Monthly Archives: January 2012

Different Tempo:  dif▪fer▪ent  tem▪po, noun

A rate of movement or music that is not alike in character or quality; dissimilar. Often, a non-classical concert.

Strings Music Festival coined the phrase Different Tempo to classify all non-classical concerts. Music at these concerts has ranged from jazz to blues, theatre to opera, country to folk, and rock to pop. Each season a variety of artists is presented to appeal to many tastes in music.

Strings Program Book – Different Tempo Series – 1994
Different Tempo Series History

1990: Leo Kottke and Karla Bonoff were the first non-classical musicians to hold concerts at Strings.
1994: The Different Tempo Series was born. Performers included Free Flight, Edgar Meyer, and Mark O’Connor.

1995: The Different Tempo Series moved to Friday nights.

Posted on January 27, 2012
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Cheapest NY City Opera Ticket: $25
Cheapest NY Giants Ticket: $75

Clearly the assumption that no one goes to opera because it’s too expensive is false.

Not to mention that Super Bowl tickets are going for as much as $14,000. With even the cheapest Super Bowl ticket, you could buy more than six whole season subscriptions to the NY City Opera. The choice is difficult: treat your family to entertainment for a whole year or splurge on yourself for one night.

While the Super Bowl looms, my statement a while back that society gathers at the playing field rather than at the opera house is more apparent than ever. But why do Americans pay top dollar for sporting events and think a classical concert is too expensive?

Supply and Demand Controls Ticket Prices

Law 1: If demand increases and supply remains unchanged, then prices will rise. There’s only one Super Bowl each year with a limited number of seats. Millions of Americans put value on the game, which has pushed prices higher and higher.

Law 2: If supply increases and demand remains unchanged, then prices will fall.
Attendance at opera concerts is at a relatively stable number and the supply for tickets is plentiful. Therefore the price for an opera concert is actually quite affordable.

Ticket prices for both opera and football are actually accurate based on what the people can and will pay. This shifts the dispute from the cost of the ticket to the level of the demand. So why was opera, one of the most popular entertainment types of all time, surpassed by football?

Juxtaposing Football and Opera

To answer the question one NPR blog reader wrote, “It is more an issue of prioritization. No one, including the federal level of decision makers, puts the arts at top priority. Therefore, it does not seem of value to pay $30 to $50 for a ticket. Conversely, $200 for a sporting event seems like a bargain. Paying $10 each morning at Starbucks is no problem. If the arts are valued, people will go. Period.”

Inherent differences between a show and a game may lead people to place more value on a game. An opera has a script to follow. A specific opera will be the same story every time, although interpretations will make each performance different. Like movies, many people feel the need to watch an opera only once, unless of course it’s your favorite. However, just because the Giants and the Patriots met at the Super Bowl in 2008 does not mean that the story will have the same ending in 2012. No one knows the outcome. And whenever New England plays New York in any sport it’s going to be exciting to watch.

New England fans are some of the most passionate in the country when it comes to sports. In fact, Travel and Leisure Magazine just dubbed Boston #2 for sports crazed cities and residents are “guilty of gloating about their championship sports teams.” Fans pick a side and loyally defend it. Opera lacks this camaraderie. There are no bets to be made, no jersey’s to wear, no opponents to bash. Everyone is on the same team. There’s neither anyone to love nor anyone to hate so a crowd of opera goers does not feel the same connection with each other as a crowd of Patriots fans.

The media also contributes to the popularity of sports. How many ESBN channels cover football 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year, even when it’s not in season? How many channels cover opera? How many times does football make the 5:00 news? How many times does opera? Of course the American people want more football, so media broadcasts it to catch viewers, which in turn hooks more people on football. Opera lovers don’t demand opera news, which means it doesn’t get broadcast, which means new people don’t learn about it.  

Opera Still Entertains

While trends abroad show that opera is making a comeback (more people in Great Britain attend theatre shows than sports events) there’s no sign that this is true in the United States. But opera has stolen a few news headlines recently. Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, is hosting a competition where she will sign one or two opera singers to her record label. She hopes to get the genre back in the mainstream. And Morris Robinson (featured above) is a football player turned opera star, which goes to show that anything is possible. While opera may not be the top subject posted on Facebook, it’s still singing.

Posted on January 25, 2012
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Strings Music Festival began with only classical concerts, so it’s not surprising that some of our patron’s favorite memories are about classical pieces:

“Rhapsody in Blue”

“The beauty of Haydn’s “Gyspsy” Trio, Poco adagio, cantabile. Tears streamed down my face – I had to sniffle during the trills.” -Susan Davis

“The orchestra performances.”

“Performing “A Soldiers Tale” by Stravinsky with Andres Cárdénes on the violin, leading and Verne Lundquist as the narrator.” -Joe Williams

“This year’s full symphony orchestra performances and the Mendelssohn piece four years ago.”

“The chamber music, loved it!”

Classical music remains an important part of Strings programming with concerts every Wednesday and Saturday night during the summer festival season. Which composers would you most like to hear at Strings? Leave your comments below.

