Mount Baker Theatre
Throwin’ it back
What: Georgia on My Mind
When: 7:30pm Fri., Feb. 7
When: 3pm Sun., Feb. 9
What: Just One Look
When: 7pm Fri., Feb. 14
What: Gatlin Brothers
When: 7:30pm Sat., Feb. 15
Where: Mount Baker Theatre
Wednesday, February 5, 2020
I have now lived long enough for the music that I loved growing up to become fodder for radio stations playing throwback jams. I’ve always thought that when that day came, it would feel like irrefutable proof that I am no longer young.
However, the more the years pass, the less I find myself concerned with such things. Instead, I find it fascinating that songs I once listened to because they were trendy have now stood the test of time. That should hardly come as a surprise given that I’m still listening to the music from the generations before mine, some of which will be found at the Mount Baker Theatre in the coming days.
Every Saturday morning while I was growing up, my mom would throw on a stack of her Motown records and we would clean the house to a soundtrack of Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye, and Stevie Wonder. The first time I spent the weekend at my grandmother’s house, I learned she’d come by that habit honestly, except in my grandma’s case, the music of choice was “the Genius” himself, Ray Charles. It speaks to the sheer magnitude of his talent and skill that it takes a whole stage full of folks—multiple Grammy winners among them—to re-create a night of his music. “Georgia on My Mind: Celebrating the Music of Ray Charles” will make a stop in Bellingham to fill the Mount Baker Theatre with the sweet sounds of “What’d I Say,” “Hit the Road Jack,” “Unchain My Heart,” and, of course, the concert tour’s namesake song, “Georgia on My Mind.” Doing the honors will be a celebrated ensemble of performers, including 10-time Grammy winners Take 6, three-time Grammy winner Tom Scott, Emmy-winner Clint Holmes, and six-time Grammy nominee Nnenna Freelon. Ample tickets remain for the Fri., Feb. 7 concert, but that’s no reason to wait to get yours.
After that, the Mount Baker Theatre will travel across both time and distance to bring “Finlandia” to its stage on Sun., Feb. 9. It’s probably more accurate to say the Bellingham Symphony Orchestra will actually be doing the travelling, and they’ll get an assist from esteemed guest violinist Giora Schmidt in doing so. Together, Schmidt and the symphony will present a program consisting of “Romance for Violin and Orchestra” by Johan Svendsen, “Violin Concerto” by Dmitry Kabalevsky, and “Symphony No. 7” and “Finlandia, Op. 26” by Jean Sibelius. Be forewarned: The Bellingham Symphony Orchestra is as beloved as it is accomplished, tickets are always in scarce supply in the days before their concerts, and “Finlandia” is no different. If you wait to procure yours, the only way you’ll be visiting Finlandia is by purchasing an airline ticket—a slightly more expensive proposition than spending an afternoon at the Baker.
The next musical event at the Mount Baker Theatre may be of special interest to those of you—and there were a lot of you—who saw the excellent documentary Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice during its run at the Pickford Film Center. From the documentary, we were reminded that Ronstadt wasn’t just the golden voice responsible for such hits as “You’re No Good,” “Blue Bayou,” “You’re No Good,” “When Will I Be Loved,” and so many more, but she was also a fearless groundbreaker and source of inspiration for many within the music industry. A degenerative disease has tragically cost Ronstadt her singing voice, but embodying both her look and her sound is Holly Aprecio, who brings her “Just One Look: Tribute to Linda Ronstadt” to the Mount Baker Theatre for a Valentine’s Day concert. This will mark Aprecio’s first time at the Baker, but she’s been performing since she was 6 years old and has a solid background in musical theater, with roles in productions of Annie, Peter Pan, The Sound of Music, Grease, and more.
The other artists who will appear at the Mount Baker Theatre in the coming days all have in common that they’ve been at this long enough to be seasoned professionals, but compared to the Gatlin Brothers, they’re rank newcomers. The country legends are touring to celebrate their 65th anniversary—that’s six-and-one-half decades—in the music business, a monumental achievement, to say the least. To put it into perspective, when Larry, Steve, and Rudy Gatlin began performing together, minimum wage was a dollar an hour, Rosa Parks was about to make history by refusing to give up her seat on an Alabama bus, and the first moon landing was nearly 15 years in the future. Driven by Larry’s songwriting, the group scored its first number one hit 40-plus years ago, and for a time during the 1980s, theirs were the voices the ruled the country charts with such songs as “Houston (Means I’m One Day Closer to You),” “Denver,” “The Lady Takes the Cowboy Everytime,” and “She Used to Be Somebody’s Baby.” Those, as well as other songs from their vast country and gospel repertoire, will be on full display Sun., Feb. 15 when the Gatlins bring their big birthday tour to the Baker.
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