Monthly Archives: July 2012

Back around graduation time, young Steamboat musicians Kate and Nissa woke up one morning to find that their practice video had received over 100,000 hits overnight. Now, almost two months later the video has over 300,000 hits and thousands of fans.  

“Sailing Ships,” aptly named for Steamboat Springs High School’s Sailors mascot, perfectly captures the high school mentality of simultaneously longing for the past and anxiously waiting to be set free. Listen to the song below.

The simple trio of vocals, piano, and cello set mostly in a minor key brought me back to one of my own high school memeories, where two of my very good friends wrote a song with the same arrangement for their graduation. I can’t be sure if it was Kate and Nissa’s heartfelt music or memories of my own youth that brought goosebumps to my arms, but the song certainly moves everyone who listens to it.  

We’re proud that Kate had the chance to participate in Strings School Days before graduating high school to pursue a career in music. Kate will begin at the University of Colorado at Boulder in the fall. Nissa has one year left at The Lowell Whiteman School in Steamboat Springs. She will play at the Strings Music Pavilion on Wednesday August 1. This last Heritage Concertof the summer features 14 young Steamboat musicians who will perform on stage with the professionals. Visit the Strings Music Festival website to purchase tickets.

Posted on July 26, 2012
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“My favorite memory of Strings is the rainbow before Kathy Mattea’s performance.”

Strings Music Festival Tent – 1996

Last week, we were graced with another beautiful rainbow as we celebrated 25 years of Strings. It seemed especially fitting that it ended at the Pavilion.

Strings Music Pavilion – 2012

Posted on July 20, 2012
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“A seriously funky collective capable of bringing elements of deep soul, New Orleans funk, Stax/Memphis stylings and earthy R&B together . . . Kincheloe wove a sultry, sexy spell with her incredible blues-soaked lines and deep-in-the-groove dance moves.” -The Buffalo News

Sister Sparrow and The Dirty Birds

Sister Sparrow and The Dirty Birds have hit the ground running since 2010 with the release of their debut, self-titled album. The band is the next hottest thing, having opened for the Black Keys, the Neville Brothers, Dr. John, the Rebirth Brass Band, and the Soul Rebels Brass Band, and with lead singer Arleigh Kincheloe’s voice being compared to Adele, Amy Winehouse, and Janis. Their music turns jazzy New Orleans blues into rock ‘n roll, and the crowd can’t resist the urge to dance.

Below you can watch the band’s newest music video, ‘Another Ride.’ Kincheloe says, “The whole carnival idea, “Another Ride” is about life, but the imagery is directly inspired by being a little kid at the Margaretville Fair.”

If you want the inside scoop from the band, check out their blog here: http://www.sistersparrow.com/category/tour-blog/. Humorous anecdotes and entertaining stories from life on the road let you know that they have just as much fun off the stage as on.

Live Music in Steamboat:
Kincheloe talks about the band’s explosive live show in an interview with The Grateful Web: “The boys sort of told me this early on, ‘Man you sing the song different every time and it’s really cool because it inspires us to do the same and to have that freedom and creativity.’ We try to play to the audience as much as we can and I think that immediately changes the vibe of the song. So you might not hear the same thing twice with us, which is exciting.” 

Sister Sparrow and The Dirty Birds will play at the Strings Music Pavilion on Saturday July 21st. Tickets on sale now for only $25! Order tickets online or by calling the Box Office (970) 879-5056 x 105.

Posted on July 18, 2012
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Chamber Orchestra – Strings Music Festival

The other day I was at one of our Outreach Programs at the Boys and Girls Club with our artist-in-residence string quartet, the Tesla Quartet.  They asked the group of 6-10 year olds, “does  anyone know what pizzicato is?” As my mind went blank, a curly blond haired kid, no more than 6, raised his hand and confidently said “plucking.”  If you are wondering if he was right, keep reading because this post is for you. 

Chamber Music: Written for a small group of instruments, the word “chamber” signifies that the music can be performed in a small room with an intimate atmosphere. This could also be compared to the modern day “jam session.” 

Orchestra: A large instrumental ensemble with sections of string, brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments, led by a conductor. These have different names depending on size. A smaller-sized orchestra (of about fifty players or less) is called a chamber orchestra. A full-size orchestra (about 100 players) may sometimes be called a symphony orchestra or philharmonic orchestra.

Concerto: This basically means solo with the orchestra. Here you will want to pay attention because someone is about to show off some mad skills. 

Applause:  Here is the moment you have been waiting for to show your appreciation. Well sometimes you have to wait a little longer. Somewhere in the early 19th century it was decided that applause interrupted the momentum of a piece, which is why we now hold our applause until all movements (little songs within a piece) are complete. It looks like Mozart lost this battle years ago when he expected that people would eat and talk over his music, particularly at dinner, and was delighted when his audience would clap during his symphonies.

Pizzicato: Plucking – he was right.
Cristin Frey is the Marketing Director for Strings Music Festival. Look for more of her posts debunking classical music terminology.

Posted on July 16, 2012
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“Music was never divided by genre in my mind. It’s about singing good music.” -k.d. lang
Since the beginning of music, artists have refused to be labeled as only one particular genre. Where once classical, jazz, rock, and country seemed to describe pretty much every type of music, more and more categories have cropped up to accommodate artists who are pushing back against being stuck in one genre. Now indie, punk, bluegrass, and alternative country, alt rock, and pretty much alt anything else are acceptable categories. The rest of this post will focus on a few unlikely collaborations that may be the beginning of the next new genre. 

One of the most popular musical styles today is R&B, or Rhythm and Blues. R&B is actually a subgenre in and of itself, branching out from the broader category of hip-hop. Rihanna has been dominating the genre for five plus years, and her newly released video Princess of China is a collaboration with Coldplay. Coldplay is a British alternative rock group, who has also been labeled as “blue romantic.” Watch what happens when hot and sultry Rihanna mixes with cool and mellow Coldplay in their video. Perhaps they’re onto the next groundbreaking genre. Shall we call it RR&B – Rock, Rhythm, and Blues?

Since hip-hop is so prominent today, hip-hop artists love experimenting with artists from other genres to find that new sound that pushes their music to the top of the charts. Kanye West, who’s been leading the hip-hop scene since 2004, released a song with Bon Iver on his latest album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Bon Iver exploded on the indie folk scene this year, taking home two Grammys in 2012. Kanye West and Bon Iver found an “indie-hop” sound in Lost in the World. The ethereal slow synthesized tones of Bon Iver provide the perfect backdrop for Kanye’s lyrics about trying to find a way through our urban jungle. Recently they released a music video that further enhances the trapped and lost message of the song.

And then there’s the band whose name is also the title of the new genre it created: Gangstagrass. Rap lyrics laid over the sounds of banjo and fiddle, make the ultimate leap in pushing back those genre lines. Founder of the band, Rench’s influences come from listening to hip-hop music at school in southern California and honky-tonk at home with his Oklahoman dad. Rench says, “Hip-hop was music of the streets and country was music of the hills, but it was rooted in these communities that were making music to express the struggles of their daily lives, which has a lot of overlap.” Rench hints at the idea that a collaboration or a mashup will be a success, regardless of the genre, as long as the two styles match in meaning and the feeling.

These collaborations do more than just boost artists to the top of the charts. They remind us to keep listening to music. As one blogger wrote, “Listening to what we know we like keeps us from hearing what we know nothing about.” So break out of your own genre box and put the radio on scan because you may just discover your new favorite song.

Posted on July 12, 2012
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