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Pete Kartsounes inspires Pagosa students

During last Thursday’s C-block, close to 100 Pagosa Springs High School students participated in a concert with singer-songwriter Pete Kartsounes, of Boulder.

Kartsounes inspired students to have a greater understanding of the power of music as a form of communication.

“People may not have heard Spanish, French, or German, but we’ve all heard music,” said Pagosa student Abbi Hicklin in response to Thursday’s concert.

Pete played his music, dissected his songs, and encouraged students to follow their passion.

Another student, Mitch Johnson, said, “I learned the importance of the song being a musical conversation where all the band members are all speaking the same language.”

From bluegrass licks to a blues tribute to Ray Charles, Kartsounes brought a fresh perspective to the arts curriculum at Pagosa Springs High School. He was joined on stage by Bob Hemenger, high school teacher and professional saxophone player, and students were absolutely blown away by what they saw and heard. Students were encouraged to explore their own talents and think about music and the arts in a way that enriches their lives.

The Pete Kartsounes’ concert was the first in a series sponsored by FAMA (Fine Arts Magnet Academy) and the Americana Project. FAMA received a two-year StART grant from the Colorado Council on the Arts to support this new project. The Americana Project is a class now offered at the high school focusing on guitar-based song writing, recording and performance, while incorporating the historical significance of American music.

The next musician in the series is Joe Craven of Dixon, Calif., performing at Pagosa Springs High School on Wednesday, April 21. He will be working with elementary and high school students on unlocking creativity and will lead the FAMA students in a master class during the day.

Then, at 7 p.m., there will be a community concert with Joe and student artists creating an arts explosion not to be missed. Craven is not just an entertaining musician with a penchant for the mischievous, he is a teacher and student all at once and he will draw you into his performance by including you as though you’re part of the show itself. As an advocate of the folk arts, Joe’s educational mission is to empower individuals to take possession of what they already have and tell their stories by “demystifying” art through self-expression as a daily ritual.

Mark April 21 on your calendar — you don’t want to miss this exciting event!