Rhythms on the Rio Returns

WITH A PURPORTED 300 DAYS of sunshine a year, snow-covered mountains, and the red-earth beauty only known to Colorado, it makes sense that I can barely turn around without landing in a music festival. Not all are in summer under star-lit skies — UllrGrass is held in the short dark days of January, and Hollerween, …

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Alamosa’s New Venue: Society Hall

By Mike Rosso

Back in 2014, a small group of Alamosa residents began considering the possibilities of buying and converting an old Christian Science Society building into an event and performance center. By the spring of 2015, they formed a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, The Society Hall Foundation, and purchased the building in August that same year.

They dubbed the building Society Hall, and today it is Alamosa’s newest venue for concerts, plays, workshops, weddings and other community uses.

Board president Ruthie Brown first considered the building, constructed in 1922, after seeing someone actually leaving the building, something she’d not witnessed in her 40 years in Alamosa. She immediately called local musician Don Richmond and his wife Teri McCartney to share her thoughts and once the couple had a look at the building, they decided it would be a great facility for the city.

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Ancient Tones: The Lithophone

By Marilyn Martorano

Several years ago, a number of very interesting and unique artifacts were identified in the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve museum collections and in private collections throughout the San Luis Valley. A cursory study of these artifacts suggested that some of them may have been used as tools called pestles. Pestles were utilized to crush a variety of materials in a vertical up-and-down motion, likely in a mortar made of stone or wood. However, at the time of this initial study, it was not clear why many of the sample artifacts did not exhibit significant use-wear similar to those known to have been utilized as pestles, and why some specimens were so long, heavy and very carefully shaped for a simple utilitarian purpose.

The possible function of some of these groundstone artifacts remained a mystery until recently, when the work of a French researcher, Erik Gonthier, was examined. Gonthier’s research on long, cylindrical stone artifacts collected from Africa confirmed that certain specimens had acoustical properties. Gonthier determined that these acoustically-active artifacts were very likely utilized as portable lithophones, a musical instrument consisting of purposely-shaped rock artifacts that are struck to produce musical notes. Lithophones have been documented from numerous cultures around the world including Europe, the Far East, Africa, the South Seas and South America. Portable lithophones can be made of unmodified stone or can be formally shaped. They are played by being suspended vertically and horizontally, held vertically, played horizontally across the lap, or placed horizontally in groups similar to a marimba or xylophone. While some lithophones from around the world are portable, others are stationary and include large boulders and even stalactites and stalagmites. There are at least two locations in the North America that exhibit concentrations of stationary rock/boulder lithophones: Ringing Rocks Park in Pennsylvania and Ringing Rocks in Montana.

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The ARK Magazine: Music, Arts and Culture of the Upper Arkansas Valley

By Mike Rosso

Music and art lovers of the Upper Arkansas Valley will be glad to hear about a new arts and music website launched in August 2016. Ark Magazine is the brainchild of Jamie Wolkenbreit, who saw a need for a central outlet to find out about events, art shows and musical happenings in the region.
After moving to Chaffee County with his family in 2015, Wolkenbreit began asking friends where he might find resources for event listings. Realizing others had the same questions, he decided to create an online magazine specifically to promote and support the arts in Leadville, Buena Vista and Salida.
“I’d love for the communities of Salida, Leadville and BV to experience more of a kinship, cultural interaction and shared identity … we’ve got a wonderful opportunity to steer our growth into a fun and prosperous place,” he said.

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The Real Deal Music Review: Leadville Cherokee – How to Build a Fire

By Brian Rill

A dry lake bed is perhaps the appropriate place for lighting a signal fire. That’s just what Leadville, Colorado band Leadville Cherokee has done with the release of their first studio-length album How to Build a Fire. Out of a chilly 10,000-foot mountain town, they have coveted ingredients for combustion: a large cluster of superheated gas and rock grinding together in a vacuum. Producing a loud exclamation of exaggerated activity, they are blazing the trail to ignite a new star, in the form of lead vocalist Coco Martin.

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The Real Deal Music Review

by Brian Rill ELM – Darkness Made Light Known 2014 elmtunes.com In the damp, waterlogged hills of rural Scotland sits an old house in autumn. Vines ascend its austere stone walls, escaping an abundant landscape. Over dozens of miles a proud and majestic river known by the name of Orchy weaves under a verdant green …

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Leadville Cherokee: mountain music

By Tyler Grimes

“A funky jam band” is how the Leadville Cherokee were described at a recent show at the State Highway Theater in Buena Vista. The band of five from – of course – Leadville, can certainly be described as funky and jamming, with a dose of bluegrass, reggae and rock. They describe themselves as a “Country-Fry Jam Rock Reggae Bluegrass Band.” Whatever the genre, they know how to make people stand up and move.

