Free concerts at WWU and WCC, and Learn About Your World, Near and Far

Western Washington University’s department of music and Whatcom Community College present free several concerts this week:

Liederabend: Western Singers in Concert is at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 20, at Western Washington University’s Performing Arts Center Concert Hall. German for “Evening of Song,” the Liederabend concert series features students from the WWU Voice Studios in dynamic performances of art songs and arias representing a synthesis of poetry, music, and tradition. Students have been nominated to perform on this concert by their peers and instructors. For this concert, first-year voice students are featured.

Melanie Sehman, of Whatcom Community College’s music department, has organized another concert. This one, at 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 21, at the college’s Heiner Theater, 237 W. Kellogg Road, features a recital by classical guitarist Bokyung Byun,  followed by a masterclass. Bokyung Byun, an internationally renowned classical guitarist and the first woman to win the JoAnne Falletta International Guitar Concerto Competition (2018), will present works by Tedesco, Regondi, Barrios, Bogdanovic, Sierra and Brouwer. Details: 360-383-3548, More on the performer:

WWU presents music by Steve Reich in a concert of his landmark piece, “Music for 18 Musicians” at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 21, in the PAC Concert Hall. Western’s Percussion Ensemble and contemporary music collective NowHearThis! features four grand pianos, a huge percussion battery, strings, woodwinds, and women’s voices, this rarely-heard masterpiece is not only one of the monuments of Minimalist composition, but also among the cornerstone works of the last 50 years of music writ large.

The Bellingham Youth Jazz Band hosts a benefit swing dance, open to all ages, from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 22, at the Bellingham Senior Activities Center, 315 Halleck Street  This 22-piece band, directed by Mark Kelly, is composed of 4-9 graders from 13 area schools; they’ll play big band and combo jazz pieces by Ellington, Basie, Kern and others. Doors open at 6:45 p.m. with dance instruction by Michael Spinale at 7 p,m., and the band takes the stage at 7:40. Complimentary food and drink will be provided by BYJB parents. Admission is by donation, with proceeds supporting the BYJB and Whatcom County Parks, which provides rehearsal space for this group. Details: 360- 676-5750,

Skagit Valley College’s McIntyre Hall in Mount Vernon is the scene for a rescheduled concert by Tony Furtado at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 22,  that was postponed due to the snow. He’s a wide-ranging songwriter and a virtuoso multi-instrumentalist adept on banjo, cello-banjo, slide guitar, and baritone ukulele.Tickets at 360-416-7727 or

Catch a preview of the 91st Academy Awards from 11 a.m. to noon Saturday, Feb. 23, at Lynden Library, 216 Fourth St. In anticipation of the Academy Awards® Ceremony on Sunday, Feb. 24, film historian Lance Rhoades shares highlights and controversies from previous ceremonies, discusses the current nominees, and offers his own Oscars® predictions. For details on the free event, call 360-354-4883.

Attend a Bellingham waterfront cleanup tour  of the I & J waterway site, hosted by RE Sources for Sustainable Connections at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23.  Learn about — and give input on the future of — a cleanup site along Bellingham Bay, after its 100-plus years legacy of industry left toxic contaminants in the sediments  from nearby industrial activity like a lumber mill and rock-crushing plant. Staff from the Department of Ecology, Bornstein Seafoods, and the Port of Bellingham will be present to answer questions and encourage public comments on the cleanup plan released by Ecology. The tour will begin at 2 p.m. at 28 Bellwether Way, and concludes at 3:30 p.m. There will be an open Q&A with Ecology and Port staff from 3:30 to 4. Ecology will be accepting comments on its cleanup plan for the site, from Feb. 19 to March 20, to hear the community’s input on possible paths forward. This site has potential for future salmon habitat restoration, as well as public park, trail, and business use. Email North Sound Baykeeper Eleanor Hines with questions, at

Cultural and media historian Lance Rhoades presents Beatlemania/Beatlemedia: How Talent, Timing, and Technology Created the World’s Biggest Musical Sensationfrom 2 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23, at Blaine Library, 610 Third St. With more than 600 million record sales worldwide, The Beatles remain the most successful musical act of all time. How did a rhythm-and-blues/rockabilly band from Liverpool, England grab the world’s attention and put an indelible and immeasurable stamp on popular culture? Explore the Fab Four’s drive, their strong management and ingenious production, and the arrival of new media that was opening opportunities to reach the enormous audiences eager to unleash their enthusiasm. Details on the free event: 360-305-3637.

