Monthly Archives: August 2013

By Ali Mignone

At the beginning of this Strings season, everything backstage was shipshape, ready to go and accessible – supplies were stocked, cabinets were organized, cables were coiled and hanging on the wall separated by type, tools were neatly stored.

But the busy summer changed all of that. A lot.

Now, at the end of August, the backstage technical areas look like a tornado has been through. The toolbox doesn’t close anymore; we’re down to one roll of precious black gaff tape (which I’ve hidden); cables are naughtily mixed together with microphone lines sharing hooks with speaker lines and the odd extension cord mixed in; and the cabinets in the kitchenette send down an avalanche of plastic baggies, paper cups and bags of pretzels if anyone dares to open them. Credible sources suggest that even in the office, home to the movers and shakers of the Strings full-time staff, the chaos of running a summer festival shows itself in over-stuffed drawers and dangerous potential slide conditions in the overheads.


Strings backstage mess1

Random assortment of questionable items













And the stage itself is looking a little rough, too. Thankfully, there’s no way to know exactly what makes up stuff that falls off drum carpets and coats every surface in fine white dust. Ignorance makes mopping up easier. Or at least less alarming. Unfortunately, I’m perfectly aware of what comes out of a trumpet spit valve onto the stage.

Strings Music Festival stage

Can you tell which side is clean and which is dirty?










So the staff and crew are cleaning up this week. We’re sorting and tossing, recycling and tidying up so that the building and stage will be ready to go when the holiday concert season arrives. It’s the professional equivalent of taking care of your toys so they last longer.

Strings Music Festival cleanup

How does all of this stuff fit in our tiny storage area?










Ali Mignone is the Stage Manager at Strings, bringing 20 years of experience in the theater world and in arts/business administration. Ali recently moved to Steamboat from Connecticut, and she’s frantically cramming in all the hiking and biking she can do before ski season–when she plans to be stealing powder from sharing powder with the amazing people she’s met here. When she’s not backstage or outside, Ali works as a Senior Consultant for Theatre Projects Consultants and as a freelance writer and editor.

Posted on August 22, 2013
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Season 26 has come to a close and it was another fabulous summer of music in Steamboat Springs. Here are some of our favorite moments of the season.

Eighty-nine year-old piano legend Menahem Pressler performed in the two opening classical concerts of the season. Here he is behind the scenes, rehearsing with Music Director Andrés Cárdenes.

menahem pressler andres cardenes strings music festival 

One of our Artist-in-Residence groups this year was the C Street Brass, and they were a huge hit. The community, musicians and staff all loved them, and we’re hoping they return next year! Here they are playing at the collaborative concert with Perry-Mansfield at Colorado Mountain College.

c street brass with steamboat in the background 

Kenny Loggins turned the Strings Music Pavilion into a rock and roll hall. He played all the favorite hits, and the crowd was up and dancing!

Kenny Loggins 

Violinist Daniel Bernard Roumain (DBR) performed a multifaceted show with a pianist, a drummer, string quintet Sybarite5, award-winning vocalist Nnenna Freelon, the Steamboat Hula Hoop Troupe and local favorite DJ Also Starring. But the crowd favorite was when 13 year-old Steamboat violinist Jacob VanDerWerf performed one of DBR’s Hip Hop Studies and Etudes.

DBR Jacob Vanderwerf 

This year we set a record for the fastest selling out concert ever – Lyle Lovett and His Large Band sold out within four hours of tickets going on sale! If you were lucky enough to score tickets to this concert, you were treated to a full stage and a packed house. It was a great way to close out the season. We hope to see you again next year!

lyle lovett and his large band

Posted on August 20, 2013
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Steamboat Springs All Arts Festival

August 15 – August 18

The summer days are running out and before the kids head back to school and the snow starts to fly, come out for one last summer hurrah with Steamboat Springs’ All Arts Festival weekend.

From August 15 to August 18, the 2013 All Arts Festival will bring you the best of visual art, music and culture of Steamboat Springs and the Yampa Valley. Whether you like fine art, historical art, dance, theatre, opera, orchestra, country or bluegrass, you’re sure to enjoy all Steamboat has to offer this coming weekend. 

