Bellingham Community Chorus Welcomes a New Director, Youth Jazz Band Starts Rehearsals, and It’s Salsa Time!

You might have seen Antonio Diaz and Heather Haugland demonstrate their incredible salsa dancing this summer at Downtown Sounds, the Commercial Street Night Market, or the Village Green. What’s so cool about the married couple is they not only show their expertise, but they teach at every event. Even if you have two left feet, or two right feet, or have no experience in dancing whatsoever, they’ll show you how to rumba, cha cha, salsa, and more.
Heather gives some background on their classes: “Rumba Northwest was started in 2010 when we arrived in Bellingham from Juneau, Alaska. We had run a dance school there called Rumbalaska, and sought to build on our experience here in Bellingham. At the first class we offered, we had zero students! We’ve gone from those inauspicious beginnings to over 1,000 Facebook members and a wonderful community of Cuban dance enthusiasts. We hold weekly classes and host Salsa Nights at Cafe Rumba, 1140 N State St., twice per month. We often perform at festivals and community events.”
“We think people should dance for so many reasons! To feel the joy of moving to music, to learn the amazing variety of Latin music and rhythms, to exercise your body and mind, but most of all, to connect with other people. We are proud to have built an exceptionally friendly and welcoming community of dancers, and we’d love to have more join us!”Beginning Monday, Sept. 10, Rumba Northwest’s weekly Cuban salsa class will be at a new time, from 6:30 to 7:45 p.m., and a new place, Love To Move Studio Z, 2001 Iowa St. It’s $12 per class for adults, $70 for pre-purchase of seven classes; and $8 for students, $45 for pre-purchase of seven classes. For details, call 360-595-7369 or visit www.rumbanorthwest or on Facebook.

Mark Kelly founded and has directed the talented the Bellingham Youth Jazz Band for 23 years, and rehearsals for the new season start at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 19, at the Bellingham Senior Activities Center,  315 Halleck St. Interested middle and high school musicians on saxophone, trumpet, trombone, guitar, piano, bass (upright or electric) drum set, or vocals that are currently enrolled in their school’s music programs and/or taking weekly private lessons are eligible if they have one year minimum experience on their instrument. Weekly Wednesday rehearsals and 25 performances under the direction of Mark Kelly run through next spring. Call 360-676-5750 for pre-registration, or email:, For details on the band, go to

Rob Viens is the new artistic director of the Bellingham Community Chorus, which begins rehearsals for the fall season from 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 11, at St. James Presbyterian Church, 910 14th St. Viens has performed with the Bellingham Festival of Music and the Bellingham Chamber Chorale, and is the founding director for Vocal Pyro, a small repertory vocal ensemble. For nine years, Viens served as music director and stage director and conductor for Opera Popolare, a Bellingham-based opera company that presented classical and baroque operas from 2009 through 2016.
He’s been active with Bellingham Theatre Guild and with productions at Mount Baker Theatre and Western Washington University; and served Assumption Catholic Church as its music director for 11 years. He continues as a private voice instructor for all ages and styles, including language coaching in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Latin. For details on the choir, email  or go to Facebook.