On Thursday, Dec. 2, students of the high school’s Americana Project class will be hosting the concert “A Night of Live Music”. The show starts at 7 p.m. at the high school auditorium with tickets available at the door for only $5. The doors open at 6:30. We hope to sell out so please get there early.
As part of their work for the class, the students have been responsible for working on all aspects of the show including; selecting and hiring the headliner, sound, advertising, promoting, artist food and lodging, pricing, contracts, sponsorships and more. Many of these fine young musicians will be opening acts at the show. The headliner is the very talented Pete Kartsounes Trio.
The Americana Project class is modeled after a very successful class held at Sisters High School in Sisters, Oregon. This class has a 10-year history and is the creation of Brad Tisdel (Creative Educational Resources LLC). Money from a Council of the Arts grant was used to bring Brad out to Pagosa Springs to mentor and consult. We are currently working on bringing Brad and some of his Americana Project students out to Pagosa Springs for a special concert this spring.
The Americana Project is a class that promotes and fosters creativity through music. Students are required to learn how to; play, write, perform, record and promote music. They have also been studying the social and cultural significance of American Roots music. We are very fortunate in this community to have an administration (David Hamilton and Sean O’Donnell), superintendent Mark DeVoti and a school board who understand the importance of the arts in the schools. This class would not have happened if it wasn’t for their support and willingness to try something new.
There are many others who have helped make this class happen. The Charles J. Hughes Foundation graciously granted us enough money to purchase two new computers loaded with the latest industry standard recording software and music writing programs. Through Samson Technology and Sweetwater we have been able to buy recording gear at a significant discount. Will Spears and our local radio station KWUF have helped fund our concert and guest artist series. Beka Wilkins-Pepiton helped design the events poster and was instrumental in getting the class to happen. The Pagosa Youth Center has been donating their space to hold an open mic on Friday’s after school. We are working on having a showcase concert there in the next couple of months.
The guest artist series is made up of our local talent and some traveling musicians. Guests have included; Pete Kartsounes, Mark DeVoti, Brooks Lindner, Sean Downing, Jack Ellis, Bluegrass Cadillac, Johnny K and Val Fulco. These artists have been working closely with the students on topics that include; the art and science of songwriting, the history of music, recording, performing, the business end of music, guitar methods, and sharing their original music. We are very thankful for their contributions to the class and hope to bring in more members of the community in the future.
If you are interested in helping sponsor this program, contact Bob Hemenger at 264-2231, Ext. 279. Donations will be gladly accepted and sponsorship forms will be available at the concert. Please come out on Dec. 2 to see what the youth of this community can do.