News in Brief

Published on Wed, Sep 30, 2009 by Tara Nelson

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Park fundraiser honors composer

The works of composer Joseph Schiffmacher will be featured at a Peace Arch State Park playground fundraiser at 3 p.m. on October 4 when piano teachers affiliated with the Washington State Music Teachers Association perform 20 of his compositions. The event will be held at The Amadeus Project, 1209 Cornwall Ave., Bellingham.

Schiffmacher, who was born the year Beethoven died, studied with Chopin.  Although he was a well-known pianist and teacher who was praised by Delacroix and Gide, his compositions remained hidden in the Paris Conservatory of Music until Rudi Schiffmacher, of Germany, recently found over 300 pages of his ancestor’s piano pieces and sent them to Richard Clark, of Blaine.

Performers will include well-known county pianists such as Ford Hill, Dan Sabo, and Patricia Jorgensen. Three of Schiffmacher descendents will attend. This concert promises to be interesting. Admission by donation. All contributions will be dedicated toward the purchase of park playground equipment.

String quartet performs October 18

The Pacific Arts Association has scheduled a performance of the Western Washington University faculty string quartet in concert at 3 p.m. Sunday, October 18 at the Performing Arts Center in Blaine.

The quartet is comprised of music professor Walter Schwede, a former associate Seattle Symphony concertmaster for the Seattle Symphony and Pacific Northwest Ballet; Grant Donnellan, concertmaster for the Whatcom Symphony Orchestra and co-director of the summer Chamber Music Festival; Eric Kean, a graduate of Cornell University who has performed with the Seattle Symphony; and John Friesen, cello, a recipient of Canada Council Awards and the Lincoln Center Fund Awards.

The group will perform such pieces as Mozart's Quartet in D major K. 575 and the Brahms Quartet in C minor, Op. 51 No. 1. Tickets are $20 for adults and seniors and may be purchased online at or at the Blaine Visitor Center, Pacific Building Center, Semiahmoo Resort Coffee Shop, Smuggler’s Inn, and Village Books in Fairhaven. For more information, call Suzanne Conrad at 676-5740.

Local farmers grow trees for water

Van Wingerden Garden Center in Blaine has partnered with the Whatcom Farm Friends Growing Trees for Salmon (FGTFS) program to plant and nurture 10,000 trees in 2009. 

The trees will be offered during giveaways from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. the first three Saturdays in October for any Whatcom County residents who commits to planting them along creeks, rivers, ponds, wetlands or ditches. Douglas fir, Western red cedar and Sitka spruce seedlings will be available in half-gallon pots.

Participants will be asked to share their contact information with the group along with the watershed they plan to plant the tree in. Planting and maintenance tips will be provided. Tree plugs for this round of the program were purchased with grant funds from the Whatcom County public works district with local farmers volunteering the land, water and labor for maintenance efforts.

Van Wingerden is located at 8210 Portal Way in Blaine.

Coat drive scheduled for October 11

Coats, jackets, mittens, gloves, scarves and other new or gently used outerwear are being collected for distribution throughout Whatcom County in October and early November. Each year, the Interfaith Coalition of Whatcom County collects and distributes about 3,000 donated coats to people whose situations make purchasing coats and outwear for winter difficult or impossible.

In Blaine coats will be collected at many local churches through Sunday, October 11, or they may be dropped off on Monday, October 12 from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Blaine Food Bank, 500 C Street Distribution is at the Blaine Food Bank on Tuesday, October 13 and Friday, October 16 from 9 a.m. to noon.

For more information, call Interfaith Coalition of Whatcom County, 734-3983, or go online to

Contest invites businesses to get scary

The Blaine Chamber of Commerce is calling for local businesses to get their corn stalks in a row. Business owners are invited to decorate their store with pumpkins, scarecrows, straw bales and other props to make their store unique. All decorations must be in place by October 17 and removed by November 14 and participants are encouraged to register at the Blaine Visitor Center so they are included in the scarecrow walk map.

The map will include merchant coupons and advertisements on the back for local businesses. Forms to be included in the map are available at the Blaine Visitor Center. Prizes will be awarded. For more information, call 332-4544.