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In perfect holiday harmony

Steamboat Springs Orchestra performs 2008 Holiday Concert in Craig

Steamboat Springs Orchestra Music Director Ernest Richardson shows Mike Story, 13, which beats to shake the bells on during "Sleigh Ride," as 8-year-old Amanda Moore waits for her cue from Richardson to clap the wood blocks together. It was the second year in a row that the two children, both from Craig, joined the orchestra on stage during the holiday favorite.
Jennifer L. Grubbs

The sounds of a full orchestra filled the ears of an audience of about 200 Friday night in the Moffat County High School Auditorium.

The sounds came during the Steamboat Springs Orchestra’s annual Holiday Concert, which included a mix of classical masterpieces and holiday favorites.

Steamboat Springs Orchestra Executive Director and principal bassoon player John Fairlie said he was pleased with the crowd that showed up.



“It’s nice to see that we keep growing the audience here,” he said.

The orchestra includes several Craig residents. Plus, at this concert, a few Craig student musicians and two audience members joined the regular orchestra members on stage.



For 8-year-old Amanda Moore and 13-year-old Mike Story, the chance to aid the orchestra on the song, “Sleigh Ride” was exactly what they had hoped for. The two had played bells and wood blocks at the orchestra’s 2007 holiday concert, and when Music Director Ernest Richardson asked for volunteers this year, Amanda and Mike’s hands shot up like lighting.

“It was fun because you get to do different things,” Mike said after playing the bells, “but your hand gets tired, too, real fast.”

Amanda’s grandmother, Mary Karen Solomon, of Craig, plays cello with the orchestra, and she said she enjoyed getting to play along with her.

In addition to the classical music Sinfonie Concertante, featuring Joseph Haydn, that started the evening, the audience heard the orchestra play a variety of old-fashioned traditional carols, “A Visit From St. Nicholas” with narrator Michael Brumbaugh reading “Twas the Night Before Christmas” and the Christmas Angels Sing-Along, which consisted of favorite carols, such as “Deck the Halls.” On the last one, the audience was invited to sing as the orchestra played, and three local student musicians played on stage with the orchestra.

Hannah Kirk, 14, who was one of those student musicians, said she loved, “standing up there (and playing violin) with the amazing professional people.”

Hannah’s teacher, Sandra Kruczek, was in the audience watching her student. Usually, Kruczek would have been up on the stage playing, too, but she took a year off and said she enjoyed listening to the concert.

“It’s so neat to see it from the audience’s side,” she said. “It was beautiful, full-bodied. I loved being part of the people singing.”

Other audience members also said they enjoyed the Holiday Concert.

“This is one of the jewels of Northwest Colorado,” Terry Carwile said. “Every time I hear them, I think they sound a little better.”

Laura Tyler, of Craig, thought the concert was “absolutely lovely.”

And many people said they liked both the classical and holiday music.

“The first part was fabulous, and the second part was more kid-friendly” David Wyman said.

The audience members weren’t the only ones who enjoyed it, though.

“I had a great time,” Richardson said afterward. “I love this community. They’re so enthusiastic about the music.”

Richardson said he hopes the orchestra can expand the number of concerts -currently two per year – it performs in Craig.

“We want to have an ongoing presence in Craig and encourage music-making in Craig,” he said. “This is a terrific hall. We’d love to do more concerts here.”


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