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Music in the Mountains to host gala concert

Famed Russian violinist Dmitri Berlinsky will perform with his wife, pianist Elena Baksh, at a gala Music in the Mountains evening on Saturday, July 10 to raise money for music scholarships for local Pagosa Springs youngsters and for local concerts.

In addition to featuring these two world-renowned classical performers, the fund-raising gala will feature elegant food catered by the Alley House. This special event takes place in the atrium at the EcoLuxe Building at the Springs Resort and Spa in downtown Pagosa Springs beginning at 6:30 p.m.

The gala marks the opening of the 2010 Music in the Mountains season in our community. Tickets for this special event are $75 a person, with $50 of that amount being a tax-deductible charitable contribution.

Internationally famous performer

Berlinsky arrived on the international scene as the youngest winner in the history of the Paganini International Violin Competition in Genoa, Italy. Subsequent triumphs in competitions worldwide led to his appearances with major orchestras in Europe, Russia, the Far East, North and South America.

Here in the U.S. he has performed in more than 40 states at such major venues as Avery Fisher Hall and Carnegie Hall in New York as well as Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. The Washington Post raved: “It’s not the fact of his natural violin talent, or his impeccable schooling, nor his astonishing technique, but above all and most important, the expressive depth and authority of a complete musician.”

“This promises to be another exceptional season opener for Music in the Mountains in Pagosa,” said Janis Moomaw, chair of the volunteer steering committee which plans and organizes the festival’s concerts in our community.

Alley House catering

Food for the gala will be prepared by the Alley House restaurant. A cash bar will be operated by the Springs Resort and Spa staff.

Tickets for the gala are on sale now at the Pagosa Springs Chamber of Commerce and on line at the festival’s website at They make a wonderful gift for graduations, birthdays and other special occasions.

“Every dollar raised at this special event will benefit our community, helping to fund classical concerts, special musical events and music scholarships in Pagosa Springs,” Moomaw said. More than 40 scholarships to the Music in the Mountains Conservatory and other music education programs have been awarded to Pagosa students since 2004. As well, the local festival currently is funding two college scholarships for Pagosa high school graduates going to university to study music.

The funds also will help host the Music in the Mountains annual free summer community concert in Town Park, which this year will be a bring-your-own picnic lunchtime Performance in the Park featuring brass instruments on Wednesday, July 28.

Citizens Bank is sponsor

Citizens Bank has made a generous contribution to the gala, as they have done to Music in the Mountains benefits in past years.

“We are very grateful to Citizens Bank for their generous support of this event, which provides an ideal opening for our annual Music in the Mountains summer festival in Pagosa Springs,” Moomaw said.

“We depend on this gala to raise needed funds for our youth activities and concerts in Pagosa, as ticket sales cover only about a third of our costs. That’s why we are so pleased to have such a spectacular new venue at The Springs and Spa, and such an exciting program for our gala this year.

“We hope this event will entice past supporters to join us and also bring new people into our Music in the Mountains family,” Moomaw said.

Local volunteers

Music in the Mountains is a nonprofit organization headquartered in Durango. A local volunteer steering committee that includes Moomaw (chair), Mary Jo Coulehan, Mary Hart Ryals, Carole Howard, Teresa Huft, Kate Kelley, Ed Lowrance, Valley Lowrance and Sally Neel works year-round to organize concerts, youth scholarships and other Music in the Mountains events in Pagosa Springs, including special free performances at our schools.

“Our steering committee members devote their time and energy to bring Pagosa Springs these extraordinary artists and musical performances,” said Moomaw. “It is our hope that citizens and visitors will continue to enthusiastically support Music in the Mountains with their presence and contributions.”

To be put on the mailing list for Pagosa Music in the Mountains news, contact Moomaw at 264-3010 or