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Rabbitbrush Rambler: Music to our ears

Posted: Tuesday, Nov 27th, 2012

A great asset for many of us in the San Luis Valley is the presence of a college. We residents of surrounding communities have access to wonderful experiences that might not be available otherwise, and one of them is good music.

Despite years and years of piano lessons, you can just call me a music appreciator, certainly not a performer, who still listens every day to music, often opera. We never outgrow our early experiences, like the few years when I enjoyed preparing publicity for the Colorado Springs Symphony Orchestra as a volunteer and attending all the concerts.

Some of us have made many trips from the Valley in order to enjoy the kind of music we love, often to Santa Fe. One year, when Adams State offered an interdisciplinary summer class that took us for a few days to Santa Fe, among our experiences was a tour of the entire opera house, top to bottom, and a memorable evening performance of “The Magic Flute.”

The college has long supported music, with an outstanding example being the lovely Leon Memorial Concert Hall, donated through the generosity of the thrifty Leon sisters. They operated a millinery shop on State Avenue, beginning in the early 1900s, and a few years after the college was built, their business was able to fund that fine concert hall.

Lucky us! On Nov. 7, the Music Department at ASU gave us an outstanding evening of selections called “Opera Rocks the Rockies.” It was brought to Leon Memorial by the University of Colorado’s School of Music and the Central City Opera, and the group put to good use the fine Steinway piano that the Friends funded.

Bravo! Thank you!

With a difference in purposes, that event was akin to the Creede Repertory Theatre’s outreach program, which introduces young people to theatre. The vocalists who came to ASU in November had visited some high schools elsewhere before coming here, and they taught a master class at ASU before their evening performance.

Since October, ASU’s calendar has been brimful of musical fare of many kinds for participating students and the public. In October there were a jazz concert and the woodwind ensemble, and November saw a choir concert, the visiting opera group, another jazz concert, and two big band concerts, followed by a percussion extravaganza tomorrow night (Nov. 28).

Still to come in December are Winterfest (Dec. 2), a symphony concert (Dec. 8), and the Valley Community Chorus (Dec. 9), which always finds a fair share of Adams State alumni participating.

Many students have prepared to teach music in K-12 classes at the college, and some take business courses which might be useful when artistry and business meet in the marketplace. Other subjects are performance, composition, conducting, recording, and so on, all of which are taught in the remodeled and expanded Music Building.

What goes on in the wide world is not always such good news. Euphemistically called music, an infernal racket of noise has been deafening a couple generations of kids, and annoying Muzak follows us through malls, stores, restaurants, and airports, apparently for the purpose of making us feel mellower about spending money but making it harder to hear what we want to hear .

For the next two months our ears will be assaulted by holiday jingle bells that have nothing to do with Christmas. Carols are beautiful in churches and homes, but Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer belongs in Hades, where he can drive everyone crazy forever.

I admit that I really do like the Bing Crosby-David Bowie recording of “The Little Drummer Boy,” though. Even a Scrooge likes that one.

Rum tum tum tum tum.

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