Fairhaven College celebrates 50 years with music and arts festival
Groovin’, moovin’ and mentoring, Fairhaven’s 50th anniversary kicked off this past weekend, providing opportunities to reconnect, reminisce and laugh over shared memories.
The art festival celebration brought together some of the oldest alumni and faculty of Fairhaven and its current students for food, dancing and music.
Alumnus Andy “Badd Dog” Koch has been involved in the Bellingham and West Coast music scene playing blues music for years. He said the anniversary celebration was Alice in Wonderland themed because the mentality behind Alice in Wonderland is very much a part of the Fairhaven concept.
“The Alice in Wonderland theme, down the rabbit hole; keep your mind open; there’s all kinds of possibilities; life is what you make it; these are all themes that are part of the Fairhaven concept,” Koch said.
Facilitator and mentor Don Schluter, who attended Fairhaven in 1973, said the goal of this event is to create a strong Fairhaven community that continues past graduation.
He has been working with Fairhaven for the past year and a half to create a mentorship program between alumni and students.
“The idea is to start to bring the Fairhaven community together, and not be us and them anymore,” Schluter said.
Schluter said he wants there to be advising on many different levels with students and alumni being as involved as much as they would like.
They can help to financially aid the program or get involved with developing one-on-one relationships with students. Hopefully, this can provide internships, work and connections for current students, he said.
Schluter said he would like to see this kind of event happen every year.
“Everyone has an opportunity to have a good time, put on their dancing shoes and howl at the moon,” Schluter said.
Koch was the talent-buyer for the Wild Buffalo in Bellingham before deciding to to go back to touring and playing gigs. Koch helped to organize the music portion of the festival by bringing together all the bands that played on Saturday.
“This is what I do every weekend, I travel around and put on shows,” Koch said. “It’s kind of nice to do one here back at the old Fairhaven College where it all began.”
Koch’s band, Badd Dog Blues, started in 1995 after he played with a number of bands in the Fairhaven area. He calls his band a “dog pound orchestra” because he has a group of about 50 people who he calls upon to play with him wherever he goes.
One of the oldest Fairhaven members is 82-year-old Pat Karlberg who was among the original staff when Fairhaven was created.
Karlberg was there for the first 13 students, whom she affectionately calls her kids. Karlberg was the administrative assistant for the deans of Fairhaven for 21 years.
“I loved every day, not many people can say they wanted to go to work every day, but I loved it because none of my days were the same,” Karlberg said.
Many memories were shared and friendships picked up exactly where they left off, The Fairhaven College 50th Anniversary Celebration & Music and Arts Festival was a blast from the past, for the building up of its future.