On Saturday, Emmy award-winning songwriter and local favorite Jim Salestrom will perform a concert that recalls local history. The show is a benefit for Father Dyer United Methodist Church in Breckenridge.
Salestrom, who tours with Dolly Parton among other musical greats, grew up in Summit County. He has fond memories of Mark Fiester, the pastor who served Father Dyer church in the 1960s, which he now shares through music and stories. His repertoire also includes selections about church founder Father Dyer himself.
John Lewis Dyer was an itinerant minister or circuit rider. He came to Colorado at age 49 and served the community of miners in Buckskin Joe, Fairplay, Leadville, Alma and Breckenridge. From 1863 to 1877, Dyer made the trek between these camps on foot, regardless of the weather. In winter, he used snowshoes and an early version of cross-country skis, earning the nickname, "Snowshoe Itinerant."
Providing mail service, friendship and support to the miners, John Dyer also came to be called "Father" by the young men with whom he worked. In 1880, he started to build the church in Breckenridge that is still in use today. Dyer, his love of the mountains and his service to the early mining population have been memorialized in a stained glass window in the Colorado Capital Rotunda. Dyer was one of 16 pioneers to be honored this way.
In, "Look For Me in Heaven," Salestrom tells about the time Father Dyer was caught in blizzard in the mountains and nearly froze to death. In "Queen Anne's Lace," he describes the Fiesters' lifelong love of nature, flowers and each other. "Grateful" speaks to the beauty of the area, as does "Blue River Dreaming."
Jim brings these songs and his stories to Breckenridge at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in a special concert at Father Dyer United Methodist Church. Tickets are available at the door for a suggested donation of $20. Proceeds support the community dinner and food pantry at the church.