Music

Making a Joyful Noise

Or how I got my seasonal groove back

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

It is true that, not long ago and for many years, I did not favor Christmas music.

To be clear: I’m no Scrooge. I have plenty of seasonal spirit. I love the twinkly lights and the smell of the Christmas tree and the baking of cookies and the watching of It’s a Wonderful Life and the pictures with Santa and the mistletoe and almost every bit of holiday magic I can get my hands on. I’ve even managed to steadfastly cling to my love of giving and receiving gifts despite my creeping suspicion that rampant, gleeful consumerism might not be contributing to the betterment of humanity.

But until recently, when it came to Christmas carols and other sounds of the season, my sentiments were more along the lines of “bah, humbug” than “these are a few of my favorite things.”

This could be owing to the fact that I grew up in a house where you were more likely to hear a Chipmunks Christmas album than one by Bing Crosby, with family members who have been known to avow that it isn’t really the holiday season until they’ve heard “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer.” However, it’s probably more the case that a decade-plus of working mall retail, with its piped-in soundtrack of a limited list of carols, was responsible for my cynicism with regard to the little drummer boy and those angels we have heard on high. And I haven’t even mentioned that time I donned an elf costume and tap-danced in front of a Nordstrom to the beat of “Jingle Bell Rock.” And no, it did not look anything like that scene from Mean Girls. Not least because I was 9 years old.

In other words, it wasn’t the Christmas carols. It was me.

I assumed this condition in which I would long for nothing more than a silent night would plague me for all of my days, but happily, that was not to be the case. A few years ago, I found my aversion to the seasonal inundation of fa la las and partridges in pear trees to be lessening, bit by bit until it disappeared entirely. My conversion to carol enthusiast is so complete that this year I found myself having to exert real self-control to keep from listening to holiday music until after Thanksgiving.

Lucky for me, the holiday concert season is in full swing around here—and one need only look to the listings on the next page now and during the coming weeks to see just how robust a season it is, musically speaking. But in the near future, the following are the concerts that caught my eye.

Proving that traditions as old as St. Nick require neither agedness nor instrumental accompaniment is the Showstoppers, a carefully culled crew of Bellingham High School students that embraces a mantra of “A cappella singing. All the time.” This 20-member ensemble has been the recipient of awards and accolades, meaning that when they step to the stage Dec. 4 to present their Holiday Music Program at the behest of the Bellingham Music Club, they’ll do so with all the poise of seasoned seasonal pros.
Where: Trinity Lutheran Church, 119 Texas St. Cost: Free. More info: 671-0252

It wouldn’t be the holiday season here without an appearance (or two, as the case may be) by the Bellingham Chamber Chorale. Their “Christmas with the BCC” concert has become a tradition in a season chock full of them. This time, they’ll perform seasonal standards as well as Loyd Pfautsch’s “Day for Dancing” and a trio of seasonal spirituals. It all happens Sat., Dec. 7, and tickets can be found online. Where: First Congregational Church, 2401 Cornwall Ave. Cost: $5-$20. More info: http://www.bccsings.org

The Bellingham Chamber Chorale will make an appearance the next afternoon as well, on Sun., Dec. 8, but this time they’ll be guests and the mighty Whatcom Symphony Orchestra will play host at an annual Holiday Concert of their own. If you’ve never seen a world-class orchestra play its way through a program of seasonal favorites, it’s probably safe to say you have not embraced all this holiday has to offer. However, given the popularity of the WSO’s Christmas concert, I’m probably preaching to the long-since-converted. Along with the Bellingham Chamber Chorale, the Bellingham Children’s Choir will also lend their talents, with the Mount Baker Theatre providing a suitably stunning locale for all this joyful noisemaking.
Where: Mount Baker Theatre, 104 N. Commercial St. Cost: $12-$35. More info: http://www.mountbakertheatre.com

While it is much further in the future with many holiday concerts taking place between now and then, I’d like to bring your attention to a Dec. 22 show featuring Mark O’Connor. The renowned fiddler is a genre-smashing, boundary-ignoring master of his craft, and when he makes his way to Bellingham, it will be to treat us to the sounds of an Appalachian Christmas. I have a feeling the show will be a popular draw, and we could all use a few reminders to relax and take in a little entertainment in order to properly navigate the hustle and bustle of the season with our Christmas spirit firmly intact.
Where: Mount Baker Theatre, 104 N. Commercial St. Cost: $20-$59. More info: http://www.mountbakertheatre.com

West Coast Wellness
More Music...
Ski to Sea
I’ll see you at the party

Surprising though it may be considering my current lack of sportiness, I spent the first half of my life as an athlete of sorts. I started playing soccer when I was in kindergarten, and for several years before I hung up my cleats, I played year-round, on indoor and outdoor teams. For much…

more »
Rockin’ for the RE Store
A community-improvement project

People visit the RE Store looking for all kinds of things.

