Valerie Powell: Strings gets back in action |

Valerie Powell: Strings gets back in action

Valerie Powell / For the Steamboat Today
MASS Ensemble opened the festival ground in 2004 and will be performing three times during the weekend.
Mass Ensemble

Check out the world’s largest stringed instrument, dancing, juggling and the baroque violin during Strings Music Festival’s first full week. As part of the celebratory season, look for some favorite repeats from the past 25 years.

The community begged us to bring back MASS (Music, Architecture, Sight and Sound) Ensemble, who opened the festival grounds in 2004, and you will have three opportunities to see them in action Saturday and Sunday. Their earth harp is a giant stringed instrument that uses surrounding architecture as its sounding board. The strings start on stage and stretch over the audience to the back of the Pavilion. The full evening concert is Saturday night, where the audience becomes part of the instrument. Not only will you hear the music through your ears, but you will feel it vibrate inside your body, as well.

On Sunday morning, MASS Ensemble teams up with Steamboat’s local yoga instructors to present an all levels yoga class under the earth harp. From 12:30 to 4 p.m. the Strings Music Pavilion and Festival Park will be open to the public for an afternoon of free music and dance. Experiment with rhythms on the Drum Orb or make your own melody on giant keyboards that you can play with your feet. Visit the earth harp and watch the African Dance and Drum Ensemble and the Jasmir Belly Dance Ensemble. Don’t forget to stop by the concession stands for refreshments provided by our local schools.

Now that the kids are out of school, fill every Tuesday morning by taking them to a Youth Concert. In many places, the Fourth of July is accompanied with circuses and carnivals. To start off the holiday week, the Gizmo Guys will turn music into a juggling, comedy and acrobatics routine. They will perform a Youth Concert at 11 a.m. and a Family Concert at 5:30 p.m. Prices are $1 for children and $10 for adults.

The chamber music series begins with a Wednesday night concert that focuses on improvisation. In music, improvisation is the art of creating a tune on the spot rather than following a set musical score. Most people associate improv with modern jazz, but the idea actually dates back to the Baroque period of classical music. At the Baroque, Tangos and Jazz concert, you’ll hear how improvisational techniques began in the 1600s and evolved to how we know them today.

Valerie Powell is the Development/Administrative Assistant at Strings Music Festival. She can be reached at or 970-879-5056, ext. 111.

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