Strings Music Festival: It’s not what you think |

Strings Music Festival: It’s not what you think

Les Wong
For the Steamboat Pilot & Today
Martin Sexton will perform Sunday at the Strings Music Pavilion in Steamboat Springs.
Courtesy photo
Upcoming concerts:
  • Indigo Girls – Friday, Aug. 17 (sold out)
  • Martin Sexton - Sunday, Aug. 19
  • Rodrigo y Gabriela – Wednesday, Aug. 22 (sold out)
  • Don McLean & Pure Prairie League – Friday, Aug. 24 (sold out)
  • The California Honeydrops - Thursday, Sept. 20
  • Graham Nash - Tuesday, Sept. 25

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS – If you are not familiar with Strings, you might have a preconceived notion. Perhaps you think “that’s the place in town that puts on classical concerts,” or “that’s the hall where I can hear the rock ‘n’ roll singer at the twilight of his career.”

I advise you to be careful; Strings Music Festival may not be what you think it is.

This is my first season as a member of the Strings team. I came into my role with a perception of Strings built upon a few concerts I attended at the Pavilion. I attended a handful of non-classical concerts, including Maceo Parker and his band and Marcia Ball, whose music could be considered a combination of Louisiana Blues and Boogie Woogie, among others.

At first, I envisioned the job to entail listening to music similar to my experience as a member of the audience. One of the reasons I wanted to work here was to hear great music. Little did I know, the venue offers a cross-section of varying genres at a caliber comparable to a large city performance venue. I have been amazed by the quality of the musicians and their choice to perform in our community.

This summer, Strings has brought music spanning from classical to rock to blues to kids programs. Admittedly, the range of performances has shattered my preconceived notions of Strings in a very positive way. In our small mountain town, I have heard great musicians including David Crosby, Michael Sachs, Brent Rowan, Alpin Hong, John Michael Montgomery, Kenny Broberg and many others.

A few of these names were initially unfamiliar at first and may be foreign to you, too. Even so, listening to Alpin Hong play “Clair de Lune” brought me to a different place and helped me to realize that Strings Music Festival performances take many different forms.

I have also experienced the community programs that Strings hosts. As a concertgoer, I had only attached the Strings name to the Pavilion.

I now know that more than 50 percent of Strings events are free to the community. These offerings provide music to a multitude of people outside of the Pavilion.

This summer, I had the opportunity to see C Street Brass, an energetic group of young musicians, perform at our Farmers Market, the Steamboat Pro Rodeo and the American Legion in Hayden. I have also started to work at Thursday’s Music on the Green concerts.

Watching the audience sway to the music and seeing young children tumbling on the grass has brought me a clear image of what Strings is trying to do — fulfill the vision of providing access to exceptional music to everyone in Northwest Colorado.

This summer, I quickly learned Strings offers much more than I realized. When you think of the Strings Music Festival, remember this — it may not be what you think it is.

Les Wong is the office manager at Strings Music Festival.

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