Elation Center for the Arts presents a concert entitled “An Evening with Dan Levenson,” 7 p.m. Saturday, May 9, at the Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse.
Levenson is an accomplished and dynamic fiddler, five-string banjo and guitar player. He performs dance tunes from the Southern Appalachian Mountains, sings songs and tells stories about the special place this traditional American music has in the fabric of our cultural history.
One of the highlights of “An Evening with Dan Levenson” is his ability to fiddle and clog dance at the same time, a real treat to see!
A modern day troubadour, Levenson performs concerts and teaches banjo and fiddle workshops throughout the world. He is dedicated to the preservation and dissemination of traditional American folk music, particularly the musical forms emanating from the Southern Appalachians where the marriage of the fiddle with the banjo long ago created a musical dynamic that remains a strong force in American folk music to this day.
Levenson’s parents first met at a square dance, and they raised him with the traditional old-time music he has come to perform. His father was a caller for square dances. His mother played piano and guitar and sang in several music groups.
I asked Levenson what it was like to grow up in a family surrounded by this kind of music. “It was pretty cool, only I didn’t realize it at the time,” he said. “To me it was just normal life. We had a piano in the house; I got to go to square dances that my dad called; we had people over for music parties; and we would go to other people’s music parties. I can remember these music parties from at least the age of five and they went on for years into the time I began performing old-time music myself.”
Since the ECA mission is the preservation of traditional music and dance, it is with great enthusiasm that we present a concert by an artist who successfully devotes his life to these endeavors. Levenson spends half the year performing concerts and conducting music workshops. The other half he spends authoring instructional material — for banjo and fiddle — for major music publishers such as Mel Bay. Levenson’s home base is in southern Ohio where he and his wife are lovingly restoring a farmhouse built in the late 1800s and nestled in the Appalachian hills.
The interest in American folk roots music is on the rise thanks to the talents and dedication of such performer/teachers as Levenson. The great power of Appalachian dance music derives from the uniquely melodic and rhythmic possibilities of these two instruments. Come immerse yourself in this richly American art form at this wonderful concert, “An Evening with Dan Levenson.”
Advance tickets for $12 are available online at elationarts.org and at the Higher Grounds Coffee Company. Tickets at the door are $15. Young people 18 and under will be admitted free of charge.
Please help us continue the tradition of sharing a dessert at the concert intermission social.
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.