Finlandia! An Important Theater Project! Valentine’s Day! History!

‍Bellingham Symphony Orchestra, directed by Yaniv Attar, welcomes violinist Giora Schmidt at 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 9, at Mount Baker Theatre, 104 N. Commercial St., who will join the orchestra to present Norwegian composer Johan Svendsen’s “Romance for Violin and Orchestra.” Schmidt is a renowned soloist who has appeared with symphony orchestras around the globe including Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Toronto, Vancouver, and the Israel Philharmonic. He began playing the violin at age 4. He studied at the Manhattan School of Music and, later, the Julliard School as a student of Itzhak Perlman. One of the most popular works in the romantic repertoire, Svendsen’s “Romance for Violin and Orchestra” premiered in 1881. Schmidt returns to the stage for Kabalevsky’s Violin Concerto. Born in 1904, Kabalevsky taught composition at the Moscow Conservatory and served as a major figure in Soviet musical policy. Between 1948 and 1951, Kabalevsky wrote three concertos, including this charming and humorous Violin Concerto.
In the second half of the concert, the BSO presents Sibelius’ Symphony No. 7. Written in a single 22-minute-long movement, Sibelius’ Seventh Symphony has been called one of the most ambitious symphonies in the repertoire.
The symphony concludes with Sibelius’ “Finlandia,” featuring Western Washington University’s Advanced and University Treble Choirs under the direction of Angela Broeker. Sibelius composed this famous tone poem at the turn of the 20th century to depict the struggles of the Finnish people, particularly in the face of oppression from the Russian Empire. Sibelius used his art to add to the protests at the time, celebrating Finland’s fighting spirit. The work has gained popularity around the world and been arranged many times. Some have even written lyrics to accompany the piece much to Sibelius’ dismay. Sibelius is often quoted as having proclaimed “it is not intended to be sung. It is written for an orchestra. But if the world wants to sing it, it can’t be helped.”
A pre-concert lecture about the program will take place at 2:15 p.m. in the Walton Theatre with Western Washington University’s Ryan Dudenbostel. Doors open at 2 p.m. and seating is limited, so please plan accordingly. Tickets range from $15 to $49, available by calling 360-734-6080 and online.

Western Washington University theater professor Rich Brown let me know about his national theater project piece called “HereToo,” developed this summer in collaboration with founding members of Tectonic Theatre Project, including New York City theater artist Barbara Pitts McAdams. (McAdams is a long-time member of Tectonic Theatre Project, creators of “The Laramie Project”; they’ve received the Medallion of Arts from President Obama; they’re a pretty big deal, he says).
“HereToo-WWU” is a company-created play drawn largely from interviews with young activists confronting the gun violence epidemic in America. Western’s production of “HereToo” is the West Coast premiere. The play will continue to evolve in schools around the country, highlighting the activism and gun violence survivor stories of each community. The “HereToo” Project will culminate in a final version produced in New York City.
Brown is
going to NYC on March 16 for the staged reading premiere in New York. The goal is to have a script to go national next fall, he says. 
The production included interview text from a survivor (and local activist) from the Burlington Mall shooting, as well as two students from the Pilchuck High School shooting in Marysville.
The production at Western was also selected from a pool of 31 to be showcased at the Region 7 Kennedy Center’s American College Theatre Festival. It will be performed twice in Fort Collins, Colorado at Colorado State University on Tuesday, Feb. 18.
In order to prepare for that event, Brown is remounting the show here in Bellingham at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 9, at Bellingham High School. It’s free for high school students, $5 for college students, $10 adults; Cash or card at the door.  All proceeds go toward touring the show to the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival! More info here.

