Swingin’ in the rain
Peter Schaiberger says the chance to be outdoors and hear good music has kept him coming back to Summer of Jazz in Glenwood Springs for seven years.The New Castle resident was in his element Wednesday. The outdoors served up a range of elements, from wind, to rain, to the red glow of sunset, while Kermit Ruffins and his band showed themselves to be a force of nature on the musical front.Schaiberger and his daughter Audrey were among those who turned out for the first concert in the 20th season of Summer of Jazz, and they weren’t disappointed.Schaiberger enjoyed the lively, upbeat sound of trumpet player Ruffins and his New Orleans-based band, the Barbecue Swingers. And his daughter, a 2004 graduate of Glenwood Springs High School, now attending the University of Colorado at Boulder, appreciated how Summer of Jazz allowed her to catch up with old friends.”It’s fun seeing the community because so many people come,” she said.Some of those people called it an early evening when the rain came in mid-concert. Christine Vigil reluctantly headed away from Two Rivers Park, carrying a lawn chair in one arm while balancing her coughing daughter Sophia, 212, in the other. Vigil was leaving only because Sophia was sick, she explained.”It was good,” she said of the music. “We would have stayed.”As it turned out, those who stayed were granted a reprieve from the rain.”This just proves if you wait a while it will get better,” Dean Moffatt said as he enjoyed the sunset.He could just as well have been talking about Summer of Jazz. With every year, it has further cemented its place as an indispensable Glenwood Springs tradition.”I’ve been hanging in since the first one,” Moffatt said, recalling the beginnings of the concert series.Summer of Jazz has special meaning to Moffatt because he designed Two Rivers Park and its pavilion. He said the project followed heated debate in the city over whether a city surrounded by public land needed a park, and whether should build it on land that had once housed railroad operations, served as a dump and been home to a limestone processing plant.Wednesday night, Moffatt could look around his handiwork and see kids playing, couples kissing, families picnicking, and a rain-dampened crowd dancing up a storm near the stage.Others performed to the music, twirling ribbons or tossing rhythm sticks back and forth to the beat. As Tim Fifer, of Rifle, and his daughter Ali played with their rhythm sticks, Fifer thought back 14 years ago.”Coming to Summer of Jazz was the thing to do,” he reminisced.He said life has gotten in the way of him seeing as many concerts in more recent years. But he was a big fan of Ruffins’ previous group, the Rebirth Brass Band, and didn’t want to miss Wednesday’s show.Officer Brian Larison, who is new to the Glenwood Springs police force, got to enjoy his first Summer of Jazz concert ever on Wednesday night while doing the fairly easy job of keeping the peace in a place where peace already was prevailing.”It’s awesome; I love it,” Larison said of the concert. “I’m a big fan of jazz.”Jazz fans will have seven more chances this summer to hear Wednesday night jazz at Two Rivers Park. They can help keep the series going strong through their donations. Events director Sher Kerschen took a break from walking around bare-footed on trash patrol to point out that the series is about $20,000 short of its fund-raising goal, even with the 180 or so sponsors it already has.It usually collects about $1,000 in donations per concert, but only took in about $300 Wednesday because many of the 2,500 or so people who first showed up left early due to the rain. Donations can be made by going to http://www.summerofjazz.com.Kerschen was upbeat despite the setback of the weather Wednesday.”It’s a great crowd for being as wet as it is,” she said.Wednesday had been an emotional day for Kerschen, a Glenwood Springs school teacher who finished up her last day of class before bidding students good-bye and getting ready for the concert. But seeing young and old come together for the music and camaraderie put a big smile on her face.So did seeing people who once came to the concert as kids returning Wednesday night with kids of their own.Like Glenwood youth from 20 years ago, Summer of Jazz is all grown up.Contact Dennis Webb: 945-8515, ext. email@example.com
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Hanging Lake will once again be taking visitors starting May 1.