The phrase, “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach,” doesn’t apply for faculty at iAM MUSIC. It’s a stupid phrase anyway, likely created by a one-hit wonder in the clever-phrase department who chose to blame a teacher for their own grammar school shortcomings.
Teachers at Durango’s iAM MUSIC both “do” and “teach,” imparting their expertise to young music students in the classroom while also imparting the sounds of whatever instrument they study-play-teach to your ears from the stages of a music venue.
Those teachers will be on stage performing for the iAM MUSIC Fest Summer Concert Series, the one-day-a-month music festival hosted by the local music school, kicking off June 22 and running one Saturday a month through Oct. 19 at 11th Street Station.
The festival will feature loads of local musicians, including students and iAM MUSIC faculty, in addition to local and regional bands.
“There will be a lot of bands we bring in that people don’t hear on a regular basis, but it features all of the faculty bands,” said Jesse Ogle, iAM MUSIC founder, program director and bass guitar instructor. “Sometimes, people ask me, ‘How is iAM MUSIC different from other institutions?’ Every instructor are all in professional bands and they’re adding to the scene here. We’re all about creating music and basically cultivating this creative artist economy.”
The decision to ditch a consecutive four-day event on multiple stages around town for hosting four bands on one stage once a month was made by faculty last year; it cuts down wear and tear on the organizers while giving attendees the option to attend during a time of year where people’s schedules are packed. Plans that coincide with a four-day festival means you miss the festival; spreading it out raises your chances of being able to catch one or two nights despite other plans.
“Last year, we just thought we’d try it with the one venue setting and it was way more successful, and it’s so much easier on us as a faculty because we’ve got lots of other things to do,” Ogle said. “We would hear people say, ‘I really want to go but I’m out of town that weekend’; but this way, you’re going to be able to catch at least one.”
Performing for the June 22 event will be local rock and funk band Elder Grown, R&B musician Alex Blocker with his band, Boulder funk band Jive Tribe, and Sean Farley.
The beauty of this event is that it gives the students a chance to shine; teaching these aspiring musicians how to play their instrument is one thing, but then what’s next? iAM MUSIC does what it can to cover all of the other steps, from booking tours to getting to the stage to playing a show.
“Every night opens up with our students. If you get there right when the event starts at 5, you’re going to see the first hour is iAM MUSIC students, either an ensemble, probably a couple solo acts. They might be accompanied by our faculty or guest faculty, so it’s really exciting for them to get to be part of a real festival,” said Executive Director Alissa Wolf.
“The whole point of iAM MUSIC is to develop,” Ogle said. “Students that can go out to the music industry and be successful, this is part of it.”
Additional festival dates will be July 20, Aug. 24, Sept. 21 and Oct. 19, and will include bands J-Calvin, Jerusafunk, Hello Dollface, Head for the Hills and Stillhouse Junkies.
Bryant Liggett is a freelance writer and KDUR station manager. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.