Pianist Linda Jenks of Rifle has been an animal lover as long as she can remember.
"My next-to-earliest memory of my life is of me hugging my mother and crying because a rescued baby bird died in the shoebox I provided for it," she said. "I remember saying to Father Bob, when he was still officiating here at the [Catholic] church in Rifle, 'Father Bob, it seems to me most animals are closer to a state of grace than most people I know.' I've always resonated with animals, and I've always felt drawn to their own wonderful energy."
Jenks and the Western Slope Performers will take their love of animals to the stage in the fourth annual Cat's Meow concert to raise money for the Rifle Animal Shelter. Themed "April in Paris," the concert takes place at 7 p.m. Friday in the Clough Auditorium at Colorado Mountain College in Rifle.
"The other performers are just awesome," Jenks said. "They are all concerned about fair and humane treatment for animals. And they bring special talents to the mix every year."
The fundraiser includes returning Cat's Meow concert veterans Frank Breslin, Sandy Vaccaro, Chris Sullivan, and Daryl and Noelle Gingrich. Percussionist Adam Solomon will perform, as well as the ArtIllumA Dancers and a bagpiper, juggler and mime.
"There should be a little something for everybody," she said. "We are really out to have a lot of fun and help an organization, the Friends of the Rifle Animal Shelter, that is important to the entire community."
This year, the concert features a costume contest with donated prizes from City Market, Glenwood Caverns, Starbucks and private donors. Winners will be chosen for best animal and Parisian attire.
"This is the first year we've officially offered prizes for costumes. In past years, some of our audience members have come in costume on their own volition," Jenks said. "What a super idea, and we're going to steal it. It's purely voluntary, but the prizes are pretty cool."
For more details on the Cat's Meow concert, pick up a copy of Friday's Glenwood Springs Post Independent and check the Options page.