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Live orchestra a hallmark of Curtains Up Pagosa! productions

There is no question about it, Pagosa Springs residents are spoiled. Most who regularly attend productions by Curtains Up Pagosa! (formerly Music Boosters) expect the highest quality entertainment, complete with a live orchestra, for a very reasonable price, and the organization never fails to deliver. Residents of Pagosa Springs often do not realize that our town is the exception rather than the rule.

“I often remind our actors how incredibly fortunate we are to have the level of talent and abilities that we enjoy,” said artistic director Dale Johnson. “There are many towns two or three times our size that do not have live musicians to accompany them, much less a full orchestra pit of accomplished local musicians who are willing to donate their time and talent at no charge to their organization. What we have here in Pagosa is truly extraordinary. Obviously, if we had to pay an orchestra union wages, we could never even consider this level of production. The generosity of these musicians is absolutely amazing. Like our actors, they do it because they love it and because they believe in the work Curtains Up Pagosa! is doing on behalf of arts in the schools.”

Currently, a full pit orchestra, directed by Sally Neel, is rehearsing for the Dec. 12-15 production of “Man of La Mancha,” music with a distinct Spanish flair. The orchestra has been rehearsing for the past month preparing to accompany this dramatic, sometimes funny, ultimately poignant musical drama.

“This music is certainly a change of pace from our last production of ‘Cinderella,’ said Neel. “It obviously requires an entirely different interpretation, along with a strong ability to master Spanish meter. But we have an incredibly talented group of musicians who are up to the task and are doing very well.”

Curtains Up Pagosa! is a publicly supported non-profit organization whose mission is to support youth through the performing arts and adult volunteer mentorship. The organization, established in 1989, offers financial assistance and scholarships to benefit students in public school arts programs through its fund raising events and musical theater productions.

While monetary donations are always needed, appreciated, and accepted, there are also many ways to volunteer your time to help this organization.

“We are always looking for people who enjoy working with costuming, set building, lighting, sound, makeup, concessions, or performing,” said Johnson. Volunteers are always welcome. “We consider ourselves one big family. We all work closely together and have a great time doing it.”

“Man of La Mancha” will play Dec. 12-15 at the high school auditorium with tickets going on sale Dec. 1. For more information about tickets, the production or how to donate money or time, go to

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