Holiday concert returns to Silverthorne | SummitDaily.com

Holiday concert returns to Silverthorne

A celebration of the new year with a live performance of classical music has become an annual tradition for Summit Music and Arts. In partnership with the Dercum Center for Arts and Humanities, "A New Year Celebration Concert" returns to Silverthorne on Saturday, Jan. 2 at 7 p.m. The evening will spotlight Dercum Center's artistic director and violinist Chas Wetherbee and Summit Music and Arts artistic director/artist in residence and pianist Len Rhodes, along with Janet Harriman on harp and Paul Nagem on the flute. The performance brings together talented Summit County musicians, and Nagem, who is based in Colorado Springs.

"It's just great to have that collaboration within the community," said Rhodes. "… We all perform everywhere but happen to live here, and so it's an opportunity for us to share what we have with the community rather than just always being on the road."

The program of "light classical" and other popular music will include pieces by Debussy, Schubert, Vivaldi, Faure, and Handel with special favorites "Ave Maria" and "Greensleeves."

The town of Silverthorne is hosting the event at its Pavilion, and the evening has historically drawn a sold-out crowd. Wetherbee said the enthusiasm for the event has helped keep it going as an annual tradition.

"They do a great job decorating the Pavilion, you can have a glass of champagne, and just enjoy the music — and you don't have to cook or clean up," he said.

This is the fifth year for the Summit Music and Arts holiday concert — its third partnering with the Dercum Center. The center was formed to honor Max and Edna Dercum, legends in Summit County's ski industry history, but also as a way to bring talented artists to the area, Wetherbee said. This pairs well with Summit Music and Arts' mission to bring in the best Colorado-based performers.

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"That is a big part of what we do, is to provide a platform here for Colorado-based artists," Rhodes said. "A lot of the other organizations, they bring in people from all over the country and that's brilliant, but there is so much talent in Colorado, in the performing arts, so part of our mission is to create that platform."

The local performers are all highly involved when it comes to music in Summit County. Harriman is on the board of the Summit Community Orchestra and is involved with the youth. Rhodes teaches composition at the middle and high schools.

"And Chas has been here forever," Rhodes said. "So it's not like we are just stepping into Summit County and playing and leaving, this is an opportunity for people who know us to see us on the same stage."

APPRECIATING THE ARTS

Summit Music and Arts formed in 2010, and has grown from presenting around four or five concerts a year to about eight or nine. The small nonprofit continues to work on its mission of bringing great musicians to perform in Summit County, but Rhodes said they are also really focusing on music education in schools. The Summit Foundation awarded the organization a grant to help with this. Rhodes goes into the middle school several times a month to work with students in grades six through eight on composition. In the high school, he works with a smaller number of students in advanced placement courses, where composition is taken more seriously, he said. Rhodes helps the students with music theory and history, and creative composition work.

This year, Summit Music and Arts introduced its first composition competition for young musicians under the age of 18, and then extended it to neighboring counties.

"It was really successful, we had all these young geniuses turning in their stuff and it was brilliant, so we are looking to do that every year," Rhodes said. "… It's part of what we do on the educational side of things."

He hopes as the program continues to grow, it will receive enough support that the organization would potentially be able to give out a scholarship to help aspiring musicians in college. The nonprofit received around 25 entries in 2015, and Rhodes hopes to see that grow when submissions are due on March 1, 2016.

TRY SOMETHING NEW

Although some might feel dismissive when they hear the words "classical music," Rhodes said it is just having the understanding that it is going to be a different sort of evening than, say, a U2 concert at the Pepsi Center. The musicians perform the challenging songs well, creating a relaxing and enlightening evening.

"The bottom line is there is an attitude that, where people say, well I don't like classical music," he said. "Well, what does that mean? First of all, the classical period is one very small part of music as it's progressed over the last 1,500 years, and to say I don't like anything, anywhere in the world in the last 1,500 years is kind of a blanket statement. But at the same time, when people see a concert advertised and its by a composer maybe most of them have never heard of, then there's not that same sort of appeal. It's a lack of maybe, I hate to say it, but it's a lack of education. We don't do music appreciation in schools over here. When all these great, great people who wrote a piece of music 250 years ago — and it's still a challenge to learn, its still a challenge to perform, and at the end of it, it's still very much appreciated — there's a life to that piece."

IF YOU GO

What: A New Year Celebration Concert

When: Saturday, Jan. 2

Where: Silverthorne Pavilion

Cost: Tickets are $30 in advance; $35 at the door. For advance tickets or more information, go to summitmusicandarts.org or call 970-389-5788.