New director, same direction |

New director, same direction

The Earthbeat choir has seen plenty of change since Karen D’Attilo founded it 30 years ago, but the spirit remains the same.

No longer under the umbrella of the Windstar Foundation, the kids’ choir doesn’t draw as heavily on the work of John Denver — although you can probably expect at least one of his songs at its big performance 10 a.m. Sunday at Mountain Fair. A second camp opened up in Glenwood in 2000, around the same time Earthbeat became its own nonprofit. D’Attilo passed the baton to KC Johnson, who in turn retired at the end of last year. New to the director position is Cailey Arensman, who has been involved with the organization since she was 7 years old, first as a participant, then a junior staff member, and then paid staff with a few years off while she studied music education at the University of Northern Colorado.

“I would not be the person I am today without Earthbeat,” Arensman said.

“I think that programs like Earthbeat are so essential to igniting that love and interest in music at a young age,” she added. “Even if they don’t all join high school choir, they are learning the performance and leadership skills that will serve them for a lifetime.”

The songs themselves run the gamut from reggae to folk, sometimes with a few tweaks to keep things relevant or kid friendly. There’s usually a medley featuring a specific artist, and this year will focus on the Beatles. There are also some originals by Earthbeat students and staff.

“When I hear the kids sing my songs, it makes me really proud,” said longtime program violinist and guitar player Ellen Stapenhorst.

She’s noticed that a lot of the songs that seem to resonate have a common theme.

“They seem to connect in a really heartfelt way to songs about peace and making the world better,” she said.

The program itself also focuses more on fun and cooperation than reading music or other music specific skills.

“We try to sneak in the technical side,” Arensman said. “Your average Earthbeat camper may not be able to tell you what fortissimo means, but they’ll be able to do a crescendo, and that’s impressive.”

Mostly, 9-year-old Katie Huttenhower knows she’s enjoying herself and meeting new people.

“Singing is something that I do a lot because it makes me feel free,” she said. “It’s a way to express feelings in a way that’s more fun than just talking.”

Indeed, she’s considering becoming a mentor in the program someday.

Libby Claassen, 13, already took that step.

“I loved Earthbeat when I was little,” she added. “You get so many fun experiences, you learn so many great songs, and you have a great performance at the end.”

“Being a role model was something that I always wanted to do,” she added. “It just give kids more confidence when an older kid is helping.”

Arensman thinks that’s part of what gives the program such strength and continuity.

“Many, many kids return year after year,” she said. “A bigger challenge is reaching out to new families and getting new people involved. We really try to make it accessible.”

Johnson agreed.

“How often do teenagers get a chance to become leaders and mentors to other kids?,” he said. “I feel like I was blessed to be able to be a part of Earthbeat for 21 years and have the chance to inspire and work with so many talented young kids.”

For more information, call 366-2976 or visit

Wine Ink column: Drink the old stuff first

Due to the great largess of friends and people in the wine business, I have been afforded the opportunity to taste some wines that have a little age on them.

Not ancient wines, or even wines from, say, before I took my first steps, but rather some wines that had their genesis in the summers of my youth in the 1970s and 1980s.

First, let me say that when I can sniff, sip and contemplate a wine from a time gone by, I love to try to remember my personal state at that time.

For example, while once looking at the burnt-orange rim of a ’71 Domaine Gros, Richbourg, I recalled that I was entering high school as the grapes in that glass were being harvested. My go-to wine at the time, if you could call it that, was Mateus Rose, a slightly sparkling Portuguese number that I had read was popular with Rod Stewart, who had recently released his third solo LP “Every Picture Tells a Story,” with the hit “Maggie May.”

But I digress, as anyone who knows what an LP is will surely tell you.

Savor the past

The point is that for many of us, the opportunity to taste the wines from the historic vintages of the past is one that should be savored. Old wines — similar to old people — have achieved texture, character and beauty that is a result of having been afforded time to mature.

Not all old wines, of course. But there are special wines sourced from grapes born in vintages in which the sun and the seasons smiled softly upon them and were crafted by winemakers whose deft hands gently persuaded them to perfection. These are wines that have been nurtured by owners who kept them in pristine condition for decades — never too warm, nor too cold. Just right, as they awaited the moment when the twisting of the cork and the rush of air through the bottle’s neck would announce that it was time for the wine to be drunk.

My greatest old wine experience came from a bottle of Syrah from the Northern Rhone. Hermitage, to be precise. And it was not all that old. But the 1990 Hermitage Cuvee Cathelin, Domaine Jean-Louis Chave was one of those wines that demonstrated why having the patience to cellar and keep a wine for some time — in this case two decades — can be so rewarding. This was a wine from an outstanding vintage in a place that is as regarded as a mecca for lovers of Syrah.

