Thanksgiving weekend concert features New Mexico string band, Hands Five

Elation Center for the Arts presents Hands Five, an award-winning string band from New Mexico, in a special Thanksgiving weekend concert at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 29, at the Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse.

Through their concerts and dance performances, Hands Five furthers the cultural tradition of American old-time music. From the lilt of sweet-sounding traditional fiddling to the graceful syncopation of the hammered dulcimer, Hands Five performs a spirited repertoire of old-time American mountain music, Celtic and French-Canadian dance tunes, new-time music (new tunes & songs in an old-time style), and Hispano-American tunes to enthusiastic audiences throughout the Southwest.

The members of Hands Five are taking an active role in promoting the continuance of the cultural tradition of folk music and dance by pumping new life into American old-time music. They are folks with non-musical day jobs who play music just for the sheer joy it.

The shimmering sounds of the hammer dulcimer ring forth from the hands of Peter Esherick. Esherick is a physicist who also plays mandolin, guitar and banjo. He is one of the principle organizers of the annual Albuquerque Folk Festival.

John Brinduse is a nurse at the University of New Mexico Hospital where he participates in a special arts-in-medicine program. Brinduse teaches guitar and plays in several bands. He is the stage manager for the Albuquerque Folk Festival and has served on the board of the New Mexico Folk Music and Dance Society.

Gary Blank is a popular elementary school teacher who is known for his gift in working with children. Blank is a master of just about any percussive instrument you can think of and some you may have not yet discovered. He is also an artist.

Fiddling Bruce Thomson is professor of Civil Engineering and Director of the Water Resources Program at the University of New Mexico. Thomson serves as the musical archivist for the New Mexico Folk Music and Dance Society. He writes for several folk music periodicals. Thomson is also into restoring old airplanes and flying them.

Bassist Erika Gerety is the graduate advisor for the University of New Mexico Anthropology Department. She has worked with the Albuquerque Folk Festival as president and director.

Music and merriment have been essential ingredients at harvest festivals since ancient times. The early English settlers who brought their tradition of harvest thanksgiving to North America also brought their music. Rich in cultural continuity, American old-time music has its roots in the traditional music of the British Isles. It developed along with various North American folk dances, such as square dance, buck dance and clogging.

Join us Saturday, Nov. 29, for an uplifting Thanksgiving celebration concert of old-time American string band music with Hands Five at the Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse.

Advance tickets are $12, available online at and at Higher Grounds Coffee Company. Tickets at the door are $15. Young people — 18 and under — accompanied by parents, will be admitted free of charge.

You’re welcome to help us continue our tradition of the wonderful concert intermission social, by bringing a dessert to share if you wish. Volunteers are always appreciated.

Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse is located at 230 Port Ave. in the Vista subdivision of Pagosa Lakes. Take U.S. 160 to Vista Boulevard; turn north on Vista, then left on Port. The clubhouse is at the end of Port in the PLPOA complex.

Elation Center for the Arts is a nonprofit organization that provides cultural arts programs to the community of Pagosa Springs.

For more information, call 731-3117.