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Michael Joseph Thomas to perform at Art in the Garden 2010

Michael Joseph Thomas will return for the third time to perform at the annual Art in the Garden Festival to be held this year on Saturday, Aug. 21, from 3 to 7 p.m., at the home of Maryse and Werner Buck. The Buck property is located in Continental Estates, about 2.5 miles south of Pagosa Springs, off of U.S. 84.

Michael grew up in Westchester in Los Angeles as a member of a musical family. His parents played the piano, his older brother played the drums, and he became interested in piano and guitar. Michael remembers especially being inspired by the grand instrumental sound tracks from movies that were popular while he was growing up. He saved paper route money to purchase tickets to the Hollywood Bowl to hear performances by Ferrante and Teicher and composers of movie scores.

Michael’s natural talent has enabled him to become expert on guitar and electronic keyboard, and a gifted composer. He is self-taught. He also learned by observing other musicians including his brother’s band, Rick and Ravens, featuring Ray Manzarek. Vinnie Thomas, his brother, has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Michael appreciates the natural path his music has followed. He allows his emotion to touch the technology of the keyboard, preventing his music from becoming mechanical.

Michael has moved between Southern California, New Mexico and Colorado while pursuing his music. He has also worked as a sound engineer and mixer, and a light and laser engineer. In this capacity, he worked with many Hollywood movie and music personalities. In the mid-’80s, while in Southern California, he and a partner received a contract to produce music and developed their own recording studio. Michael has also taken psychology classes and has worked as a marriage counselor. He is interested in the intellectual process that can help him acquire a deeper understanding of his music.

Michael came to Pagosa Springs in 1991. He occasionally plays local venues, rarely in Pagosa Springs, so it is fortunate to have him at Art in the Garden where he likes the benefit nature of the event. He recently returned from Crawford, Colo., where Joe Cocker held a benefit concert to support his charity, Cocker Kids. Michael performed at the banquet following the event.

Michael performs his own compositions. His pieces have a grand scale reminiscent of a classical symphony, but with a modern sound. Some of his pieces incorporate vocals with poetic and powerful lyrics. He has completed a special instrumental piece for Art in the Garden 2010, which will fill his entire 30-minute set.

Michael wants to express appreciation to those who have supported him: his wife Joy, his son, Jeshua Thomas, and his family, Jeff and Kitty Lee, Don and Susie Long, Mark Sudden at Howling Wolf Music, sound engineer J. P. Rappenecker, and to Mairead Nesbitt, violinist and fiddler for Celtic Women.

The public is invited to Art in the Garden to hear Michael, as well as other performers, to taste gourmet French food, and to meet artists creating beautiful works of fine art. Tickets are on sale at Pagosa Springs Area Chamber of Commerce, Nello’s, and Community United Methodist Church. The cost for this nondenominational charity event is $45 for an individual, or $40 apiece for groups of two or more. All net proceeds, including 30 percent of fine art and CD sales, are donated to help those in need in Archuleta County. Enjoy a wonderful afternoon that supports the needy in our community and gives us the opportunity to appreciate the talents of our local and regional artists, musicians and chefs.

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