Professional dancers and local dance experts Alethea Alexander, Derek Loerzel and Victoria Watts discuss the influence of George Balanchine on the dance world, his Western Symphony, and a live commentary of part of Western Symphony at 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23, at the Museum of Northwest Art, 121 First St. in La Conner. More about the free event at 360-466-4446,

Maritime watercolor painter Steve Mayo talks about his work at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23, at Island Library, 2144 S. Nugent Road on Lummi Island. As a youth, he learned to sail on the Columbia River where he became fascinated with fishing boats, tugs, and ocean-going shipping. Today Mayo and his wife live in Bellingham, where he continues to paint from his studio overlooking the waterfront of Bellingham Bay. His paintings reside in many private and corporate collections internationally and have been featured as covers and illustrations in a number of books on Northwest regional and British Columbia history. Details: 360-758-7145.

The Interfaith Coalition Music Festival, a Bellingham tradition for more than a dozen years, showcases diverse choral and instrumental music from diverse
congregations and faith traditions throughout Whatcom County at 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 24, at the First Congregational Church of Bellingham, 2401 Cornwall Ave. Adding to 
the selections by choirs ranging in size from intimate to majestic, a special feature of this year’s festival will be the song “One Day,” an international plea for peace. The solo verses in Arabic and Hebrew will be performed by Bellingham Beth Israel cantor Andrea Shupack, and Khaled Zaki, a Seattle area American Muslim muezzin, creating a true interfaith spirit. Admission is by donation. Interfaith Coalition is a group of 50 churches, a synagogue, and other local partners working together to end family homelessness in Whatcom County. For more information, contact Kevin Allen-Schmid, 2019 festival director, at 406- 858-0142,

Whatcom Community College will celebrate International Week 2019 from Monday, Feb. 25, through Friday, March 1, with free programs, open to the public.
This year’s theme, chosen as always by the Northwest International Education Association (NIEA) in partnership with UW’s Center for Global Studies, is “Global Populism: At Home and Abroad.”Sponsors of the event include UW’s Middle East Center, Humanities Washington, WCC’s World Languages Department, Student Life, and International Programs.
Here’s the schedule:
Monday, Feb 25, 1:30-3 p.m. in SYRE 107/108: “Let It Not Happen Again: Lessons of the Japanese American Exclusion,” presented by Clarence Moriwaki,  president of the Bainbridge Island Japanese-American Community. Sponsored by Humanities Washington.
Tuesday, Feb. 26, 1:30-2:30 p.m, SYRE 107/108: Study Abroad Panel, al discussion on the challenges and benefits of studying abroad with students and faculty who participated in programs in Costa Rica, Germany, Poland and Australia/New Zealand. Sponsored by International Programs.
Wednesday, Feb. 27, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. SYRE Foyer: “Meet the World at Whatcom” Fair 
Students will present information about their cultural heritage. Sponsored by International Programs.
Wednesday, Feb. 27, 1:30-3 p.m. SYRE 107/108: “Populism And The Authoritarian State In Turkey,” presented by David Fenner, scholar and administrator at the University of Washington. Sponsored by International Programs and UW’s Middle East Center.
Thursday, Feb. 28, Noon-1 p.m. HNR 208: Poetry Readings: “Reading Life,” poetry readings in French, German, Japanese, Spanish, with English translation. Sponsored by the WCC World Languages department.
Thursday, Feb. 28, 1:30-3 p.m. SYRE 107/108: “Reflections On The Holocaust In A Troubled World,” a presentation by Ian Stacy, history instructor, who led a group of students to Germany and Poland last summer. Sponsored by International Programs.
Friday, March 1, 9:30-11 a.m., PAV 201: West African Dance & Drumming with Afua and Boka Kouyate. Sponsored by WCC Dance Program, Student Life, World Languages, and International Programs.
Details; Ulrich Schraml, associate director of International Programs, new student support and internationalization,, 360-383-3244