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TUNING IN: Music Organizations in Central Colorado

Central Colorado is rich with musical organizations and it would take several pages to list them all, so here are few of note. Apologies to the many we left out. You are appreciated!

Arkansas Valley Music and Dance
Since 2004, this Chaffee County-based nonprofit has been promoting and organizing educational events for the joy of community dancing and live music for dance in the upper Arkansas Valley. They envision the community as healthier, happier and brighter as each person participates daily in music and dance. They began putting on events in 2004 and have been a 501(c)(3) non-profit since 2007. Their events include contra dances, country-western dances, swing and waltz classes, old-time music jams and weekend festivals. They are also an affiliate of the Country Dance and Song Society, a national organization committed to “continuing the traditions, linking those who love them.”

Alamosa Live Music Association
The Alamosa Live Music Association is a dynamic, non-profit community arts organization enriching the lives of artists, audiences and the community, and fostering economic development and tourism by providing opportunities for cultural expression through music. Founded shortly before the turn of the 21st century, they are a grassroots, not-for-profit community service organization comprising music lovers committed to creating easy access for the local region to quality, diverse and visceral live music performances.

Buena Vista Events Cooperative (BVEC)
About three years ago, a small group of performing artists got together to better their lot in life. Tired of performing on the streets, in church basements, courthouses and gymnasiums in Buena Vista, they united to form an organization called BVEC. The Cooperative is a small group of individuals that seeks to raise money to support live performances of all kinds.
The group sponsors music, melodramas, historical re-enactments, and demonstrations. So far BVEC’s claim to fame was helping the town and the local Main Street committee build the People’s Stage – a stage in a vacant lot downtown where anyone can play or perform. Since that effort is temporary, the group is building another stage to be located elsewhere in downtown. The group hopes to convince town leaders of the benefit of the performing arts enough to build a year-round, multi-purpose building that all could share and enjoy.

In Concert
In Concert was founded in 2003 to support and promote live classical music in the Wet Mountain Valley. In Concert provides cultural and educational opportunities for residents of the area by presenting a series of three concerts at the Jones Theater in Westcliffe in the fall, winter and spring. The group also sponsors school workshops and performances, an annual free band concert in the park and a classical music program on radio station KLZR.

The Salida Aspen Concert Series
The Salida Aspen Concert six-week series grew out of one concert held in July 1977 and sponsored by U.S. Soil in conjunction with the Salida Chamber of Commerce. The Monarch String Quartet performed at the former Salida High School auditorium to a crowd of approximately 175 persons. The series grew out of a pilot program initiated by the Music Associates of Aspen, who envisioned an outreach program of lecture and music for small Western Slope towns. SAC has the longest running community partnership with the Aspen Music Festival and School. By 1980, SAC was able to assume all expenses of running the concert series. Annual attendance over the past five years has averaged 1,500 concertgoers. In 2013, they reached a total of 1,804 attendees over seven concerts.

The I-Bar Ranch
The I Bar is an authentic western heritage event center that seats up to 515. It is situated on a 10-acre converted hay meadow at the base of ‘W’ Mountain in Gunnison. The venue is a former hay barn with  a stage, lighting and sound. The sides are open to provide fresh air and scenery, and there are curtains that can be closed for inclement weather. The venue is in operation from May-October for community orientated events.

The Vic
A regional music list is not complete without a nod to the Victoria Tavern in downtown Salida. Built in 1900, it was originally billed as a European-style hotel featuring first class accommodations and steam heat. Before settling in as a tavern in 1910, the Vic was a grocery store, meat market and billiards hall. The bar is owned by Pete Simonson and run by his daughter Molly, and has featured live dance music on weekends for several decades running.