Music emanates up the narrow stairwell from the basement of Make.Shift Art Space as local music lovers venture down to experience Miniham, a miniature music festival. A crowd gathered in the dimly, but colorfully lit cellar to enjoy the sounds of a number of local artists.
Created by Western alumna Katie Gray, Miniham is a two-day long event designed to give local musicians an opportunity to perform. The all-ages festival, held at Make.Shift, included a face painting booth, tarot card readings, a photo booth, a raffle for a ukulele and performances by over 10 artists and groups, including the men and women’s a cappella groups.
“I have been a musician in Bellingham for five years now, and I reached a point where I was a part of some of my different friends’ organizations and shows,” Gray said, describing what inspired her to organize Miniham. “I had a moment where I was like, “I think I can do this better.’”
Gray said she wanted to provide support for local musicians, including Western students, and give them an opportunity to play shows in Bellingham.
“Giving people an opportunity to play a show and to help promote the local scene is really important,” Gray said.
During her time on campus, Gray was a part of the a cappella scene. Gray said she was a part of Major Treble for her first three years at Western. Major Treble, the women’s a cappella group and Rebel Clef, the men’s a cappella group, have performed at Miniham both times since it began last year.
“I love having the a cappella groups here because that’s a thing that is close to my heart from my college experience,” Gray said.
“Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfield and “Settle Down” by Kimbra are just two of the songs Major Treble performed on Saturday, Jan. 16, during the second and final night of Miniham. With multiple vocalists and energetic attitudes, the crowd swayed to the beat and applauded every song.
Dressed in button-ups and ties, Rebel Clef, the men’s a cappella group was ready to make the audience swoon over their performance. Beginning with an a cappella cover of “If I Ever Fall In Love Again” by Shai and ending on a classic rendition of “Mack The Knife” by Bobby Darin, the audience was swaying to the music throughout the performance.
Miniham is just one of the events where Major Treble and Rebel Clef will perform this year.
“We did the [International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella], just like in ‘Pitch Perfect,’” assistant director of Major Treble, Emilie Foltz said.
In addition to the a cappella groups, there were bands from all over the Pacific Northwest region, including Bygeau Noil from Denver, Colorado and Raphel from Seattle, Washington. Other bands featured at Miniham include Bailey Ann Martinet, Sam and the Savages, Bob Fossil and Moonhat performing on Friday night. JudyJustJudy, Bad Hex, Crooked Neighbours, Byrgeau Noil, Mono Grace and The Katie Gray Band playing on Saturday night.