Monday, August 23, 2010

Bellingham music program an outlet for creativity

BELLINGHAM, Wash. -- Jim Monroe sits at Three Trees Coffeehouse, microphone in hand as he waits for cues from singer and guitarist Jon Dalgarn.

At his urging, Monroe and two others on stage sing, croon or hum along to upbeat favorites, sending strains of "Stir it Up," by Bob Marley, and "The Tide is High" by Blondie, among other songs, floating out of the space in downtown Bellingham.

Monroe, of Bellingham, is among the local members of Out of the Ashes, a music program for people with developmental disabilities that Dalgarn started in Bellingham this spring.

The idea is to give those with developmental disabilities an outlet for creativity, a way out of their shells, a voice they didn't have before.

He's a different guy up there," said his mother, Maureen Monroe, 53. "He's been through so much with medical stuff. He's on a lot of medication that makes him rather fatigued. But when he's on the stage, you would not know that."

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