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Curtains Up Pagosa! presents Night Song in concert

Curtains Up Pagosa! (formerly Music Boosters) has a special treat in store for music lovers of all ages.

Three classically-trained musicians — pianist Sally Neel, flutist Jessica Peterson and violinist Heidi Tanner — all residents of Pagosa Springs, have joined forces to form a new trio called “Night Song.”

They will present a benefit concert on Saturday evening, 7 p.m., Nov. 3, at St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church (225 S. Pagosa Blvd.) to help Curtains Up Pagosa! secure scholarship funding for current and future students majoring in the arts. The suggested donation price is $15 at the door.

The trio originally came together about a year ago to provide music for St. Patrick’s Christmas Eve service.

“We had so much fun playing together, we decided we should do it again as soon as possible,” said Sally Neel, organist/director of music at St. Patrick’s and musical director for Curtains Up Pagosa! “I suggested we work up some music to play at St. Patrick’s during Holy Week and Easter. After going online and searching our own libraries we discovered some beautiful baroque and classical pieces, mostly written for two violins or two flutes. These were easily adapted to our needs and have become a part of our repertoire.”

Each of the musicians has frequently performed as a soloist or accompanist, but the combination of these talents is something extraordinary.

“It is so exciting to find two musicians who enjoy playing in ensemble as much as I do and whose tastes and passion for music are so like my own,” said Neel.

Indeed, practicing together makes for hours of enjoyment for the three friends. “We get together in the early evening and before we know it, hours have passed filled with beautiful music, an abundance of laughter, and a deepening bond between us. We finally decided that we needed to name our group and make this trio an official part of the Pagosa arts scene.”

The name “Night Song” came partly from the fact that most of their rehearsals take place in the evenings, and partly in tribute to the fact that flutist Jessica Peterson owns Nighteagle Flute Co. and handcrafts Native American flutes, a craft she learned from the original owner, David Nighteagle.

“It is admittedly a romantic name, inspired by the glorious bejeweled night sky here in Pagosa and the incredible gift of beauty we share here in the San Juans. We hope our music reflects that,” said Neel.

The concert will include both classical and contemporary music along with a few surprises. Each musician will show off her skills as soloist as well as in ensemble in a program sure to please young and old alike.

“We want to expose our audience to a wide range of repertoire and instrumental flexibilities,” said Neel, “and we all agree that St. Patrick’s provides the most acoustically and aesthetically appropriate venue for a concert such as this one.

“Since the disappearance of Music in the Mountains here in Pagosa Springs, there has been a great void of classical music here in town. It is our hope to do what we can on a local level to help fill that void,” said Neel.

Curtains Up Pagosa! founded in 1989, is a publically supported non-profit organization whose mission is to strengthen youth through the performing arts and adult mentorship. The organization helps to fund arts in the schools and provides four-year scholarships to selected students who are majoring in the arts. Proceeds from this performance will help provide scholarship funding for current and future students.

For more information about Curtains Up Pagosa! go to www.pagosamusicboosters.org.

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