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A Classic Christmas features distinguished local musicians

The Ross Aragon Community Center in conjunction with Elation Center for the Arts presents A Classic Christmas, 7 p.m., Dec. 21.

Advance tickets, for $12, go on sale Dec. 3. Tickets purchased at the door are $15. Young people, 18 and under, are invited to attend the concert free of charge.

Donations of non-perishable food items for local food banks can be dropped off at the center beginning Dec. 3.

This year’s A Classic Christmas will feature Anita Briggs and Jessica Peterson — a distinguished mother-daughter, classical harp and flute duo. Also on the bill will be Debbee Tucker, John Graves, Jessica Espinosa Trujillo, Kathy Isberg, June Marquez and Joshua Pike.

John Graves is a distinguished jazz pianist who moved to Pagosa in 1996 after retiring from the University of Central Missouri as professor emeritus of mass communications. Prior to immersing himself in the world of academia, Graves did a successful 35-year stint as a TV and film executive and producer in Hollywood. A Pagosa celebrity — known for his wonderful music and for nurturing a sense of community — Graves has been creative in our arts scene as performer, producer, writer, consultant and mentor.

As a child, Graves was recognized as a prodigy by his piano teacher and parents, who gracefully allowed him to develop his innate talents in a natural way. Growing up in the city of Porterville, Calif., he began his musical career as a young boy. Throughout his childhood, he performed on a Steinway grand piano every week for the Mickey Mouse Club shows at a movie theater that had once been a magnificent turn-of-the-century vaudeville theater. Throughout his high school years, Graves gigged two or three nights every week. He continued performing through his years in college. Later, he replaced Stan Freberg in a touring comedy band, which featured Graves as a deadpan comedian. He also toured with a band called Rick Fay’s Krazy Kats. In Pagosa, Graves performs with the fabulous ensemble known as John Graves and Friends.

This year’s show is brimming with musical upliftment and good cheer. Keep your eyes on upcoming issues of The PREVIEW to find out more about the splendid musical cast that will warm the hearts and the hearths Dec. 21, at A Classic Christmas.

For further information, call the community center at 264-4152.

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