By Linda Parker
Special to The PREVIEW
Are you tired of shoveling snow? Then come take a trip “Over the Rainbow” and experience a magical evening while supporting one of Pagosa’s youth groups. You’ll be sure to want tickets to the Pagosa Springs Girls Choir’s upcoming fundraiser, which will be held Friday, March 1, from 5 to 9 p.m. at the Ross Aragon Community Center.
While dining on a catered dinner and bidding on stunning silent auction items, event goers will be treated to the masterful artistry of Steve Blechschmidt, a well-known guitarist in Pagosa.
At the age of 38, Blechschmidt made a promise to his daughter: “I’ll learn to play guitar if you keep up your piano lessons.”
Unknown to him at the time, an overwhelming passion to play guitar would guide him for the next 20 years.
Blechschmidt began his guitar instruction at Forte Music Academy in Denver, where he was fortunate to take lessons from Daniel Bolshoy, a world-renown classical guitarist. Next, he started writing songs and playing electric guitar in a Christian rock band that played monthly over a 12-year period for a Volunteers of America homeless mission in downtown Denver. Blechschmidt met his wife, Carol, in a praise band where they played together for seven years.
Blechschmidt became fascinated by a unique style of guitar called fingerstyle guitar. He studied under two additional teachers, seven-time ASCAP instrumental music award-winner Thomas Leshinsky and current University of Colorado professor Owen Kortz. Fingerstyle guitar, made popular by Chet Atkins, can be described as playing the piano on the guitar. The melody, bass and rhythm are delivered by one guitar, often leaving the listener asking, “Is all that sound coming from one guitar?”
While working in a high-stress corporate environment, Blechschmidt listened as the CEO would bring in chamber musicians to play. This music would bring an unexplainable peace to the workers. What a powerful impact — instrumental music brought into an environment seemed to sooth the soul.
With this idea in tow, Blechschmidt formed a duo, Two Guitars Telling A Story (TGTAS). Guy Steagall, TGTAS duo partner, a guitar professional who toured nationally for eight years, added a lead guitar part to Blechschmidt’s fingerstyle tunes. Blechschmidt played approximately 100 times a year as a solo artist and with TGTAS in the Denver country club scene, in fine restaurants and for special events held in beautiful settings such as the botanic gardens. Blechschmidt continues to play with TGTAS, mostly in the Denver area.
Now living in Pagosa for the last three years, Blechschmidt continues to seek out beautiful settings and enhance the settings with fingerstyle guitar. Currently, Blechschmidt plays at local locations and for special events such as The Little Black Dress Affair, Festival of the Trees, Over the Rainbow, art shows and similar events. He also plays in a trio called Acoustic Picnic. Acoustic Picnic plays at Pine Ridge and similar settings. You can see Blechschmidt’s schedule and sample his music at www.sebguitar.com.
In addition to a delicious catered meal and exceptional music, the event will also include a mini concert by the Girls Choir, boot-scootin’ fun with a dance featuring the San Juan Mountain Boys and a silent auction which is sure to tempt us all.
Tickets are $40 per person and are available at Made in Colorado Shoppe and Goodman’s Department Store. Table reservations of eight are also available by calling Linda Parker at 264-1434 or emailing her at email@example.com. Mark your calendar and we’ll be looking for you.