Think and Drink, Champagne and Chocolate, “Scheherazade,” and a fine Irish musician

On Wednesday, March 21, the Humanities Washington Board of Trustees brings its popular free statewide program, “Think and Drink” to Bellingham. Think and Drink” begins at 7 p.m. at Boundary Bay Brewery, 1107 Railroad Ave., for the first event in the three-part series: “The Long March – Measuring Black American Progress since 1968.” The evening will feature Clyde Ford, local author, teacher, and national public speaker; and Vernon Damani Johnson, Western Washington University professor and director of the Munro Institute for Civic Education. The evening will be moderated by Joy Wiggins, Western Washington University professor and director of Global Peaceful Paths.  www.humanities.org and click on events, or go to the Facebook event link.

Katrina Shawer talks about her recently published book, “Henry: A Polish Swimmer’s True Story of Friendship from Auschwitz to America” at 7 p.m. March 23, at Village Books, 1200 11th St.
Henry Zguda was Catholic and imprisoned as a political prisoner so his experience was different than other Jewish memoirs describe, Shaver says. He was arrested and imprisoned in Auschwitz and Buchenwald for three years for one reason only: he was Polish at a time Germany had sworn to destroy all of Poland, she says.
“This view of the Holocaust through Polish eyes is a perspective not commonly known or written about outside the Polish community, for multiple reasons. He also had a knack for meeting the right people at the right time, so in some ways was well-connected. I hadn’t realized that six million Poles lost their lives during World War II – three million Jewish and three million Christian.”
The  book contains more than 80 original documents and photos, most not printed elsewhere. There are Henry’s personal letters written on Auschwitz and Buchenwald stationery, transport lists, registration paperwork, Henry’s personal photos, and others from museums.

Pacific Arts Association hosts a benefit for the Drayton Harbor Music Festival, “Fine Music, Champagne, and Chocolate” from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday, March 24, at the Blaine Community/Senior Center, 763 G St. Performers include Joe and Mary Kay Robinson (Joe played principal oboe with the New York Philharmonic and Mary Kay played violin in the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra); vocalists Gary Giles and Wendy Donaghy; and pianist (and Ferndale mayor) Jon Mutchler. Tickets are $15 and are available at Blaine Building Center, the Senior Center, and will be available at the door. Proceeds will help provide camp for music students, July 8-14. Want more? Email festival.paa@gmail.com.

Music by Scheherazade and Shostakovich will grace the Mount Baker stage with Whatcom Symphony Orchestra at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 25, at Mount Baker Theatre, 104 N. Commercial St. The concert begins with Alexander Glazunov’s “Prelude and Fugue in D minor” featuring pianist Philip Fisher. Then the orchestra joins Fisher in Dmitri Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No. 2, a playful concerto written by the composer for his son, Maxim. As a youth, Fisher performed the concerto for Maxim himself, so he has a particular connection to this work. The concert closes with Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Scheherazade,”  a symphonic suite based on ‘One Thousand and One Nights,” also known as “The Arabian Nights.” Ryan Dudenbostel presents a free (and enlightening) pre-concert lecture at 2:15 p.m. Details and tickets at 360-734-6080, mountbakertheatre.com. See artistic director Yaniv Attar  talk about the concert at Whatcom Symphony Orchestra’s Facebook.  https://vimeo.com/259524239.  More about the concert at whatcomsymphony.com.

One of Bellingham’s most beloved Irish musicians, Peadar MacMahon, is moving “home” in July, and he’s hosting one of what may be several concerts before he departs.  “Irish Emigration Songs: A Community Celebration” is set for 7 p.m. Easter Sunday, April 1, at Boundary Brewery’s Mountain Room, 1103 Railroad Ave. It’s festival seating and doors open at 6 p.m. Performers joining Peadar include Richard and Helen Scholtz, Jan Peters, Janet Peterson, Laura Smith, Marie Eaton, David Donohue, Derek Duffy. Laurel Bliss, and Harper Stone. Peadar will share the stories behind the songs and will perform a selection of songs in Gaelic which will be included in a CD to be recorded later this summer. Peadar, a proud native of Limerick, emigrated to Bellingham in 1990 and it’s the third year that he has assembled a group of Bellingham’s finest singers and musicians to perform a public concert of Irish songs. Suggested donation is $10. The event will help to raise funds for Peadar and his friends to make some final studio recordings before he departs.

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