Strings Music Festival: Welcome to the new season |

Strings Music Festival: Welcome to the new season

Hi, Steamboat! Welcome to the dreaded Introduction to the Season Column. It has arrived. Long on marketing details, short on personality and interest, right?

I’ll see if I can do better than that.

This is my third season as stage manager at Strings Music Festival and my second writing this summer column. Like many other Steamboaters, I hold down several jobs to achieve the genuine privilege of living in this beautiful valley, so I’m writing this from a very dreary, rainy East Coast, where I’m traveling for (non-Strings) work. And all I can think about is the newly arrived, glorious summer weather that I’m missing in Steamboat. I found the long grey of May to be a real anticipation squelcher, so I’m a little startled to discover that, not only is it June already, it’s also almost time for Strings’ season to start! How did that happen?

2015 is a Big Year for Strings — we say hello to new music director Michael Sachs at the beginning of the season and goodbye to retiring founder and Executive Director/CEO Kay Clagett at the end; we welcome notable classical artists like Loras Schissel, The 5 Browns and L.A. Philharmonic Concertmaster Martin Chalifour for their Strings debuts. We also embrace some bona fide superstars with Vince Gill and Chris Botti.

Last year, I wrote a column about all the busy Strings bees behind the scenes in the pre-season — how the dedicated, full-time staff was booking shows, writing the program book, creating outreach programs, attending to winter concerts, organizing educational programs and doing the myriad things that must be done in order to run an arts organization the size and quality of Strings. They have done all of that again for 2015 and all for our benefit.

But I am not even remotely prepared for the intensity and busyness that will descend backstage at the Pavilion on June 20 with The California Honeydrops, followed closely by a youth concert with Essence on June 23. On June 25, the first Music on the Green performance at Yampa River Botanic Park will welcome the Catalyst Quartet, and the arrival of the Strings Festival Orchestra for introductions to the valley, rehearsals and first performance on June 27 and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy on June 28 will round out the month.

I haven’t stocked up my gaff tape store — two-inch wide, black only, please. I’m not sure where the backstage ladder/stepstool ended up after Strings School Days. Our starting cases of bottled water (four) haven’t arrived yet. Toilet paper rolls that actually fit into the backstage loo holders are AWOL. And my First Aid kit still needs a few vital things — most importantly Band-Aids, a full oxygen tank and super glue. (What? Plucking/strumming instrumentalists find Steamboat’s dry air to be torture on their fingers. Closing up a dry skin crack with super glue can make the difference between a fabulous guitar solo and a musical train wreck).

Much is left to be done, but with some focused work when I return from my trip next week, I know I’ll be ready for The California Honeydrops to kick off the Strings Music Festival season on June 20. Are you?

Ali Mignone is stage manager of Strings Music Festival.

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