< Victoria Ebel-Sabo and husband Dan Sabo will perform a special Father’s Day concert at 7 p.m., June 21 at the PAC to raise money for new playground equipment at Peace Arch State Park.
“We hold the distinction of being the only nation in the history of the world that went to the poorhouse in an automobile,” said Will Rogers during the Great Depression. Sure enough, that was the era when my poor parents, desperately seeking employment, drove their old Chevrolet from southern Iowa to eastern Washington while my brother and sister sat in the back seat and sang, “Oh we ain’t got a barrel of money.” History hasn’t exactly repeated itself, but General Motors declared bankruptcy this month.
The International Peace Arch played a prominent role during the Great Depression. Surprisingly, it began with music. The first annual Peace Arch celebration now known as “Hands Across the Border,” was held November 11, 1937. The Bellingham Eagles Band opened it with an overture. Whatcom County and Surrey schoolchildren sang “America” and “God Save the King.” The drum and bugle corps of the Albert J. Hamilton Post of Bellingham and the Seaforth Highlanders of Vancouver played marches. Again, the children sang “O Canada” and “The Star Spangled Banner.” Finally, everyone sang “Auld Lang Syne.”
Hard times are here again, and once more we will let the music begin. A Peace Arch State Park benefit concert will be held at the Blaine Performing Arts Center, 975 H Street, on Fathers Day, June 21.
The doors will open at 7 p.m. for a high school art exhibit organized by instructor Brian Smith. As the guests arrive, they will be invited to view the displays and meet his student artists. It will be another adventure in the arts, appropriately located in the heart of the Blaine school district.
Then, at 7:30 p.m., Victoria Ebel-Sabo will be honored as the Washington State Music Teachers Association composer of the year. Her husband, Dan Sabo, will join her in presenting an evening of music that will include selections for fathers and their children. A premier performance of “The Legend of Silverheels,” her winning composition for two pianos, will cap the concert.
Ebel-Sabo’s compositions will be sold during intermission. Half of the profits will be donated to the park for children’s playground equipment.
In a special way, Peace Arch State Park began with schoolchildren. During April 1930, state superintendent N.D. Showalter distributed a circular, inviting 355,000 Washington schoolchildren to donate money to improve and beautify the park. About $1,500 was collected. They remembered our park during the Great Depression, and now, during the current recession, it’s time for us to remember the children.
With admission by donation, every concert guest will have an opportunity to participate in the funding of children’s playground equipment. Envelopes will be available for income tax purposes. Checks should be made out to Peace Arch State Park which will hold all donations in a restricted account only for playground equipment.
Those who cannot attend the concert but wish to donate can mail their checks to Peace Arch State Park, PO Box 87, Blaine, WA 98231.
Bob Hines, president of the association, tells me his organization is strategizing to bring financial support to the park during this time of economic depression.
“Thank you for telling us about the concert you are planning,” wrote mayor Bonnie Onyon in a March 23 message
emailed to me. “I will be sure to make this one. The program sounds fascinating, and with local connection, is all the more meaningful.” I’m certain more people share her position.
The Peace Arch staff has printed 400 programs for this event. I’m certain the PAC will be filled with good people, and for three good reasons. It will be an audience of people who appreciate music, who value peace, and who love children.