Posted on January 20, 2012
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“There’s no denying the power of Foster’s monstrous voice…”
     -Paste Magazine

Ruthie Foster

In the past few years, Ruthie Foster has exploded in the music world, experimenting with blues, rock, gospel, folk, R&B, and country music. “It didn’t matter to me what genre it was… I just took it all in as great music – music that moved me.”

Foster performs from the heart staying true to her core message, “that through all of the ups and downs of living, you must stay true to yourself. The pain as well as the joy of love, the strength it takes to weather life’s challenges, the hope that grows from seeds of faith and wisdom inspires my music.”

Her newest album, Let It Burn, showcases her powerful voice, without limiting herself to one genre. She covers songs from Pete Seeger to Johnny Cash and even dips into Adele, one of the most popular artists of the year. Steamboat Springs radio station KUNC writes that Foster sings Adele’s “Set First to the Rain” as if she owns it and that she seems to own every song she sings. Foster’s original works are even more contagious than her covers and evoke strong emotions that touch the soul.

2012 – Nominated for B.B. King Entertainer of the Year, the Koko Taylor Award for Traditional Blues Female Artist of the Year, and DVD of the Year
2011 & 2010 – Blues Music Award for Traditional Blues Female Artist of the Year
2010 – Grammy Nominee for Best Contemporary Blues Album
2010 – Contemporary Blues Female Artist of the Year
2009 – Nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Blues Album

Ruthie Foster Live
Ruthie Foster will perform a Valentine’s Day Concert with Paul Thorn at the Strings Music Pavilion on February 14th at 7:30pm. Order tickets online or by calling the Box Office (970) 879-5056 x 105.

Posted on January 18, 2012
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When you visit Steamboat Springs once a year, are you part of the group that wants to see the new posters, hats, and t-shirts? For the shopaholics out there, some anticipate peaking in the window of the Strings Music Festival Box Office to see what’s new. This patron even included swag as a favorite memory:

The cookbook! Time for a new edition?

If you missed out on buying a 2011 t-shirt or don’t want to wait until next summer to get the 2011 Highlights CD, now is your chance! You can buy cookbooks, t-shirts, CDs, and gift certificates online via our newly launched gift shop. Get your favorite Strings swag all year long.

Click here for the Strings Gift Shop.

Posted on January 13, 2012
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If one of your New Year’s Resolutions was to play more music, this week is your chance to act on your intentions.  

The Tugboat will be hosting the Colorado SongwritersCompetition presented by the 7908 Aspen Songwriters Festival tonight at 9:30pm. Finalists from six Colorado towns will be invited to attend the festival for free and the winner will perform at the 7908 finale concert. 

Steamboat Springs is a hot spot to launch a career in music. Check out these other famous musicians who have ties to Steamboat: 

Keller Williams dabbles in many genres including bluegrass, folk, alternative rock, reggae, electronica/dance, jazz, and funk. Williams began his relationship with The String Cheese Incident by offering to play with the band for free in exchange for ski passes to Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp.

Reese Roper is native to the Boat, born right here in Steamboat Springs. He was the lead singer and chief song writer of the ska band Five Iron Frenzy, who broke up to pursue “real life,” but have recently gotten back together. In an interview with mousertime, he says re-entering the performing world is, “like riding a bike on a tight rope with replacement hips and knees.”

Steamboat’s Inferno, previously at Gondola Square, had a knack for spotting bands that would make it big. Artists who performed here before they took off include Dave Matthews, Phish, and Guster.

With all that spare musical talent soaked in Gondola Square, the Tugboat is the perfect place to discover Steamboat’s next star. Good luck to our competition winners – put Steamboat Springs back on the map!

Posted on January 12, 2012
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Strings Music Festival has undergone many changes in the past 25 years, and we know the future holds even more. We would love to hear your opinion about Strings Music Festival. This survey will take less than five minutes to fill out and will help us plan our program for the years ahead.

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey, the world’s leading questionnaire tool.

Posted on January 6, 2012
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This year the National Association of Music Merchants is urging people to get involved in “Pledge to Play,” which encourages those who have always wanted to play a musical instrument to achieve their dream. A recent Gallup Pole indicates that the majority of Americans wish they did play a musical instrument – 85% in fact.

The “Pledge to Play” website, wannaplaymusic.com, has information about the benefits of playing music. Studies have shown that children who play music do better in school and in life. Adults who play music have lower stress levels and a positive outlet for emotions.  

A few of the top New Year’s Resolutions of the nation even allow room for spending more time with your instrument or learning a new one. Coming in strong at #6 on New Year’s Resolution lists include Askmen.com’s “make more time for hobbies” and 2011resolutions.org’s “learn something exciting.”

Not surprisingly, many of America’s professional musicians have resolutions relating to their career. Paste Magazine spoke to 40 musicians and groups and found that their New Year’s Resolutions ranged from writing more songs, listening to new musicians, and practicing with a metronome, to stop eating fast food and cleaning their apartments. But a few musicians have joined the learn-to-play-a-new-instrument band: Anais Mitchell wants to learn to play the violin and Lydia Loveless wants to get better at the guitar. 

All of these people resolving to play music have inspired my own New Year’s Resolution: to play the piano at least three days a week. What are your New Year’s Resolutions?

Posted on January 5, 2012
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