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Bellingham musician Peader MacMahon to play in Ireland

Ireland-born Peadar MacMahon performs with musical friends March 26 at Boundary Bay Brewery.
Ireland-born Peadar MacMahon performs with musical friends March 26 at Boundary Bay Brewery. Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

Bellingham musician Peader MacMahon, a native of Ireland, has been invited to play at the Percy French Festival in July in County Roscommon, Ireland. There isn’t much financial reward playing in remote villages, so MacMahon needs help from the community raising money to travel there. A benefit concert, “A Centennial Celebration in Song of the Irish Revolution Easter 1916,” takes place at 6 p.m. Saturday, March 26, at Boundary Bay Brewery & Bistro, 1107 Railroad Ave. Suggested donation is $10.

In addition to being a musician, French, who lived from 1854 to 1920, was a prolific painter, an engineer, a satirist, a composer of operas, and a world traveler.

Easter Sunday marks the centennial of what is called Ireland’s Easter Rising in 1916. To mark the occasion, MacMahon put together a collection of songs that inspired the revolutionary movement from the 1780s to the 1920s, with a narrative that explains the significance of the songs and Ireland’s place in world history.

Performers Saturday, in addition to MacMahon, are Janet Peterson, Richard Scholtz, Mike and Nakos Marker, Jan Peters, Robert Sarazin Blake, Evan Ingalls, Derek Duffy, David Donohue, and Aaron Harmonson. Joining MacMahon in Ireland are Scholtz, Peters, and Harmonson.

MacMahon is the third generation of his family to sing the songs.

“My mother loved to sing,” he says. “We sang Percy French songs on family trips to County Clare, where some of his most memorable songs were set and performed.”

MacMahon has songs available for free at, and he encourages folks to learn more about Percy French at

Last dance for Dance Gallery

Dance Gallery, Bellingham community dance collective, celebrates 25 years of inspiring and entertaining contemporary dance with performances at 7:30 p.m. April 1 and 2, and 5 p.m. April 3, at Firehouse Performing Arts Center, 1314 Harris Ave.

Tickets are $12 general and $20 superstar at the downtown Community Co-op, Village Books, and Brown Paper Tickets. Ticket sales online close six hours before each show. There’s a special student and family preview, open to the public, at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 30; tickets for that show are $5.

The collective is calling it their final performance, as the number of dancers is dwindling and the dancers are aging.

Anika Klix, whose mother, Tina Klix, was the brainchild of the collective in 1991, says her mom’s dream was “to dance and to inspire everyone, young and old, no matter how much training they had, or none at all, to dance with wild abandon.”

Mandy Pidgeon, who has worked with Dance Gallery for five years as a dancer, teacher, and choreographer, agrees, and says the community of dancers created a space for movers of all backgrounds, ages, and levels of training.

Dancer Mary Gray says that because of Klix’s patient coaching, she “learned to unbend a rigid body and to move with fluidity, to trust damaged knees and spine, synchronize with an ensemble, remember long minutes of choreography, ‘feel’ an audience, and how to hear time and rhythm.” She later became involved in the collective’s technical support and stage management.

This weekend’s performance includes choreography by Nancy Cranbourne, Wade Madsen, Maureen Llewlllyn-Jones, Mandy Pidgeon, Dan Dalley (one of the co-founders with Colleen Curtis and Klix); and Mary Jean Van Almen. Guest performers include Sarah Schermer, Kristin Torok, Wade Madsen, and Nancy Cranbourne.

There’s a silent auction under the stairs every night to support community dance in Bellingham. A reception follows the Sunday show. To donate an auction item, email

“This 25th anniversary show may be the last scheduled annual production,” Pidgeon says, “but do not think that we are going away. Keep your eyes out for Dance Gallery workshops, classes, art walk performances and other projects.” Details:


Want some input on what summer movies you can see at the Fairhaven Village Green and Commercial Street Parking Garage, also known as the Parkade? Pickford Film Center is again hosting its family-friendly series July 22, Aug. 5 and Aug. 19, with one of the best views available downtown. You can add your choices on Facebook.

Fairhaven Outdoor Cinemawill show evening movies on the Fairhaven Village Green June 25-Aug. 27; and you can vote for your picks on Facebook or subscribe via the website. Details: 360-733-2682.

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