The holidays are in full swing at Warren Station Center for the Arts in Keystone this weekend with the culmination of the third annual Festival of Trees and a holiday program featuring selections from 'The Nutcracker.'
Now in its third year, the Festival of Trees kicked off Wednesday, as local businesses joined to decorate the trees, which can be viewed at Warren Station until Sunday evening."We have stocked up on window cleaner as we believe we will see plenty of oohh's, aahh's and fingerprints on the windows at Warren Station," said Carrie Benefiel, who came on board as the venue manager in November. "At 7 feet tall, each tree will have mountains of unique trim to marvel at."Keystone Neighbourhood Company donated the trees and the use of the venue, while the event's beneficiaries managed the decorating. Proceeds benefit Summit Community Orchestra, Summit School of Dance and the Summit Middle School music department."Last year we doubled the amount of trees auctioned off during the event and were so excited with the funds raised," said Maja Russer, spokesperson for Keystone Neighbourhood Company. "The trees are truly gorgeous and ornate. People take the decorating very seriously and the trees make a perfect addition to someone's living room who may not have time to decorate their own." Among the decorators, Arapahoe Basin Ski Resort upped the ante at last year's festival by hanging two complimentary lift tickets on their tree, and Summit Cove Property Management gave away a two-night stay with theirs."Of course, there are some local rivalries - which group can put the most unique touch on a traditional evergreen, and then who will bring in the most dollars to support the arts," Benefiel said. Twenty trees are up for auction this year, including a Nutcracker tree from Summit School of Dance. Viewing and bidding takes place at Warren Station and the auction closes after the intermission of "The Nutcracker Suite" and Holiday Concert on Sunday. The winning bids will be announced at the end of the program.
Sunday's concert features selections from "Land of the Sweets," Act II of "The Nutcracker," played by Summit Community Orchestra and danced by members of Summit School of Dance. This will be the groups' eighth joint performance of the Tchaikovsky selections, according to Erika Krainz of the Summit Community Orchestra. Dances include celebrations of sweets from around the world, among them the popular "Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy" and "Waltz of the Flowers."Sunday will be a special last performance for dancers Abby Clark, Maddie Voutour and Kristin Anderson, who have been dancing "The Nutcracker" since they were young. Each senior will perform a solo followed by one trio together, with younger members of the CO.motion Dancers joining for other numbers. In the latter half of the program, Summit Community Orchestra performs "Fantasy on Greensleeves," conducted by concertmaster Angela Janzen, and "Hallelujah Chorus" from Hendel's "Messiah," conducted by Dr. Kenneth Evans. The orchestra will then team up with students from Scale the Summit Music Camp for "Pirates of the Caribbean." All groups join Summit Middle School's band and strings for a "Winter Wonderland" medley, conducted by Mark Koob. Participation by the middle school is new this year. Summit Community Orchestra offers Scale the Summit Music Camp, now in its fourth year, each summer. "The goal of the camp is to provide student musicians the opportunity to participate in an intensive orchestral experience, and it prepares them to work with the adult orchestra for special performances like this one," said Krainz, who co-founded the camp with Janet Bierbaum and Charles Wetherbee. For Sunday's concert, approximately 20 students will join 30 members of the orchestra, the total ages ranging from 9 to 80 years old, according to Bierbaum. In addition, the Art Gallery at Keystone Lake will have work for sale in the lobby."The Festival of Trees is a 'branch' in enhancing the arts in our community," Benefiel said. "And, what are the holidays without 'The Nutcracker?' There is no doubt that visitors will enjoy the experience."