Comedy and gypsy bluegrass come together for learning center |

Comedy and gypsy bluegrass come together for learning center

KIMBERLY NICOLETTIsummit daily news

Comedy, food and music are ensuring Timberline Learning Center maintains its quality education.The nonprofit early learning center hosts Wit, Wine & Dine Saturday as a fundraiser to help pay teachers competitively, provide low student-to-teacher ratios and offer students a stimulating learning atmosphere. The event features gourmet appetizers and dinner from Harvest Catering, a gypsy bluegrass band called the Gristle Gals, and the comedy of Comedy Work’s Chris Voth. A silent auction and door prizes make the evening even more exciting.Voth is the perfect comedian for the fundraiser, because not only is he a smart comic, but also, he’s a teacher himself. He planned on just teaching for a year to save up a little money, but his inner city job with high-risk kids hooked him.”The kids are fantastic; it’s a great balance of life,” Voth said. Oddly enough, few people at the school know he’s a comedian, and few peers at Denver’s Comedy Works know he teaches -it’s a bit of a double life, one that adds some material for his stage act.His first gig as a comedian took place 15 years ago; he started writing jokes in first grade, but it wasn’t until young adulthood, when he worked at Disneyland as a Jungle Cruise guide, that he began learning how to tell jokes. He describes his comedic style as “smart little jokes.” He loves language (and earned a degree in English), so he incorporates word plays into his act.But the way he writes his jokes are a little unusual: He usually thinks of a punch line that’s funny, then creates a story around it. As a result, his gig tends to unfold as if the jokes were bread crumbs leading into a larger narrative.He loves performing in Breckenridge, where he said the audience “seems rather intellectual, which is a nice thing I don’t always get.”

As if great food and laughter weren’t enough, Saturday, the Gristle Gals stir things up a bit with their gypsy and Roman tunes, mixed in with a little traditional bluegrass and some pop covers.Two musicians from the trio met in an Irish band, leading them to play gypsy music, with which they immediately fell in love.”It’s really fun to play, and there’s so much history there,” said Mandi Malone, the accordion player. “Some of these songs have been played for hundreds of years.”Studying the music has prompted them to write an entire album, “On the Lam,” as a musical, which they’ll premiere in December with a dance company.”It’s about two con artists who end up conning each other and being in love anyway -kind of a different kind of love,” Malone said. “(The) strong characters are our muses.”And as far as live entertainment goes, the Gristle Gals pump out a high-energy show.”We try to have it be a really big show all the way around. We like to interact with the crowd and have a really good time,” she said. “We’ve been called three classy broads; we’re not a typical girl group. We can be fast and hard and have an edge and still be all women.”

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