Within the 20,000-foot space in the Fountain District, any number of useful items can be found. Need cabinetry for a kitchen makeover? They’ve got it. Tons of it. Looking to replace a door or some windows? They can help you out…

more »
The Midtown Men
The sounds of the ’60s

Let’s face it: Cover bands or tribute bands or whatever you’d like to call them, are a dime a dozen. Some of them are great—and therefore exceedingly entertaining. Some of them are terrible—also entertaining, just in a different way. But they’re all parts of the same musical…

more »
Events
Today
Ski to Sea Book Sale

10:00am|Bellingham Public Library

BC Morgan Horse Show

9:00am| Northwest Washington Fairgrounds

What-A-Sho!

7:00pm|Bellingham High School

Julius Caesar

7:30pm|Miller Hall

Twelfth Night

7:30pm|Philip Tarro Theatre

Wild Things

9:30am|Cornwall Park

Seconds Sale

10:00am|Good Earth Pottery

Seaweed Beach Ramble

10:00am|Living Earth Herbs

Book Trailers

12:30pm|Ferndale Library

Valley writers

1:00pm|South Whatcom Library

Sin & Gin Tours

4:00pm|Whatcom County Tourism

Food Not Bombs

4:00pm|Downtown Bellingham

Ski to Sea Block Party

5:00pm|Boundary Bay Brewery

School of Rock

7:00pm|BAAY Theatre

WWU Orchestra

7:30pm|Performing Arts Center Concert Hall

Genre Legends

8:00pm|Upfront Theatre

Trove
Tomorrow
Ski to Sea Book Sale

10:00am|Bellingham Public Library

BC Morgan Horse Show

9:00am| Northwest Washington Fairgrounds

Twelfth Night

7:30pm|Philip Tarro Theatre

Julius Caesar

7:30pm|Miller Hall

Sin & Gin Tours

4:00pm|Whatcom County Tourism

School of Rock

7:00pm|BAAY Theatre

Genre Legends

8:00pm|Upfront Theatre

Pancake Breakfast

8:00am|American Legion Hall

Anacortes Farmers Market

9:00am|Depot Arts Center

Mount Vernon Farmers Market

9:00am|Riverfront Plaza

Lummi Island Artists Studio Tour

10:00am|Lummi Island

Boating Center Open

10:00am|Community Boating Center

Sumas Writers Group

10:00am|Sumas Library

Bellingham Farmers Market

10:00am|Depot Market Square

Low Tide Picnic

11:30am|Marine Park

Stones Throw Block Party

12:00pm|Stones Throw Brewery

Blossomtime Parade

12:00pm|Downtown Bellingham

Project Connection

1:00pm|East Whatcom Regional Resource Center

We Are WWU

6:00pm|Boundary Bay Brewery

Salsa Night

9:30pm|Cafe Rumba

Northwood Steak and Crab Bellingham Farmer’s Market
Sunday
BC Morgan Horse Show

9:00am| Northwest Washington Fairgrounds

Twelfth Night

7:30pm|Philip Tarro Theatre

School of Rock

7:00pm|BAAY Theatre

Boating Center Open

10:00am|Community Boating Center

Back to the basics

7:00am

Ski to Sea Race

7:00am|Mt. Baker to Bellingham Bay

Rabbit Ride

8:00am|Fairhaven Bicycle

Fairhaven Festival

12:00pm|Historic Fairhaven

Images of Resilience Farewell

12:00pm|Whatcom Museum's Lightcatcher Building

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

1:00pm|Lincoln Theatre

Audubon at the Museum

2:00pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

Art of Jazz

4:00pm|Majestic

see our complete calendar »

Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1 Bellingham Farmer’s Market Trove Village Books Lester and Hyldahl Northwood Steak and Crab