The signature event for the weekend is the Yampa River Art Stroll. Artists will have their work out for display on Yampa Street downtown from 10:00am to 6:00pm Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

If you’re more into the performing arts, these are some of the events we recommend:

Thursday August 15
Music on the Green with Missed the Boat – 12:15pm, Yampa River Botanic Park – FREE

Friday August 16
Love Letters with Katharine Ross and Wilford Brimley – 8:00pm, Strings Music Pavilion – Click here for tickets

Saturday August 17
Opera Pops Concert – 7:00pm, Strings Music Pavilion – Click here for tickets

Sunday August 18
Lyle Lovett and his Large Band – 8:00pm, Strings Music Pavilion – Click here for tickets

Click here to see the entire schedule of events.

Posted on August 14, 2013
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By Valerie Powell

florida-georgia-line-cruise-remix nelly 

This week’s song of the week is my own personal favorite song of summer 2013. “Cruise” by Florida Georgia Line captures the essence of a totally carefree summer, where the only plan of the day is to hang around outside and take the truck for a drive.

“Cruise” was released on August 6, 2012 and quickly climbed the country charts. On February 19, 2013 Nelly released his single “Hey Porsche” which could be the sister song to “Cruise.” Because of the similarities in the two songs, Nelly even put in a little teaser of “Cruise” at the end of the “Hey Porsche” music video. Nelly then collaborated with Florida Georgia Line to make the “Cruise Remix,” which was released on April 2, 2013. The remix then cruised right to the #4 spot on Billboard’s Top 100.

I frequently blog about songs that cross genres, but I haven’t yet come across a country and rap/hip hop combination, and I think it’s genius. It’s one of those ideas that sounds like it would never work, but once the song is produced it feels completely natural. For artists aiming for top hits, it’s also a smart career move. Country and hip hop are one of the two most popular genres at the moment, so if the song draws people from both genres it is effectively doubling the audience size, almost guaranteeing a top hit.

Not surprisingly “Hey Porsche” was also on my most played song list this summer. I’ve included all three videos here.

Posted on August 9, 2013
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By Ali Mignone

I am directionally challenged. Someone who shall remain nameless (but who is married to me) once remarked that I couldn’t find my way “out of a paper bag.” This, unfortunately, is quite true. So I was thrilled to move to Steamboat Springs, which has landmarks like 40, the river and the mountains, because I knew it would be impossible to get lost! Until the day I spent twenty minutes driving around Safeway looking for my new bank. Which is across the street from City Market.

But as Stage Manager for Strings, it’s my job to get people and things onstage quickly, efficiently and most importantly, in the right place. While I may be a little turned around out in the world, after twenty years working in the arts, I’ve got my stage directions down pat. And I’m going to share my cheat sheet with you.

Let’s start with the basics. When you’re in the audience facing the stage, your right is house right and your left is house left. If you were a performer onstage facing the audience, your right is stage right and your left is stage left. Got it? Good, it gets a little weird after that…

Strings House Left and Right

Strings Stage Left and Right

Did you notice that stage right and house left are the same direction, from two different perspectives? At Strings, that means toward the parking lot. Now, stage directions are static and independent of the performer. So if you turn around and march to the stage wall with your back to the audience, stage left is on your right and stage right is on your left. (This is a really humbling moment for some performers, when they have to ask themselves, “Wait, it’s not all about me?”)

OK, that’s enough left and right, let’s do forward and backward. If you’re onstage facing the audience, upstage is behind you (farther away from the audience) and downstage is in front of you (closer to the audience). Why do we say up and down when most modern stages, including the Strings stage, are flat? The terms are left over from when theatres were designed so that audiences stood on a flat floor in front of the stage and stood or sat in balconies all around the house. The stage itself was raked (higher in the back than in the front) so that all those flat-standers could see what was going on. For you skiers and riders: upstage was up the hill and downstage was down the hill.

