Ben Kohn, who teaches German at Whatcom, and his mother, Rosemary, were in charge of setup. Students from the German classes and French and Spanish Clubs brought cookies to get extra credit. Throughout the “Old World Winterfest,” Kohn urged the audience to partake of the cookies, even if they didn’t have the suggested 50 cent donation.
Kohn, in the spirit of the Winterfest’s cabaret atmosphere, opened with a song. “They’re used to me singing old songs they don’t know because they were born in 1983,”” Kohn joked, encouraging his students to laugh.
By the light of a small Christmas tree, complete with real candles and traditional German Christmas ornaments, Rebecca Blair, a Celtic harpist and professional clarinetist from Vancouver, B.C., serenaded the Winterfest participants with Celtic and Christmas music. Blair was an art teacher at Whatcom for 10 years.
The French, Spanish and German clubs sang “Silent Night” in their languages, along with other traditional carols. The Collegiate choir, accompanied by Earl Bower on guitar and David Kappele on clarinet, sang a traditional Bulgarian carol.
Additional music was provided by students, including Vaughn Schnelle on the accordion, Griffith Gustafson on the highland chanter and bagpipes, and Kayla Mantha, who sang a beautiful French song and played the guitar.
Kohn, in addition to moderating and setting up, played his violin in nearly every carol.