Jackie Caplan-Auerbach, professor in the department of geology and the associate dean of the college of science and engineering at Western Washington University, will give a free talk entitled “Sounds of an Era’s End: The 2018 Eruption of Kilauea Volcano, Hawai`i, from Ocean Bottom Seismometers,” at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 12, in the Map Collection at Westen Libraries. 
Caplan-Auerbach will talk about her work as a lead investigator during the 2018 eruption of Kilauea volcano, Hawai’i. That eruption had the highest flux of lava ever recorded at Kilauea; it resulted in the destruction of over 700 structures and the displacement of thousands of Hawai`i residents; and it created unprecedented deformation at the volcano’s summit. 
Caplan-Auerbach worked to deploy a network of ocean-bottom seismometers near the Big Island to record seismic activity and sounds associated with lava-water interactions at Kilauea’s coast, providing a window into explosive processes and lava flux. Data from the seismic and acoustic networks provide insight into the evolution and stability of how volcanoes grow and evolve.
Caplan-Auerbach has been at Western since 2006, teaching about topics ranging from introductory geology to earthquake seismology to mantle convection.  Her research focuses on the seismic and acoustic signals generated by volcanoes and landslides. This special talk is offered as part of the Western Libraries Reading Series, which is dedicated to showcasing the scholarly and creative work of faculty and staff who are engaged in research, writing, and teaching at Western. For more information, contact abby koehler,, 360-650-3342.

Come play dress-up in a mansion, speakeasy style!
One hundred years ago, America made drinking alcohol illegal.
Lairmont Manor, the mansion that was built in 1914, is the perfect place to have a speakeasy.
Bellingham Handmade Collective celebrates Valentine’s Day at the Lairmont Manor, 405 Fieldston Road,and will dance the night away starting at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 12.
Tickets are $18 each: All proceeds go to further the development of helping artisans make money and afford to live right here!
Pearls, smokey eyes, sparkles, and dapper fellows are encouraged!
The event features:
Vinyl record DJ Tricky Timbers
Art Market provided by Bellingham Handmade Collective and community members
Local beer and wine
A food truck
Tickets available at

Whether you’re a fan of Spanish music, a jazz aficionado, or both, here’s an event not to be missed!
Enjoy the Western Washington Symphony Orchestra and faculty soloists David Feingold, Melissa Plagemann, and Kevin Woods for a performance of the cornerstone Miles Davis/Gil Evans album “Sketches of Spain,” alongside the original masterworks by Rodrigo and Falla on which it is based at 8 p.m. Wednesday,  Feb. 12, at WWU’s Performing Arts Center Concert Hall.
The scores to Evans’ ingenious arrangements were lost shortly after the “Sketches” studio sessions in 1960, and have just recently been painstakingly re-transcribed from the original recordings.
The program:
– Joaquín Rodrigo: “Concierto di Aranjuez” (David Feingold, guitar)
–  Manuel de Falla: Three Songs from “El amor Brujo” (Melissa Plagemann, mezzo-soprano)
–  Miles Davis/Gil Evans: “Sketches of Spain” (Kevin Woods, trumpet)
At 7 p.m., Fairhaven College student Sage Romey will present a pre-concert lecture on the intercontinental lineage of Spanish music, drawing comparisons with the similarly diverse origins of American jazz. 

Jump start your Valentine’s Day with “Love Notes,” a concert to benefit Whatcom Chorale, at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 13, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 2117 Walnut St.  Soprano Sherrie Kahn; pianist Wade Dingman; and special guest Yaniv Attar, music director of Bellingham Symphony Orchestra, will touch your heart with works by Handel, Villa-Lobos, Purcell and others. After the concert, sweet treats will be served in the church’s Great Hall. Tickets are $30 adults, $10 students, available at the door or in advance from Brown Paper Tickets, Village Books in Fairhaven, and the downtown Community Food Co-op.

Bellingham’s monthly Old-Time Jam takes place from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 13, at Greene’s Corner, 2208 James St., led by Colin Harris from Minneapolis.
Participants with all levels of experience are welcome, although beginners should note that there will be no tune instruction. Recording devices are OK.
All traditional stringed instruments are welcome.
A tip jar will be used to compensate the jam leader. Participants are asked to be generous, and to please purchase a drink or some food so that the venue will be happy to host us. They have great pizza and other food, and a huge selection of beer, ales, and other drinks.
An email list exists for the purpose of disseminating the previous list of tunes played and to remind players of the next jam and its leader.
To be placed on the list, send an email to:

Come to a new monthly event, Jazz in the ’Haven, hosted by renowned jazz drummer Julian MacDonough at 7:15 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 13, at the Firehouse Arts and Events Center, 1314 Harris Ave. The shows feature an eclectic lineup of some of the best jazz musicians working in the Pacific Northwest. Tickets available at the door. The next shows are March 5 and April 2.

