A bit of history: The Bellingham Chamber Music Society has been showcasing chamber music concerts since 2014 when violist Leslie Faye Johnson founded the society. Pat Nelson, bassoonist, joined forces with Leslie and they put on wonderful concerts in many Bellingham venues over the years.
The global pandemic shook everything up. Many of us experienced sadness, loss and heartbreak. We also had plenty of time to reflect on what holds meaning for us. Things like community, mental health, love, and the arts rise to the top. During the pandemic dreamtime was more plentiful for some as we could not go about our daily lives as usual. In this space, a new reality was envisioned for BCMS. From these dreams, a board of passionate, energetic, committed people was assembled. Together they have spent months generating new and exciting ideas for our organization and our community.
Our first order of business was to find a home for our main series concerts. Rotating venues, different acoustics, and varying costs all conspire to create an unsettled feeling. We had plans to roam Bellingham with our instruments and test out the various venue possibilities. On the second planned visit, however, we found our spot! The beautifully restored Leo Hotel in downtown Bellingham is home to the Crystal Ballroom. The ballroom has been lovingly restored and has both an aesthetic and an acoustic ideal for the performance of classical chamber music.
We are delighted to have formed a partnership with the Leo Hotel in this adventure. The Hotel owners aim to revive the hotel’s role as a hub of civic life and activity and feel BCMS is a great match for them. We could not be happier to have BCMS be a part of this.
Our second order of business was to gather our wonderful local classical musicians and create a concert series for the 2022-23 season. Bellingham and the surrounding area is a special place. As a result we have a stunning number of very well trained professional musicians who have chosen to call this area home. BCMS will organize this abundance of human skill into a series of well curated programs to share with music loving audiences. Our programs will feature not just the classic standards but will showcase composers who have, and remain, underrepresented. Don’t worry – we will always sprinkle the year with the standards that many of us have grown to love!
Future orders of business are in the parking lot of ideas. As soon as we are off and running with our 2022-23 season the dream creators will begin their work. Stay tuned!
Join us for our first concert on Sunday September 18th, 2022 at 3pm at the Crystal Ballroom of the Hotel Leo for our Gala opening concert and reception! Holst and Brahms are on the acoustic menu for the afternoon. Click here for more information about our season.