Strings Upstage Downstage

We have one last set of directions to cover. On the technical side, a lot of equipment, curtains, backdrops and other good stuff are hung above the stage. When it’s time to move those things to stage level for scenery cues or maintenance, we can’t say something’s coming down, because that means it’s moving closer to the audience. Oops, now what? So we say it’s coming in. And when it’s going back up to its usual hanging height, it’s going out.

So. Stage right is house left. Stage left is house right. Up is back. Down is front. In means down and out means up.

Please have pity on me if you see me standing still onstage during a stage change. I might be lost.

Ali Mignone is the Stage Manager at Strings, bringing 20 years of experience in the theater world and in arts/business administration. Ali recently moved to Steamboat from Connecticut, and she’s frantically cramming in all the hiking and biking she can do before ski season–when she plans to be stealing powder from sharing powder with the amazing people she’s met here. When she’s not backstage or outside, Ali works as a Senior Consultant for Theatre Projects Consultants and as a freelance writer and editor.

Posted on August 7, 2013
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2011 - Brian David Braun

Tomorrow, Sybarite5 will perform at Strings Music Festival. I found this post on their blog that I wanted to re-post here because they are certainly excited to perform in Steamboat Springs! Also be sure to check out their video where they talk about transforming their classical career and include some performance clips.


July 27, 2013 Summertime out west

We hope everyone is enjoying the delicious days of summer! In a few days, we’ll be headed to Colorado to perform for the first time in Steamboat Springs at the Strings Music Festival. In addition to bringing The Shuffle Effect to Steamboat, we’ll also be collaborating with composer-violinist Daniel Bernard Roumain (DBR). We will perform DBR’s string quartet Parks which he has adapted for string quintet just for us.

Following these concerts, we’ll head to our beloved Aspen, Colorado to work together on our newest project, our very own festival. The Forward Festival will launch in the 2013-2014 season in another place near and dear to our hearts: Sarasota, Florida. This is a hugely exciting new venture for us, and we’ll be in touch again very soon to give you more information about it.

For our friends in Aspen who are wondering why you haven’t seen us in our usual post at Paradise Bakery, exciting changes are happening! Read all about it here.

Our Fall 2013 calendar is wonderfully busy, with concerts in the Virgin Islands, Wyoming, Iowa, Miami and more! We will also continue our residency at the cell, with concerts there in October and December. We hope to see you soon!


Live Music Steamboat – Sybarite5
Sybarite5 will perform at the Strings Music Pavilion on Wednesday, August 7 at 7:00pm. Buy tickets online now or call the Box Office (970) 879-5056 x 105.

Posted on August 6, 2013
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By Valerie Powell

Christiania Trioa 

On Saturday the Christiania Trio will play at Strings Music Festival. Two of the members are siblings Julie and David Coucheron. Julie and David are from Norway, and the name Christiania speaks to their native city of Oslo. The capital of Norway was destroyed by a fire in 1624. It was rebuilt under King Christian IV and was renamed Christiania in his honor for almost 50 years until it was restored to the original name.

Julie and David Coucheron come highly recommended from Verne Lundquist, who has been a Strings supporter since the very beginning of the festival. Verne first met the siblings on a cruise years ago and took it upon himself to advance their career. Not yet 30, these young musicians have stunning talent and will be performing works by Vitali, Mendelssohn and Dvořák on Saturday night, along with cellist Christopher Rex. The video below highlights the first piece on their program.


Live Music Steamboat – Christiania Trio
The Christiania Trio will perform at the Strings Music Pavilion on Saturday, August 3 at 8:00pm. Buy tickets online now or call the Box Office (970) 879-5056 x 105.

Tomaso Antonio Vitali (1663-1745)

Felix Mendelssohn (1809 – 1847)
Piano Trio No. 1 in D minor, Op. 49
      Molto allegro ed agitato
      Andante con moto tranquillo
      Scherzo: Leggiero e vivace
      Finale: Allegro assai appassionato

Antonín Dvořák (1841 – 1904)
Piano Trio No. 4 in E minor, “Dumky”
      Lento maestoso
      Poco adagio
      Andante moderato (quasi tempo di marcia)
      Lento maestoso

Posted on August 2, 2013
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