‘The old is better’

J.L. Chave Hermitage is a family-owned Domaine based in Mauve, France, that has been growing vines and making wines in the northern Rhone since 1481.

Throughout those 500 years, the responsibility for the grapes and the fine wines that are made from them has passed from father to son, from one generation to the next.

The reins and that responsibility are now held in the hands of a brilliant winemaker named Jean-Louis Chave, who is widely regarded as the 21st century’s master of Syrah. This wine was made by Jean-Louis’s father, Gerard, who was the 15th generation of the family to be involved in the production of wines.

The Cuvee Cathelin is made in only exceptional years. I remember the nose was still fresh with floral notes, as though I were smelling a field at the base of the mountain where the fruit was grown.

It was complex, structured, fruity, leathery, smoky, spicy and rocky. There were berries, peppers, a little chocolate and a hint of vanilla. In short, there were all of those things that make great Syrah such a pleasure to drink.

The intensity and richness were overwhelming. For more than an hour, I savored my glass of wine and observed subtle changes with each sip.

I still have the empty bottle in my wine rack as a reminder of the experience, though the moment is etched in memory.

While I do not know the Bible well, I do know a passage or two that relate to wine. This one, Luke 5:39, kind of sums up the experience:

“No man also having drunk old wine straightway desires new: for he said, The old is better.”

Kelly J. Hayes lives in Old Snowmass with his wife, Linda, and black Lab, Vino. He can be reached at

Art Scene: The dawn of a brighter day

“At the Center for the Arts, we plan every event, every class, every educational program with a clear eye to building and maintaining a solid foundation for children and adults. Artistic expression is resilient and grows with every influence, every experience.”

I said those words in our column last August, and they have never been more meaningful than they are today.

A June flood compromised our building and required us to double down the resilience and turn this experience into a new direction. But you never work alone.

The call went out, and people stepped up. Dance classes were welcomed at the Masonic Lodge, Sue Schnitzer offered the library gallery space for our exhibits, our incredible teaching staff ramped up their inherent enthusiasm and commitment so no doubt or anxiety was passed on to the kids.

Finally, with a growing demand for more and bigger classes, we made presentations to the City Council about a permanent move to the old library building, and they are working on an equitable plan.

No classes were canceled, and there was no interruption of our public events, and for that we are profoundly grateful to every single person who grabbed an oar and rowed.

So, here we are with our summer session’s big finish. Kids and parents were delighted with the variety of classes offered.

Our new Islander Summer campers studied every one of the eight Hawaiian Islands and joined the national Hokulea Propagate for Peace online classroom and planted a tree to conclude their summer adventure.

We’ll take a little break, and then it’s the Fall/Spring 2016-2017 semester with 5th Day Friday on Aug. 19. This is the fifth year of our innovative full day art, dance, pottery and music program.

We developed our World Culture model with all classes structured through the aesthetic of different countries. Students interact with each other, building friendships and self-confidence while discovering and enhancing their unique talents and artistic expression.

That moment when a student connects with the viewpoint of another culture is transformative.

All boys and girls from 6-12 years old are welcome. Go to and register.

The full semester begins Tuesday, Sept. 8, with a variety of art, pottery, dance, guitar and piano classes.

In addition to these favorites, we have added new classes like Brad Vierheller’s Teen Piano Class that will happen every Tuesday at 6:15.

Speaking of the amazingly versatile Brad, when Jonathan Gorst became the owner of the Riviera Supper Club, he added a piano bar and invited Brad and Kyle Jones to join him Wednesdays through Saturdays and bring their top tier talent with them.

Here’s the lineup: Jonathan Gorst, Wednesday, 7 p.m. and late Saturday night; Kyle Jones, Thursday, 7-9 p.m.; and Brad Vierheller, Friday and Saturday, 7-9 p.m.

Add their lush and lovely music to the food and the ambiance of the Riv, and it is irresistible.

Thanks again to everyone as we make our way and continue to create a world of art for everyone.

Christina Brusig is the executive director of the Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts. She can be reached at

Artist Spotlight: The Harmony Sisters

If the sisters singing folk ballads as you enter the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park look familiar, it’s because they’re longtime locals Susan Anderson and Barbara Cyr. As the Harmony Sisters, they perform at the Caverns, in Aspen’s Wagner Park, and for myriad other public and private events. They recently took a moment to talk with the Post Independent about their music and their Glenwood gig.

