November 2015 Talk: Music Club Celebrates 100 years

Thursday, November12, 2015, 7:30 p.m.

Whatcom Museum Rotunda Room • 121 Prospect St. • Free

Bellingham Music Club: Sharing Music for 100 Years

You couldn’t have lived in Bellingham or Whatcom County for that matter, without noticing that we have a lot of beautiful music being made here. The Whatcom Chorale, Kulshan Chorus, Whatcom Symphony Orchestra and many programs at WWU provide stirring programs. Musical theater and other musical arts abound. But music in our county wouldn’t be where it is today without its historical beginnings.

The Bellingham Music Club’s 2015-2016 season marks its 100th year of nourishing musical and cultural life of Bellingham and the Northwest. The largest music club in Washington, the BMC also ranks among the oldest of its kind in the nation. The Whatcom County Historical Society November’s history talk is being presented by BMC President, Kristin Van Schelt, Award Committee Chair, Gail Haines, and Ms Larabee at Lairmont ManorProgram Chair, Isabelle Cormier.

 Women Had a Vision

The Bellingham Women’s Music Club was born on February 22, 1916, at Lairmont Manor, the stately residence of Mrs. C.X. Larrabee. The new club soon became the heart of Bellingham’s musical life. Members would audition for the privilege of performing for invited audiences, while bestowing occasional awards on exceptional student musicians at Western Normal School. Eventually though the parlor piano proved no match for the movie palaces, radios, record-players and TV of a media-happy culture, and performances had to be outsourced.

 The Club was founded on the belief that making live music together nourishes the soul, uniting family, friends, and community. Over the years, that belief has driven the metamorphosis from an exclusive sorority of musically gifted socialites into a wide-open organization, welcoming all who cherish dedication to serious music by local artists – especially our youth – and recognize it with performance opportunities and student competitions.

BMC TodayBhm Music Club 100th meme

Today, men and women belong to the club, fulfilling the vision of the original club: to bring quality music and encourage young performers in their musical pursuits.

 In addition to BMC history milestones, November 12 talk will present an overview of BMC philanthropic endeavors and current Centennial Season.

 Join Us

Social time begins just before 7:00 PM in the Rotunda Room. Cookies and our famous punch is there for enjoyment. Books, memberships and our journals are on sale.


Searching for Ella Higginson

March 12 2015 7:00

Whatcom Museum Rotunda Room • 121 Prospect St. • Free

Join us for a fascinating talk about Ella Higginson with Laura Laffrado, professor of English at WWU. Laffrado will speak about her efforts to reintroduce readers to Higginson’s life and work and to reclaim Higginson as a significant voice in American literature. A new publication from the Whatcom County Historical Society on Higginson is due out soon. Laffrado is the author.

An Early Voice of the Pacific Northwest

The first prominent literary author from the Pacific Northwest, Ella Rhoads Higginson (1862?-1940) has been largely forgotten Higginson with Car 001as a key American writer. During the turn from the nineteenth century into the twentieth century, readers across the nation were introduced to the remote Pacific Northwest region by Higginson’s descriptions of majestic mountains, vast forests, and scenic waters, as well as the often difficult economic circumstances of those dwelling near Puget Sound. Higginson was celebrated for her award-winning fiction, her lyric poetry which was set to music and performed internationally, and her distinguished position as the first Poet Laureate of Washington State. Throughout her literary career, Higginson published hundreds of poems, stories, and essays in leading magazines and newspapers, while also writing books, including the novel Mariella, of Out-West (1902) and the nonfiction work Alaska, the Great Country (1908).

Lost to Time but Relevant Today as Precise Look at Our Region 100 years ago Continue reading

First Program of the New Year 2015

Happy New Year!!

Here at the Whatcom County Historical Society, we all wish you the very best day and year to come. Please join us for our first presentation of 2015.

Incarceration of Japanese and Japanese Americans during World War II”


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Presented by Fumio Otsu and Carole Teshima

Thursday, January 8, 2015, 7:30 p.m.

Whatcom Museum Rotunda Room • 121 Prospect St. • Free

A Difficult Chapter in Our Nation’s History

More than 120,000 Japanese and Japanese American families were incarcerated in the United States during WWII. This presentation will give an overview of the incarceration on the West Coast and follow the experience of two families’ pre-WWII, during WWII and post WWII.

Pat Shima evacuation kidPresenter Fumio Otsu was born in the Tule Lake Concentration Camp where Japanese families from Bellingham were also imprisoned. The overview will include a timeline for the incarceration beginning with the evacuation order by President Roosevelt in 1942 to the formal apology by President Ronald Reagan in 1988. People of Japanese ancestry were incarcerated in 10 concentration camps and 29 prison locations. The post war impacts of their release will be discussed from the perspective of each of Otsu’s families. Teshima will present research on the established Bellingham families who were forcibly removed from their homes and businesses, gave up everything and never returned. Continue reading