"Stunning, moving, and powerful," are words often used to describe Hazel Miller's voice.
Her presence and rapport with the audience led a Denver newspaper to call Miller "a force of nature."
She's toured North America, Europe, Asia and Central America - and the Grand Valley is still one of her favorite places to visit.
Miller is returning to Palisade, Saturday, Aug. 11, to perform her annual benefit concert for Mesa County Partners.
"Hazel energizes people when she performs," Partners executive director Joe Higgins said. "Hazel Miller's music produces feelings of excitement, energy and passion - exactly the same feelings that those of us involved with Partners hope to bring to the young people we work with. We want the youth to know that they belong and are important. We hope that they find the skills and support from their adult mentors to live their lives to the fullest extent possible."
Miller has performed regularly with Big Head Todd and the Monsters. She's also sung with or opened for Leon Russell, Herbie Hancock, Rickie Lee Jones and Lou Rawls. She's additionally made regular appearances on National Public Radio's eTown Radio Show, and has played at the majority of Colorado's major jazz and music festivals.
For those who've seen Miller before, be prepared to hear some new material next weekend.
"I've added more originals to my set," Miller said.
She's also added a Bonnie Raitt song - the title of which Miller isn't disclosing just yet.
"It's one of the most amazing songs ever written in American pop history," Miller said. "I love singing it, and people love dancing to it. And we do our own version of it. It's what I love about this band. We put our own little twist to it."
Mesa County Partners has served local youth for more than 30 years. Its programs include one-on-one mentoring, restitution/community service work, after-school programs, and the Western Colorado Conservation Corps - a program that employs youths, ages 16-25, in public-land improvement and energy conservation projects.
"The Hazel Miller concert not only benefits Partners operations monetarily," Partners resource development officer Maggie Moorland said. "Each year Hazel gets us up on stage and helps spread the word about being a mentor to a child."
Currently, there are about 80 kids waiting for an adult mentor. Statistics show that kids who receive a Partners mentor are more likely to graduate from high school, less likely to abuse drugs, become pregnant or get in trouble with the law, Moorland said.
Dinner is available at the concert for purchase, as well as wine from Grande River. No outside beverages are allowed. Free water is available. Concert-goers are encouraged to bring a lawn chair or a blanket.
For more information about Partners programs, visit www.mesapartners.org.