Leadville salutes Hazel Miller, kicks off 142nd programming season at historic Tabor Opera House

John LaConte
Vail Daily
Hazel Miller is presented with a birthday cake on stage at the Tabor Opera House in Leadville on June 17, 2023. Miller kicked off the historic Tabor's 142nd programming season.
John LaConte/Vail Daily

Hazel Miller and The Collective was the first band of the summer to play the historic Tabor Opera House in Leadville, but the day didn’t feel like summer, Miller said.

“So it snowed here this morning?” Miller asked the crowd.

The crowd responded with a resounding “yes,” and Miller responded with a resounding “no!”

“I’m from Louisiana, I don’t do snow,” she said. “We’re very honored to be back here, we didn’t realize we were the first band of the summer.”

The June 17 show marked the kick-off of the 142nd programming season for the historic theater.

The Tabor Opera House is now enjoying a rebirth of sorts since the city of Leadville purchased it and developed a partnership with the Tabor Opera House Preservation Foundation to operate the building and take on fundraising and rehabilitation.

The foundation has since raised $2.6 million for the rehabilitation and completed construction documents.

The Tabor Opera House Preservation Foundation has also partnered with Lyric Theater of Leadville, which will help bring acts including jazz, comedy and Broadway to the theater this summer.

Miller was a fitting first show for the kickoff of the 142nd season, as she has been a much-enjoyed and recurring guest since the Tabor Opera House Preservation Foundation began its efforts in 2016.

In that time Miller has grown comfortable with the Leadville audience, and it showed on Saturday. During one story she shared with the crowd, she described meeting John Hiatt while touring in Minneapolis with Big Head Todd and the Monsters.

“I ran into him on a street corner in Aspen,” a fan yelled from the crowd.

“Yeah I think he lives there,” Miller responded, as if chatting with an old friend. The band then played a flawless rendition of the Doobie Brothers’ “Minute by Minute.”

The Tabor Opera House staff took a moment during the middle of the show to honor Miller, congratulating her for being inducted into the Colorado Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Miller, along with frequent collaborator Big Head Todd and the Monsters, were inducted into the Colorado Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at Rock Rocks Amphitheater on June 10.

The Tabor Opera House Preservation Foundation also wished Miller a happy birthday and presented her with a birthday cake. The crowd then participated in a round of “Happy Birthday” to Miller.

Leadville Mayor Greg Labbe told Miller it has been nearly eight years since the city of Leadville purchased the Tabor Opera House, and in that time, the Tabor Opera House preservation society has worked hard to find good acts to bring to the theater.

“One of the constants of events — higher-tier events, events that we love at the Tabor Opera house in Leadville, Colorado — has been Hazel Miller,” Labbe said.

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