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Meet Doctor Robert

By Elliot Jackson

For most of us, our first memory of “The Music” was mediated through the miracle of electronics, whether through the radio:

12 years old, rushing around getting ready for school, “I Want to Hold Your Hand” plays on the AM radio, stops me in my tracks, and I’m instantly in love – Lynn Wetherell, Paonia, Colorado

Ancient technologies like the record player:

 Had the 45 of “Yesterday” (still remember, the flip was “Act Naturally”). Summer of 65, I was four. Maybe the first record I ever owned. Played it over and over and over and over … Adam Davis, Kirksville, Missouri

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Twenty Years of Making Music: The Alpine Orchestra

By Wendy Oliver

When I first moved to Buena Vista, I expected to gain a traffic-free life in the mountains while losing out on performing arts. Three months later, I attended the 1999 Alpine Orchestra’s Christmas concert and discovered a high caliber community orchestra right in the Upper Arkansas Valley. By January, I’d dusted off my oboe and joined both the Orchestra and the pit band for the local production of Brigadoon. More than a decade and a hundred performances later, I’m still impressed with the depth of talent in our small communities.

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Q&A with San Luis Valley Musician Don Richmond

Don Richmond has been performing in the Colorado-New Mexico area since about 1970. He has released six solo recording projects and has played with a number of bands including Tumbleweed and The Rifters. He has composed and recorded musical soundtracks for three documentary films seen nationally and internationally.

Don also owns and runs a recording studio in Alamosa, Howlin’ Dog Recording and is the author of a book, “Getting Your Music Past the Fear.” His most recent CD is called “Like Lazarus.”

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Blues from Another Planet – The Lazy Alien Blues Band, 29 Years Later

By Mike Rosso and Elliot Jackson

It’s a sunny Sunday afternoon at “The Vic,” or the Victoria Tavern, in Salida – early for barflies, although there are a few of them buzzing quietly over their beers and shots. It’s quiet, mellow, but the atmosphere is about to change. By twos and threes, calling greetings to the owner, the patrons and each other, a group of about ten guys and attendant entourage come sauntering into the bar with the breezy assurance of favored sons – which, it could be argued, they are. Probably no other group of musicians has played the Vic as much as the Lazy Alien Blues Band – going on for thirty years, if some of the lies can be believed. Deke, J.N., Denny, Ernie, Jimmy, Chris – as they cluster around the pool table, invoking a pose from a long-bygone photo shoot, a voice suddenly rises in song:

Going to the hot tub and we’re … gonna get laid …

We recognize the tune: isn’t that “Chapel of Love”?

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Rhythm, Soul and Education

by Mike Rosso

Salida-based musician Bones has put quite a few achievements under his belt over the past 25 years. He has performed in a variety of rock bands from England to Los Angeles and was a member of the popular Afro-beat band Jaka as well as the Grateful Dead tribute band, Shakedown Street.

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When the sap is running high

Column by George Sibley

Music – January 2006 – Colorado Central Magazine

HERE WE ARE in the dark days of the year. Our boys are slogging on in Iraq; the price of heating fuel is going up as fast as the temperature is going down; the Colorado legislature is slouching toward Denver with the far left and far right already trying to undermine continuation of last year’s bipartisanship; the national debt has just gone past eight trillion in acceleration mode–and every time I try to get my brain in gear, it spins out into a sappy love song.

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Alpine arias

Sidebar by Marcia Darnell

Music – April 2005 – Colorado Central Magazine

Alpine Arias

As Crestone is blessed with operatic singers, those singers are blessed to have a place to perform, Hazlerig Music House.

Sylvia Hazlerig built a structure in 1998, just down the hill from her new home. That building was meant to house her grand piano and harpsichord, because there was no room for them in the A-frame.

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Crestone with a high C

Article by Marcia Darnell

Music – April 2005 – Colorado Central Magazine

TINY CRESTONE Isn’t the kind of place you’d expect to find opera singers in residence, but Sue Vaughan and Meryl Ennis help their community reach the high notes.

Vaughan has been in Crestone for eight years, after having spent 20 in New York “at the Met.” She sang in the chorus of the Metropolitan Opera for two decades before retiring to her native Colorado, and now works with the choir of the Methodist Church in Monte Vista in addition to giving private lessons.

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Mountain Music comes to our mountains

Article by Bill Hays

Music – July 2003 – Colorado Central Magazine

WHILE IT’S OFTEN CALLED mountain music, the mountains in question are the Appalachians, not the Rockies. Nevertheless, the music better known as bluegrass will be making a high-profile appearance in Central Colorado this month at the inaugural High Mountain Hay Fever Bluegrass Festival, July 11-13, in Westcliffe.

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