Who is Claire vg Thomas?
When the Dutch Village Mall was created in Lynden in 1987 by Jim and Carolyn Wynstra, and Judd Rinsema, it contained a 160-seat theatre named after a Queen of the Netherlands, Juliana, who reigned from 1948-1980. The original theatre was in keeping with the Dutch theme of the City of Lynden.
Claire vg Thomas, with the help of theatre-loving friends, established the Lynden Performing Arts Guild. The guild has become a huge artistic success, putting on at least four productions a year lasting several weeks each, and playing to full houses
Claire VanderGriend was born in Lynden in 1917. She started playing the piano at age 5, and became an accomplished pianist and organist, with an eventual Masters Degree in Music. Her early career years were in New York where she was employed by the world-famous team of Rodgers & Hammerstein! From 1947 to 1949, she provided piano accompaniment for all those who auditioned for roles in their musicals.