How long have you been performing together?

BC: Since we were children. We really are sisters. I’m older, and I wanted someone to sing with me. The only time we ever got along when we were kids was singing.

SA: I took a lot of piano lessons, but it was hard to play the piano and sing, so when I was 12 we picked up the guitar and really took off with it.

What sort of stuff did you play?

BC: Actually, we do a lot of the same things. Our sisters were quite a bit older, and they taught us these old songs that they loved, and we still do a lot of those.

SA: I like to say we do Americana music. It’s probably 1890 to 2016, so it’s over a century of songs. We found a really nice niche singing songs that are very familiar, and we encourage people to sing along with us, and we have instruments for the kids to play. It’s what our family did, and down south it seems like families still do that.

What is it that appeals about that kind of music?

SA: We love the look on the children’s faces. When there’s an 18-month-old child standing there wiggling his body it’s just amazing.

BC: We’ve been doing this format up at the Burlingame Cabin for 15 years, and everyone would just have such a great time. We haven’t seen anyone else doing that.

How did you get set up here?

BC: A friend of mine said the manager was looking for some children entertainers, so we called him, and he listened to us, and we were hired. We went from one day to two days, and now it’s 11:30 to 2:30 Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday.

SA: We both have other jobs. I’m a bus driver and she’s a ski instructor, so we have to fit our music into our lives.

Is that a different experience from a standard gig?

BC: People come and go. We don’t repeat songs very often, although sometimes we do the ABC’s 100 times for the little guys. We do all the classic kid stuff.

SA: Both of us are trained singers and songwriters. She was a Siren of Swing and I was in a rock band called Cruise Control. This is an opportunity where we don’t have to play until midnight.

The mountains keep calling

John Muir is one of my favorite authors to read. I appreciate his body of work because so much of it is based on his experiences in the outdoors. He eloquently captured those moments when the peacefulness of nature allows the mountains to speak to us. They whisper that we’re all part of the circle of life, and our short existence in this universe is just a small blip on a bigger radar.

Contemplating life’s purpose through nature is why Muir speaks to me. I admittedly didn’t even know about him until I moved to Colorado. I spent most of my childhood reading Indiana poet James Whitcomb Riley, a regional Midwestern favorite, who also had his share of appreciation for nature. My Aunt Patty taught me to recite lines from his 1885 “Little Orphant Annie” by the time I was 4. And his poem “The Ripest Peach” is one I love to read when I need a smile. It reminds me of my Glenwood artist friend Renick Stevenson, who once painted the prose on paper as a gift when I left for Flagstaff to live. I always remember Riley’s poignant words, “The ripest peach is highest on the tree.”

That can be said for many things in life, especially love.

As a naturalist as well as a writer, Muir specifically spoke of his love for the mountains. His quote “The mountains are calling and I must go …” is one of the more famous, and one many outdoor lovers wildly appreciate. It originates from one of many letters written to his sister, Sarah Muir Galloway, about his North American travels. The full quote is: “The mountains are calling and I must go, and I will work on while I can, studying incessantly.”

Muir was constantly learning about the environment and discovering areas of the west that had rarely been shared with the others lacking the drive or opportunity to explore as Muir did. I often think of his bravery and determination to follow a passion that obviously burned deep inside his soul. It was one that led him to climb mountains, raft rivers, and fend for his own food before many of the national park trails had even been blazed. I love to think about how still and quiet the areas sat, even as Muir made his human presence. Luckily we still have such serene wilderness spots to offer solitude, especially here in the Roaring Fork and Aspen valleys.

Like Muir and other preservationists, I would love to see that remain.

Now that I’ve lived in the Rockies, which will always be home to me, “The mountains are calling and I must go” is a message I keep in the back of mind whenever life seems too hectic or impossible to navigate. The quote would surely make a great tattoo, or maybe on one of those wooden signs people craft at wine-and-paint parties and hang in their bathrooms.

I can relate to that fire inside Muir that attracted him to the mountains like a twirling, barefoot dancer to Mountain Fair. Being back in the mountains this week reminds me of that pull so magnetic it can make a heart ache when away and feel full as it ever could get when near. Mount Sopris has that impact on me, and as I sit and stare at her — there are many of us who believe she has strong female qualities — I can’t imagine a world outside of Colorado.

Being from Indiana and living in Colorado meant I made yearly, and sometimes more, treks back to my birthplace to see family and friends. When I traveled between my two homes, I realized living in the mountains felt as if I were protected by a bubble. Not in terms of hardships — I often felt the tightening of a mountain lifestyle budget and a fear that comes with not being able to support oneself. There were also times I felt alone, especially when I suffered those infamous mountain dating woes.

