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Current events

Soprano Katrina Klawiter, top, of Aspen, pianist Marybeth Riskey, right, of Eagle, and violist Stephanie Mientka, front, of Grand Junction.
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For several years, Symphony in the Valley has honored the moms in the valley by letting the kids do the work on Mother’s Day. The annual Mother’s Day concerts have spotlighted the winners of the symphony’s Young Artists Concerto Competitions, giving local student musicians a chance to perform with an orchestra. This year’s concerts – Saturday, May 12, at 7 p.m. at Aspen’s Harris Hall; and Sunday, May 13, at 2;30 p.m. in the Glenwood Springs High School – feature Eagle pianist Marybeth Riskey and Grand Junction violist Stephanie Mientka, both high school seniors; and Katrina Klawiter, a 12-year-old soprano from Aspen Middle School. And let’s not forget the older folks. Three seasoned vocalists – soprano Heidi Paul, tenor Paul Dankers and bass Scott MacCracken – are featured in a performance of Orff’s “Carmina Burana.” (Those who saw Dankers perform a song from “Jesus Christ Superstar” at Aspen Community Theatre’s recent 30th anniversary celebration know what they are in for.) Also on the program are orchestral pieces by Berlioz and Scarlatti.

The frontmen of the National Jam Foundation could simply pound the pavement, asking for donations for the music departments in local schools. But Biff Phillips and Dan Sadowsky, who founded the nonprofit group nine years ago, are musicians themselves and know the value of a good onstage jam. Hence the Basalt Battle of the Bands, which allows kids to compete for prizes that benefit their schools’ music programs. This year’s Battle, set for Saturday, May 19, in Basalt’s Lions Park, will feature 30 acts – garage rockers, guitar-strumming folkies, jazz bands and more – on two stages, plus a special set by Woody Creeker John Oates, half of the pop duo Hall & Oates. Not only do the participating musicians and their schools benefit, but so does the town. The Battle of the Bands has turned into a community festival, with a silent auction and food and crafts booths lining the streets of downtown Basalt.

Video is the medium of the current youth generation; a student film is the equivalent of the garage bands of the past. The Rocky Mountain Student Filmfest allows parents and younger siblings to peek into the garage and see what the kids are up to. Begun in 2000 as an outlet for filmmakers from valley schools, the festival has gradually expanded; this year’s Filmfest – which concludes its two-day run Saturday, May 12, at Glenwood Springs High School – is open to students from throughout Colorado. From 66 entries, the field was whittled down to 47 finalists in six categories – animation, action sports, artistic/experimental, comedy, drama and documentary – with prizes awarded in each group.


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