Live Like a Local: Symphony in the Valley conductor shares his favorite food, drink and shopping around the county |

Live Like a Local: Symphony in the Valley conductor shares his favorite food, drink and shopping around the county

Carla Jean Whitley
Members of Symphony in the Valley practicing at Glenwood Springs High School.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent |

Kelly Thompson spends his days working as IT lead systems administrator for the city of Rifle, where he resides. But he fills his spare time with music. Thompson, who has lived in the area since 1993, plays trumpet and percussion and sings. He’s done all three for Symphony in the Valley since 2001, and he’s served as the organization’s conductor for four years.

We asked Thompson to share his favorite places in Garfield County. And hey, you’ve got an opportunity to check out one of those favorites — SITV — during its fall concert series this weekend. The orchestra will perform a variety of musical styles 7 p.m. Saturday at New Hope Church in New Castle and 4 p.m. Sunday at Glenwood Springs High School. Tickets range from $10-$45 and are available at or at the door.

Want to share your guide to living like a local? Visit

Where would you go for breakfast?

“Whistle Pig in Rifle (121 E. Third St., Rifle; 456-3199; – gluten free options, fantastic food, great coffee. Huge salads (OK, that’s lunch).”


“Chamos Restaurante (119 W. Third St., Rifle; 665-9476; – probably the best Mexican food I’ve had in the valley. Great atmosphere, inexpensive especially at lunch. Recommend the Enchiladas Supremas, but only if you’re really hungry.”


“Heather’s (166 Midland Ave., Basalt; 927-0151; – the tamale pie is fantastic. I didn’t like Brussels sprouts until I ate them at Heather’s wrapped in bacon. Great music there, too.”

I have nothing to wear!

“Miller’s Dry Goods (118 E. Third St., Rifle; 625-1737) – locally owned, great selection, a Rifle landmark location to shop!”

Gift shopping

“Again, Miller’s Dry Goods, and Midland Arts Company (101 E. Third St., Rifle; 625-3068; – local artists sell their wares, always something unique and beautifully made.”

Turn it Up

“The Ute Theater (132 E. Fourth St., 665-6569; If you haven’t attended a show there you need to. It’s been restored and has attracted some amazing musicians. I help run lights there as a member and volunteer with NUTS (the New Ute Theater Society) and just about every group that comes through talks about how great the acoustics are, and how well they were treated by staff and volunteers. And they all want to come back! There have been several shows of local musicians – including Symphony in the Valley!”


“As mentioned above, Midland Arts Company, Rifle.”


“The Ute Theater in Rifle before and during an event, especially Symphony Swing in March … Speaking of Symphony Swing, I highly recommend attending. More info at Whether you swing dance or just want to listen, it’s a fabulous event.”

Where do you spend most of your free time?

“When I’m not working on Symphony, IT or volunteering at the Ute, I will attend a concert, go for a hike, go camping, or go to the Glenwood Adventure Park (51000 Two Rivers Plaza Road, Glenwood Springs, The melodrama up there was great fun this past summer. (My son was in it).”

What’s your favorite way to get outside?

“Through the door. But seriously, hiking, camping, boating.”

What’s your favorite cultural institution?

“Symphony in the Valley, of course!”

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