'Velvet Strings,' Solas and Primary party

by Ted Holteen

This is the last week, I promise, that I will try to force feed you people a diet of classical music. I hope that you have taken the time and money to catch at least one performance of Music in the Mountains in the past two weeks, but if not, get on it 'cause it's over after this weekend. The orchestra members go back to pumping gas or slicing pastrami or whatever it is that classical musicians do when they're not performing. But they will not go quietly. (They're musicians, after all.) If cacophony is not your thing, then tonight (Thursday) is for you. It's the last chamber performance, with only a couple of musicians on stage, the "Keep it Simple, Stupid" method of classical music. The final two nights are in stark contrast to one another, but each will feature a full compliment of orchestral members. Saturday's program is entitled "Velvet Strings," with works by Schumann and Mendelssohn, a bit sleepy for my tastes, but some people will like it. I will attend Sunday's finale, featuring angry Russian piano work by Prokofiev and Tchaikovsky, with plenty of noise and cymbals and the aforementioned cacophony. Then Maestro Semanitzky will take his much-deserved final bow, and the classicists will retreat back to their Ethan Allen accessorized lairs, only to appear briefly in November to cast their votes, before hibernating until next spring's Music in the Mountains pre-festival fund-raisers. Go with God.

The Abbey Theatre continues to bring a mix of film and local and national music acts, with two notables in the coming week. On Friday, the Tony Trischka Band takes the stage. He (Tony) has been called "one of the most inventive banjoists alive," not by me, mind you (I wouldn't know an inventive banjoist from a duck hunter), but by industry professionals. So he's got that going for him, which is nice. (Apologies to Paramount Pictures and Bill Murray.)

On Tuesday, Aug. 10, it's one of those "must see" shows that I rarely ever see, as Solas returns to Durango. Folks at my day job are quite agog about this one, not that that alone would move me to actually go, but they've got a hook that I can't resist. Band leader Seamus Egan, in addition to playing the flute, banjo, mandolin, guitar, tin whistle, low whistle (?) and bodhran (!?!), is from my hometown of Hatboro, Penn. Clearly, he is a man of great character and worthy of your cover charge. Cocktails at 6:30 p.m., showtime at 7:30 p.m.

If it's summer and you're in Telluride, then a festival is only days away. This week, it's the Telluride Jazz Celebration , the 28th such, according to my calculations. I don't know why it's left to me to calculate that, but we'll take that up with marketing. The talent includes Leon Russell, Medeski, Martin & Wood, and even some jazz artists. I have it on good authority that while it's not the best lineup in the festival's 20-something year history, there are some good acts. Having attended a couple of these things with absolute ignorance as to any of the performers, I can attest that the atmosphere is conducive to finding and appreciating heretofore unheard of artists. The whole is truly stronger than the sum of its parts this weekend. If it'll help, the full schedule is available at www.telluridejazz.com .

No event in the coming week is as important as what will happen on Tuesday the 10th. While Solas is a nice diversion, keep your focus until you've cast your ballot in the Primary Election . This has to be one of the most hyped primaries in years, but in this case, do believe the hype. I'm not going to tell you who to vote for, but some of these races are just too important to ignore. On second thought, this is an opinion column, so I will tell you who to vote for. Colorado is on the national stage as a swing state, with longtime strongholds Nighthorse Campbell and Scott McInnis retiring and leaving a Senate and Congressional seat in the balance. Democratic Senate Primary: Mike Miles vs. Ken Salazar. One of these two will take on either Republicans Bob Schaffer or Pete Jesus Tap Dancin' Christ Coors. My pick - Miles. Republican 3rd Congressional District Primary: Five goose-stepping, budget slashing pro life oil-drilling fascists will compete to take on Democrat John Salazar for McInnis' seat. Take your pick and hope for the best. And, be careful. Don't confuse the two Salazar brothers. Ken is a former Attorney General, John is a farmer. Nothing against Ken, but here's to hoping only one gets in. There are also decisions to be made closer to home, as a La Plata County commissioner seat comes open. I will refrain from making a pick here as I will have to deal with the winners and losers face to face, and I'm a coward. Remember, you must be registered with a party to vote in the primary for that party. As a former registered Independent, I applaud such individuality, but it will prevent you from being heard until November, when it might be too late.

Feed my head. ted@ksut.org . Seriously, go vote.




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