So much so I wanted to be out of the protective bubble.

That’s where I am today. Returning to a world in which I pleasantly existed has shown me that although I followed a care-free lifestyle with few responsibilities, I was likely missing out on life experiences the mountains couldn’t provide. The calling to be a mother, and to be closer geographically to my own, caused a different kind of tug at my heart than Mount Sopris could ever have. Moving back home, especially as my family experienced the loss of my grandparents, was a life calling I now know was destined. But I do know the mountains will always be calling. And I will always figure out a time to go.

April E. Clark wishes she could try women’s wood splitting at Mountain Fair. She can be reached at

Will Call: Are you going to the Mountain Fair

Ah, Mountain Fair.

My parents met there. I grew up having my face painted, performing in the Earthbeat Choir, and generally viewing it as the major event of the waning summer. I was even there for the great fireball and power outage of 1998.

In more recent years, I’ve savored the occasional escape from the sea of humanity and the drunks howling outside my window at 3 a.m.

This will be my 27th fair, and while I’m still not quite ready to skip it entirely, I’m pickier about what I catch and what I pass up. You probably have a list of your own, but here are my do’s and don’ts.

If you can make it the drum circle, do. I realize that 4 p.m. on a Friday is a rough time slot for the working class.

Still, ever since the big ball of fire and power outage, the drum circle has set the tone for the weekend. Even if you don’t drum, it’s a powerful communal experience and just plain fun to watch.

Do find a competition and participate, but don’t take it too seriously. As the person generally picked last for kickball in third grade, I learned to quash my competitive side. Still, there’s something to be said for pitting yourself against your friends and neighbors, particularly when the stakes are low and there’s no one to let down but yourself.

Last year, I tried my hand at hula hooping and discovered that, while my skills might be good for Rams Day, they’re not even passable for Mountain Fair. I had fun anyway. Someday I’ll gather the courage to tackle woodsplitting, though my father set a fairly high bar on that front.

Then, of course, there’s the pie competition. I won’t be judging this year, but I still urge anyone with a passion for baking to enter.

It’s an opportunity to showcase something a little unusual or perfect an old favorite— anything that showcases the subtleties of taste, texture, crust and presentation that make pie the ideal battleground.

Submissions have been down of late, and it’s a shame. For one thing, there’s a lot more fun and prestige in judging when there’s a wide variety.

There’s also a lot more satisfaction in winning, although I honestly can’t remember how many competitors there were when my brother and I got a ribbon in the kids’ contest.

Most importantly, it’s a venerable and tasty tradition that I’d hate to see go the way of hand drilling.

Do buy a T-shirt, but don’t wear it yet. The unspoken purpose of fair swag is to show that you’ve been attending longer than the other guy. Like wine, they’re fine new but better aged. Raffle tickets, however, are best bought early, since drawings take place throughout.

Don’t stay in one place. The main stage is always hopping, but there’s plenty going on around the park and downtown.

Check the program for a variety of programming for kids and adults at the Oasis. Catch your favorite band again in the intimate setting of Steve’s Guitars.

Patronize local businesses as well as booths.

Do plan on running into your middle school gym teacher, high school crush, the surgeon who removed your tonsils and everyone else you’ve ever met.

Don’t expect to move quickly through the tide of friends and acquaintances.

Most of all, do enjoy yourself and let others enjoy themselves.

Will Grandbois may also try to sample HeyDays this year. He can be reached at 384-9105 or

Bridge closure, I-70 detour next two nights

Overhead utility work that Grand Avenue bridge project officials had hoped to accomplish during the planned Interstate 70 Glenwood Canyon closure this week will now take place overnight tonight and Friday because the canyon work was postponed.

As a result, the bridge will be closed to traffic from 8 p.m. tonight until 6 a.m. Friday, and again during the same hours Friday night into Saturday morning, bridge project spokesman Tom Newland said. I-70 traffic going in both directions will also be detoured onto Sixth Street at Exit 116 during the overnight hours, he said.

“We were hoping to do the overhead work during the day yesterday and today when the canyon was closed, but we didn’t get very far along before those plans changed,” Newland said.

Downdrafts in Glenwood Canyon on Wednesday forced crews to halt helicopter work on a rockfall mitigation project that was to have closed I-70 during the day today. Instead, the interstate was kept open today and the helicopter work is to be rescheduled by the Colorado Department of Transportation, probably sometime in August.

For the bridge project-related I-70 detour tonight and Friday night, traffic will merge into one-lane each direction and will detour onto Sixth Street at Exit 116 and near the Yampah Vapor Caves.