Local historian Kolby LaBree was hired to research and help the City of Bellingham with historical interpretation of downtown’s Federal Building on Cornwall and Magnolia Streets.
Built in 1910, the Federal Building was surplussed in the late 1990s, and then the City assumed ownership in 2004. Learn more about LaBree’s work on the preservation and restoration plan for the building at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 13, at Old City Hall, 121 Prospect St.

LaBree has worked on many historical projects including surveys of the Lettered Streets, York, South Hill, Fairhaven, Broadway Park, and Fountain District neighborhoods. She particularly loves to research historic homes and buildings.
Cost: $5 suggested donation, free for members of Whatcom Museum.

In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage, remember some of the remarkable, but often unsung, women of the Pacific Northwest. Writer Mayumi Tsutakawa presents five “woman warriors” in the arts and journalism from the past century whose stories inspire, at 6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 14, at Bellingham Public Library, 210 Central Ave. Learn about pioneering photographer Imogen Cunningham, jazz musician Ruby Bishop, Chinese American artist Priscilla Chong Jue, journalist Anna Louise Strong, and Native American linguist Vi Hilbert. Drawing on her own experience as an activist and writer, she explores how these women inspired others and changed our state and our society. The program will be repeated at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 15, at Ferndale Library, 2125 Main St.

From Feb. 13 through 17, Bellingham Circus Guild presents seven showings of its beloved Valentine show to celebrate the event’s 10-year anniversary. This is the longest-running curated circus show from the Bellingham Circus Guild.
This is not your typical Valentine fare. Since 2010, “My Circus Valentine” has offered a balm, a boost, and a welcome diversion for tender and calloused hearts alike. Featuring many local Bellingham Circus Guild artists, dazzling special guests, gravity-defying artistry, and the kind of fun only the finest circus can devise, this event is more than just a show. Guests will encounter a world full of dreamy magic, delectable treats, artisanal chocolates, love potions, and a carefully curated experience for all the senses. The event serves as a fabulous date-night, friends-night-out or family outing.
Thursday, Feb. 13, 7 p.m. (all-ages, sliding scale, dress rehearsal show)
Friday, Feb. 14, 6 p.m. (21 and older, cabaret)
Friday, Feb. 14, 9 p.m. (21 and older, cabaret)
Saturday, Feb. 15, 6 p.m. (all ages)
Saturday, Feb. 15, 9 p.m.  (21 and older, cabaret)
Sunday, Feb. 16, 3 p.m. (all ages)
Sunday, Feb. 16, 7 p.m.  (21 and older, cabaret)
All shows are at the Bellingham Circus Guild’s Cirque Lab, 1401 Sixth St.
More details on Facebook.

Bellingham Music Club’s Night Beat series celebrates Beethoven’s 250th birthday with a very special program! Cellist Colin Carr and pianist Thomas Sauer take us on a journey of joyful virtuosity with an all-Beethoven program at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 15, at First Congregational Church, 2401 Cornwall Ave.
Cellist Colin Carr appears throughout the world as a soloist, chamber musician, recording artist, and teacher. He has played with major orchestras worldwide and was last heard here with the Bellingham Symphony Orchestra in the spring of 2019. For this performance, Carr will be joined by pianist Thomas Sauer, a highly sought-after soloist, chamber musician, and teacher at the Mannes College of Music in New York City.
Their program includes the Sonata for Cello and Piano No.1 Op.5 in F major, an early work where Beethoven breaks the usual format for sonatas, starting with a slow first movement followed by faster ones; and the two sonatas from Op. 102, No.4 in C major; and No. 5 in D major, precursors of the great string quartets, where an apparent Baroque structure only signals freedom of expression in a deeply Romantic sense. Variations on “Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen” (Papageno’s buoyant aria from Mozart’s “Magic Flute”), and Variations on “See the Conquering Hero Comes” from Handel’s Judas Maccabeus, both spectacular works of joyful virtuosity, round up the program, which will be followed by refreshments. (Yes, there will be a birthday cake in honor of Ludwig!). Tickets, $25, are available at Village Books, online on, and at the door. Take a teen for free. More information: 360-305-6526.