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‘Pianist, Poet, Comedian,’ at the community center

The Ross Aragon Community Center in collaboration with Elation Center for the Arts presents “Pianist, Poet, Comedian,” a joyful concert featuring the multifaceted talents of John Graves, with world-class percussionist DC Duncan and consummate song stylists Johnny K and Natalie Oman, Friday, Sept. 17, at the community center.

Festivities begin at 6 p.m. with a pre-concert social that includes free coffee and nibbles, a wine/beer cash bar and background piano music by John Graves. The concert performance takes place from 7-9.

Advance tickets for $10 are available at the community center and Higher Grounds Coffee Company, through Thursday, Sept. 16. Tickets at the door are $12. Young people, 18 and under, will be admitted free. 

Graves’ creative contribution to the Pagosa cultural arts scene has been an exceedingly important feature of our friendly mountain village, since he moved here in 1996. An assiduous performer, producer, writer, consultant and mentor, Graves has a local following of enthusiastic fans that avail themselves every opportunity to see him perform. With plenty of music, laughs, fun and surprises, “Pianist, Poet, Comedian” is a rare opportunity to get a full-spectrum appreciation of John Graves, Pagosa’s cultural icon.

In Graves’ book, “Just Say Yes,” he likens his own life to an ad lib solo, the spontaneous improvisation in jazz, his music of choice.

“In the ad lib solo of life, the soaring inspired moments may be sporadic. But the joy of discovery, the surprise of unexpected accomplishments, and the satisfaction of meaningful relationships occur with surprising frequency,” he writes.

As a performer in the music business, executive and producer in the television and film industries, and college professor of mass communication, Graves has certainly had plenty of opportunities to ad lib. Graves reference to meaningful relationships includes the three outstanding artists who will join him in “Pianist, Poet, Comedian,” of whom he said the following:

“Johnny K, now in his mid thirties, probably knows more songs from the twenties, thirties, and forties that any of my aged contemporaries. And in his case, knowing a song means that he can perform it with style and professionalism.”

“Natalie Oman, Johnny’s wife, brings beauty, charm, and a lovely voice to her distinctive vocal performances. In addition, her insights as an actress enable her to discover and deliver subtle nuances in her presentations.”

“Finding a drummer of DC Duncan’s incredible ability in a town the size of Pagosa Springs was one of the most surprising and gratifying experiences of my musical lifetime. His technical virtuosity, range of experience, and creativity make him the best drummer I have ever worked with — anywhere.”

Come to “Pianist, Poet, Comedian” when John Graves pull out all the stops, with cohorts DC Duncan, Johnny K and Natalie Oman, Friday, Sept. 17.

The Ross Aragon Community Center located at 451 Hot Springs Blvd. For further information, call 264-4152.