom Museum’s Old City Hall’s Rotunda Room, featuring about 22 of his songs from his 10-book series of songs he calls “Tunes From Toneville.”

Storms, who is 77, says what he does in retirement seems like a lot, but it’s spread out, so it doesn’t cause him a lot of stress. Most gigs are stress-releasers for him, he says.

“I seem to vacillate between playing high-stress gigs — symphony-type, either conducting or playing — to retirement gigs and Dixieland music —low-stress —where the folks just love to have some entertainment any time they can get it,” he says.


Irish fun in Whatcom County

Like Halloween in Bellingham, if a holiday falls in the middle of the week, it’s often an excuse to celebrate from one weekend to the next. Since St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Thursday this year, here are some events you’ll want to post on your calendar.

▪ Boundary Bay Brewery & Bistro, 1107 Railroad Ave., invites post-St. Patrick’s Day Parade participants to the beer garden from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 12, for entertainment by Maggie’s Fury, The Devilly Brothers, the Bellingham Firefighters Pipes & Drums, the U.S. Navy Band Northwest, and the Penk O’Donnell and Norah McLaughlin dancers.

On March 17, live music runs from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., with music by Peadar MacMahon, Robert Sarazin Blake and the Paddywackers, Margaret Inez Driscoll, the Bellingham Firefighters Pipes & Drums, and the Penk O’Donnell dancers.

▪ The Norah McLaughlin dancers perform at 4 p.m. Saturday, March 12, at Kulshan Brewing Co., 2238 James St.

▪ Peadar MacMahon plays after the parade on March 12 at Uisce Irish Pub, 1319 Commercial St., and The Penny Stinkers play that evening at 8 p.m.

▪ Whatcom County Council on Aging’s Meals on Wheels hosts three Irish dinners at Whatcom County senior centers: 6-8 p.m. March 12 in Bellingham featuring Maggie’s Fury; 5-7 p.m. March 16 in Blaine with music by Up in the Air; and 6-8 p.m. March 17 in Ferndale with music by Travelin’ Light.

▪ Irish & Folk Mondays features Gallowglass and Harper Stone at 6 p.m. Monday, March 14, at Honey Moon Mead & Cider, 1053 N. State St.

▪ Peadar MacMahon, the Bellingham Firefighters Pipes & Drums, Gallowglass and The Devilly Brothers are at Uisce Irish Pub from about 2 p.m. to closing March 17. Commercial Street will be closed off at 5 p.m., and there will be food vendors and a Guinness tent.

▪ Irish-American band Solas plays at 7 p.m. March 17 at Mount Baker Theatre, 104 N. Commercial St. Tickets: $20 to $39 at 360-734-6080,


Artists are invited to exhibit and sell their fine art at the International Arts and Music Festival, June 24-26, in Peace Arch State Park in Blaine. Applications are at Deadline is March 15. Details:, 360-332-9862.

Margaret Bikman: 360-715-2273,, @bhamentertainme