FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
June 15, 2023

MEDIA CONTACT:
Mary Vermillion
mary.vermillion@wcls.org
(360) 305-3645

Friends of the Library Groups Present Free Concerts to Celebrate Summer, Jazz and Libraries

Celebrate summer, jazz and libraries at three free concerts hosted by Friends of South Whatcom, Ferndale and Blaine libraries in support of the Whatcom County Library System. At each event, neighbors will gather for a joyous hour of live music and to discover what’s new at local libraries. Reservations are encouraged at wcls.org/jazz.  

The three concerts are: 

  • Bilongo — 2-3 p.m. Saturday, July 15, Glenhaven Lakes Clubhouse, 2997 Glenhaven Drive, Glenhaven. Arrive early to secure your spot on the grass and to browse library materials.  
    • The jazz series kicks off outdoors at the Glenhaven Lakes Clubhouse with Bellingham-based Bilongo. A Bantu word meaning spell or potion — medicine for the soul — Bilongo is a seven-piece Latin jazz group featuring vocalist Sabrina Gomez. Fall under the spell of original compositions as well as songs from Buena Vista Social Club and more. This is dance music! Arrive early to browse music-related library books and to meet other community members. Bring blankets and camp chairs; no alcohol please. Carpooling is suggested as parking is limited. 
  • The Jerry Steinhilber Trio — 7-8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 5, Ferndale Library, 2125 Main Street, Ferndale. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. 
    • The jazz series continues at the Ferndale Library with the Jerry Steinhilber Trio — Josh Cook, tenor; King Dahl, bass; and Jerry Steinhilber, drums. The group performs a distinctive mash-up of influential jazz masterpieces and original compositions. Find a seat among the bookshelves and groove with fellow fans of jazz and libraries. Browse library displays and share reading recommendations with library staff and neighbors. Tickets are limited and required. Reserve your seat at wcls.org/jazz.  
  • The Jazz Explosion —7-8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 19, Blaine Performing Arts Center, 975 H St., Blaine. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. 
    • The summer jazz series concludes with a performance by The Jazz Explosion at the Blaine Performing Arts Center. This large ensemble is led by jazz drummer and innovator Jerry Steinhilber and features some of the Pacific Northwest’s most in-demand artists.  Just like libraries, The Jazz Explosion is always exciting, always entertaining and always looking forward to what’s next. Arrive early to learn about the proposed Blaine Library project and to check out library materials. 

To complement the jazz concerts, the Whatcom County Library System will host Junior Groove: Jazz for Kids. In the three Junior Groove events, jazz drummer Jerry Steinhilber will lead young people (grades K-5) in an interactive program to learn about jazz and to try their hand at making some music of their own. Registration is not required.  

There are three opportunities to participate in Junior Groove: Jazz for Kids: 

·  South Whatcom Library, 10 Barnview Ct., Sudden Valley, Gate 2: 1:30-2:30 p.m. Friday, June 30  

· Ferndale Library, 2125 Main St., Ferndale: 5-6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 4 

· Blaine Library, 610 3rd St., Blaine: 4-5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 18 

The concert series and youth programs continue a musical legacy that began in 2010 when Sudden Valley resident and jazz aficionado K.C. Sulkin created the popular Sudden Valley Jazz Series as a fundraiser for the South Whatcom Library. The Friends of South Whatcom Library wanted to expand the joy of music and libraries to other communities. Volunteers with the Friends of Blaine and Ferndale libraries jumped in to make that dream happen.

The Whatcom Grooves Summer Jazz Series is generously supported by grants from Whatcom Community Foundation and Whatcom County Library Foundation. Additional financial and in-kind contributions from community partners Costco, The Best Bellingham Homes Team, Team Stauffer Windermere Real Estate and the Bellingham Jazz Center make these free events possible. Financial donations to support local libraries are gratefully accepted at the concerts. 

“Thank you to the Friends of the Library volunteers who created Whatcom Grooves and to the musicians who will get us dancing and tapping our toes at the free concerts,” says WCLS Executive Director Christine Perkins. “Whatcom Grooves brings neighbors together to enjoy exciting local jazz and to support thriving local libraries. We are grateful.” 

About WCLS:  Whatcom County Library System (WCLS) serves Whatcom County residents outside the city limits of Bellingham through online resources (wcls.org) and at 10 branches: Blaine, Deming, Everson, Ferndale, Island (Lummi Island), Lynden, North Fork (Kendall), Point Roberts, South Whatcom (Sudden Valley) and Sumas. WCLS also has a bookmobile (serving Glenhaven, Birch Bay, Wickersham, Lake Samish) and a Library Express on Northwest Drive. Apply for a free library card at any location or online at wcls.org/getacard.  Learn more about Friends of the Library groups at wcls.org/friends-of-the-library

        We acknowledge that Whatcom County is located on the unceded territory of the Coast Salish Peoples. They cared for the lands that included what we’d call the Puget Sound region, Vancouver Island and British Columbia since time immemorial. This gives us the great obligation and opportunity to learn how to care for our surrounding areas and all the natural and human resources we require to live. We express our deepest respect and gratitude for our indigenous neighbors, the Lummi Nation and Nooksack Tribe, for their enduring care and protection of our shared lands and waterways.
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