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A Letter from Executive Director Gail Ridenour

May 16, 2019

To our patrons, supporters, and friends -

This year marks our orchestra’s 44th season, and we continue to be community-built—composed of musicians from our own Whatcom County—and community-driven—dedicated to reaching audiences of all ages with live orchestral music and engagement opportunities. Though we begin our 2019-2020 season as the Bellingham Symphony Orchestra, our mission and our devotion to the music arts throughout our county has not changed.

The decision to rebrand the organization was reached by our Board of Directors in April 2018 after careful consideration, thorough research, and key consultations with our musicians and community members. Frequently, orchestras at our level are named after the city in which they perform. For the past four decades, we have performed predominantly in the city of Bellingham, which has received national recognition. We believe this new opportunity will ultimately help us better serve our audiences throughout the county by aiding our efforts to connect with high-caliber guest artists and elevating our organization to achieve greater respect on the regional and national level.  

We have another incredible season in store, including a special summer baroque concert, featuring our own musicians as soloists. We kick off our classical season in September with pianist Jon Kimura Parker and a program of music inspired by dance and movement. Our 2019-2020 season will also feature cellist Amit Peled, violinist Giora Schmidt, guitarist Daniel Bolshoy, pianist Jessica Choe, and violinist Chee-Yun. We are thrilled to be performing iconic works, such as Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1, Sibelius’ Finlandia, and Brahms’ Violin Concerto.

Our expanded youth and community engagement programs will bring performances out of the concert hall and into our classrooms and community, reaching an even broader audience in our county. Additionally, our Classical on Tap chamber series is going on tour around town, so you and your family can attend a free Classical Around Town concert this summer in Blaine, Ferndale, Lynden, and Bellingham. Check our new website or follow us on our Facebook page to learn more about these fun community events.

Whatcom County is home to a talented and thriving arts community, and I am proud to call it my home as well. I invite you to join us as we continue to celebrate our legacy of homegrown powerful, beautiful, and inspiring musical performance.