St. Mary Concert Series brings culture to Rifle |

St. Mary Concert Series brings culture to Rifle

Kay Vasilakis
Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

The St. Mary Concert Series is beginning to garner statewide recognition, thanks to the diligent work and impressive connections of its managing director, Linda Jenks. Attend one show of St. Mary Concert Series and you will declare culture is definitely an option for the Rifle area.

The Academy of Western Slope Artists and Musicians (AWSAM) presents the sixth season of the St. Mary Concert Series, which begins at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 9, at St. Mary Catholic Church, Seventh and Birch streets in Rifle. The season starts off with a vocal recital by soprano Ruth Wilson Francisco, accompanied by pianist Nancy Thomas. A meet-the-artists reception will follow the concert in the church basement, the St. Mary Gathering Space.

“This woman is just a bundle of energy,” proclaimed Jenks, who herself is a ball of energy and quite the comedian. “She lives in Mancos, Colorado, and travels all over the place to perform. She will start off with some American music, adding music from British, Italian and German composers, women composers, and popular selections to which the audience will not be able to stop themselves from singing along. She will be well-received here, I’m sure.”

Ms. Francisco and Ms. Thomas will also offer a vocal master class at 11 a.m. Oct. 9 at Rifle High School, sponsored by AWSAM Outreach Programs. Singers from the Rifle High School choirs will participate, and the public is invited to observe free of charge.

Other events in the 2009-2010 concert series, each of which begin at 7 p.m. at St. Mary Church, include local harp virtuoso Elise Helmke on Friday, Jan. 29; Lift High Our Voices, in which the St. Mary Sanctuary Choir and the Rifle High School Varsity Choir team up for an inspirational evening of choral music on Sunday, April 11; a Composers’ Corner: Pianist Richard De Campo and Oboist Debra Barnuco perform individual original works and offer insights into the composer’s challenges on Friday, April 23; and the AWSAM Invitational Concert is on Friday, April 30. Additional events may be scheduled throughout the season.

Performers are asked to include interactive time with the audience during their presentations, including insights into the details of their instruments or music, so the audience may understand what makes the specific musical pieces so fascinating and enduring.

The final concert of the season, the AWSAM Invitational Concert, will feature young musicians. A major focus of the organization is the focus on young people. With much competition for young performers to advance, AWSAM wishes to give them the opportunity for recognition and to strengthen their resumes. The organization will send out bulletins to Colorado’s Front Range and the Western Slope secondary and college musical directors. A committee will listen to submissions and select one performer from the Front Range and one performer from the Western Slope for the final concert in April.

Ticket prices for the concert series reflect a response for a family rate. Regular admission fees will be $10/individual adults; $8/seniors and individual students; and a family rate of $30 for adults and their children older than 6.

For more information about the concert series or the Academy of Western Slope Artists and Musicians, call Linda Jenks at 625-2333.

Kay Vasilakis’ “Nonprofit Spotlight” column runs every other Wednesday in the Glenwood Springs Post Independent. She is an active member of the Garfield County Human Services Commission. To contact her with a local nonprofit event or news item, e-mail or call 618-6689.

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