The evening was warm, but the party was a tad on the icy side when Music in the Mountains held its Kickstart Martini Party at Toh-Atin Gallery March 23.
Icy in terms of chilling the martinis, icy in terms of keeping the huge silver bowl of shrimp fresh and icy because champion snow sculptor Keith Martin created an ice violin (with wooden bridge and real strings) for the occasion. Although it was really quiet without the hollow wooden body to create the reverb when San Juan Symphony principal violist Hayley Bair played it, it was still cool, both literally and figuratively.
After winter (even though we didn’t have much of one this year), this event provides an opportunity to catch up with friends not seen since last year’s Music in the Mountains festival; check out the art that will be used on this year’s programs, tickets and promotional materials; get a sneak peek at the coming summer’s festival – and score a world-class musician for a private party in one’s own home.
Music in the Mountains is fortunate to have a committed group of volunteers called the High Notes, who put an enormous amount of time and energy into its fundraisers, and they came through again for this party.
The event was catered by Hot Tomatoes. There were chocolate truffles for afters, courtesy of Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. Durango Coffee Co. provided the caffeine, and Stan and Alice Crapo of Star Liquors once again kept both the wine and Kinky vodka liqueur flowing for those aforementioned martinis.
A number of men, who volunteered as bartenders, were willing to get all duded up in tuxedos, without the jackets, but, oh, those white shirts and black bow ties do set a scene. They were Martin Smith, Bud Burgess, George Widmeyer, Chuck Jenney and Dick Reitz.
Annie Simonson provided the shrimp for the aforementioned silver bowl, which has been loaned by Mary Jane Clark for more than 20 years. That’s not all she’s loaned – she and son, Jackson Clark, have opened up the gallery for this event for more than two decades as well.
And was it packed. More than 120 people – make that more than 130 people if you include the artists – filled Toh-Atin with chatter and laughter. Ten artists (although not all of them were there) created artwork for the festival.
Melanie Kirkpatrick’s piece “High Notes,” was selected as the signature piece for the season, and it will be auctioned off at Pops Night during the festival season. It was fun to see a piece by high school freshman Kate Petty included in the offerings. Other artists working in all kinds of media, including photography donating pieces included Amy Bousamra, Cheryl Roberts Lee, Ann Smith, Cas Calley, Susan Giddings, Paul Boyer, Ron Martin and Thaddine Swift Eagle.
Their pieces were all sold via silent auction at the Kickstart party.
Calvin and Pat Story of Treasure Auction once again donated their services to sell 10 packages of musicians (and sometimes catering) to perform in people’s homes. I’ve been invited to a few of these over the years (hint, hint), and it’s always a special, intimate evening.
Some longtime festival favorites will be returning this year, and Philippe Quint and Aviram Reichert, both amazing musicians, donated evenings. (Quint and Vadim Gluzman will be reprising their violin duel, which was one of my favorite memories over the past 28 years. I can hardly wait!)
Music in the Mountains is welcoming a new Conservatory artistic director this year after founder Arkady Fomin retired. Grammy-winner Matt Albert, who will be in town April 19 to meet with the community, parents and students, donated an ensemble package. The mother-daughter duo of Heidi Trevor Itashiki and Chloe Trevor will play for a lucky bidder; Phillip Kramp, Sarah Frisof and Anne Eisfeller will present a violin, flute and harp trio; the Altius String Quartet from Dallas, who are joining Conservatory faculty this year, also donated an evening. Those lovely Russians Aleksandr Snytkin, Oleg Sulyga and Dmitry Kustanovich along with Marie-Thaïs Levesque Oliver promised an evening of musical elegance, and Music in the Mountains Musical Director Guillermo Figueroa and longtime friend Nicolò Eugelmi are teaming up for an evening that promises to provide great music and some fun, as the two are quite looking forward to playing together.
And the big money getter of the evening was the hometown talent of Jonathan Latta and his Jazz Ensemble.
Executive Director Angie Beach also took the opportunity to introduce her new staff: Kendra Holmes, operations manager; Jan Williams, programs and education director; Molly Oswald, office manager; and one veteran of the intense festival season, Cory Jameson, accounting.
Only three and a half months to go before the music fills the tent.
No foolin’, it’s time to wish these folks happy birthday (even those on April 1) – Niki Moore, Martha Simpson, Chris Aaland, Wanda Caldwell, Mary Foreman, Emrys Taylor, Matthew Lavengood, Alex Salter, Marty Knickerbocker, Charlie Buhl, Brian Drover, Sara Tyler, Melissa Watt, Jane Wright, Rhonda Polsfut, Charlie Kolb, Scott Kuhn, John Stordahl, Irene Short, Meredith Page, Evelyn Ireton Gaylor, Christopher Van Dyck, Megan Krischke, Lawrence Myers, Lee Ann Harbison, Claudia Patterson, Gabe Cox, Steve Hopkins, Samme Newcomer, Lainey Wilson, Micha Chee and Trinity Griego.
Happy birthday wishes go out to one of my favorite people, Matt Kramer.
Durangoan Michael Kuss was seriously injured when he was going downstairs and missed a step, falling all the way down. He is in intensive care awaiting surgery in Denver for a broken vertebra in his neck and some cards and notes would be greatly appreciated.
His address is Room 212, St. Anthony Hospital, 11600 W. 2nd Place, Lakewood, CO 80228.