The detour is necessary for safety reasons while the utilities are being placed onto the new pedestrian bridge that is under construction over I-70, Newland said.

Due to the bridge closure, traffic looking to exit onto Colorado 82 should do so at Exit 114 in West Glenwood and take Midland Avenue to Eighth Street and back onto Grand Avenue via Colorado Avenue. U.S. 6 to West Glenwood will also remain open.

Pedestrian access on the Grand Avenue bridge will be maintained via the temporary walkway during the detour and vehicle bridge closure, Newland said.

There will be no parking from Pine Street to the Yampah Vapor Caves during the overnight detour. Next week, construction crews will continue utility work along Sixth Street between Laurel and the Grand Avenue bridge.

Manning tossing one-liners in TV commercials

Peyton Manning is everywhere.

Except on football fields.

Recently cleared by the NFL of any wrongdoing in an HGH investigation, Manning is back at his second-best pastime — comedy — with three new commercials for DirecTV titled “Peyton on Sunday Mornings.”

In one, he sits on a park bench in his bathrobe talking with an elderly man who advises him “to work as long as you can.” All the while, Lionel Richie is serenading them.

Richie’s singing is in the background in another ad. Manning, at home in a bathrobe, calls younger brother Eli, inviting him to come over and watch all the games. Eli informs Peyton of other plans: “I’m playing.”

In the other spot, Peyton, again in bathrobe, is doing some food shopping, handing the cashier crumpled coupons. He is checking out at Aisle 18, of course.


AP NFL website: and—NFL


Sopris swimmers compete at state meet

Competing at their first Colorado Swimming State Championships last weekend in Grand Junction, Amy Madsen, Jonus Ortega, and Maverick Gorla gained valuable experience against the fastest swimmers in Colorado for the Team Sopris Barracudas.

Madsen, an 11-year-old and competing in the 11-12 division, raced in seven events, compiled four personal records including a four-second drop in the 200-meter free (2:31.13), improving her ranking from 55th to 28th in the state in the age group.

Madsen’s highest finishes came on the third and final day of the meet when she dropped a second in the 50-meter backstroke (36.20) to improve her ranking from 31st to 19th and in the 100-meter freestyle, where she dropped a tenth of a second (1:08.72) to improve her ranking from 25th to 18th.

Ortega, competing in the open division, raced to a 23rd place in the 200 fly (2:39.21) and a 56th place in the 50 free 27.98).

Gorla raced to a PR in the boys 13-14 50 free, placing 54th in 29.53.

Federal fire restrictions in Garfield County start Friday

Federal fire restrictions will take effect in Garfield County Friday.

The stage 1 restrictions, which prohibit fires outside of developed areas, extend to Bureau of Land Management-administered lands in the county.

BLM is basing fire restriction decisions on local conditions, including moisture measurements in vegetation and other factors. The White River National Forest is not initiating fire restrictions, nor is BLM for lands in Eagle and Pitkin counties, although officials warn fire danger is still present in those areas.

“While we have received some moisture in this area over the past few weeks, we are drier than normal and fire danger has reached high levels at elevations below about 8,000 feet,” Karl Mendonca, field manager for the BLM Colorado River Valley Field Office, said in a media release.

Fire restrictions have been in place since July 22 in the BLM Grand Junction Field Office and Mesa County, where crews on Thursday announced containment of the Gibbler Gulch wildland fire at 25 acres.

In Moffat County, two wildland fires started burning Wednesday afternoon, the Craig Daily Press reported. One of those fires, located south of Colowyo Mine, was burning at approximately 30 acres.

And in Dinosaur National Monument, crews continue to battle the Bench Fire, which was sparked by lightning Friday.

That fire is holding at 570 acres and is approximately 85 percent contained, according to a news release from the National Parks Service.

Under the restrictions taking effect in Garfield County Friday, campfires are only allowed within designated fire grates in developed campgrounds — fire pans and rock campfire rings are not acceptable. Fires of any type, including charcoal, are prohibited outside of developed areas.

Smoking is only acceptable within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site or in a barren area free of vegetation.

Welding and use of an open-torch flame is prohibited outside of areas that have been cleared of vegetation, and all internal combustion engines must have a working spark arresting device.

Use of explosive materials also is prohibited.

The restrictions will remain in place until further notice from the BLM. Violating the restrictions is punishable by a fine of as much as $100,000, a prison sentence of no more than 12 months or both, according to BLM.

Violators responsible for starting wildfires also will face restitution costs for fire suppression.