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Les Dames d’Aspen

Mary Eshbaugh Hayes

In a year’s time, the newly reorganized Les Dames d’Aspen has reached a membership goal of 100, assuring the group that it has raised the funds needed to support Aspen arts groups.

Les Dames was organized in 1983 by Christine Aubale Gerschel as a fund-raising arm for DanceAspen. The women usually gave a gala dance, either in the summer or at New Year’s, and raised $100,000. In 2003 Les Dames was reorganized, raising funds by membership dues of $1,000 each, and turning the New Year’s dance over to the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet. Christine is again president of Les Dames. The group has also become more social, with members enjoying an annual luncheon at the Willow Creek restaurant at Aspen Highlands, ski parties at Snowmass, Aspen Highlands and Aspen Mountain, an art lecture at Galerie Maxillian, and upcoming summertime hikes in the mountains.

So far this year, Les Dames d’Aspen has given $83,200 to Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, of which $31,200 is for the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet and School, and $52,000 is for this summer’s Aspen Dance Festival. Checks for $6,400 went to the Aspen Writers’ Foundation and Aspen Theatre in the Park. A gift of $8,000 for college scholarships in the arts to students in the Aspen and Basalt school systems will be made toward the end of the school year. In addition, Les Dames will make a one-time donation of $1,000 to the Aspen Music Festival and School in honor of the late Robert Harth, who was president and CEO of the Music Festival from 1989 until 2001. Anyone wishing to join Les Dames may contact Christine Aubale Gerschel at P.O. Box 2985, Aspen, Colo., 81612.

Clay sculptor Barbara Sorensen has an exhibition of her monumental sculptures in the Harry P. Leu Gardens in Orlando, Fla., through the end of April. Barbara studied with Peter Voulkos and Aspenite Paul Soldner, leaders in the “Clay Revolution,” which stresses that working in clay is an art form, not to be confused with making utilitarian pots.

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Had a note from former Aspenite Ray Kashinski, who now lives in Haiku on the island of Maui in Hawaii. He reports that he recently sold his Dolphin House Bed and Breakfast and plans on traveling in China and other Asian countries and studying Buddhism with Master Yu in Kulun, Inner Mongolia.

Nathaniel Hope, son of Renna Walters Meshkov of Snowmass, has been named to the fall honors list for academic achievement at Wentworth Military Academy in Lexington, Missouri.

Music in the West End on Friday, March 26, starting at 7:30 p.m. will present David Korevaar on piano playing works by Brahms, Chopin, Liszt, Faure and Liebermann. The concert will be held in Christ Episcopal Church at 536 North St., which sponsors the free concerts.

Holding a launch party at the Sky Hotel for Aspen Magazine’s spring ski issue on March 22 will be Janet O’Grady and Janus Jazz Aspen Snowmass director James Horowitz. Janet reports that the Aspen Magazine parties are becoming known as the new town mixers ” people of all ages and types mixing with each other, including business people, second-home owners, artists, writers, photographers and people involved in all of Aspen’s nonprofits.

The Greater Yellowstone Coalition of Bozeman, Mont., is holding a benefit in Aspen on Saturday, March 27, with a picnic lunch on Aspen Mountain followed by a gala dinner at the Sundeck. The Yellowstone Coalition was founded in 1983 by a group of activists and scientists who were concerned about the wildlife habitat fragmentation around Greater Yellowstone National Park. The group of 13,000 people has been successful in protecting our public lands. Anyone wishing to attend the benefit may call Hans Figi at 800-775-1834.

A new book titled “Under the Midnight Sun: The Ascent of John Denver Peak and the search for the Northernmost Point of Land on Earth” by John Jancik, Steve Gardiner and Javana Richardson, with photographs by Galen Rowell, has been published by StarsEnd Creations Inc., in Denver. The book covers two mountain climbing expeditions in Greenland, one in 1996 and the second in 2001.

Writer-photographer Nancy Wood has been chosen to receive the Frank Waters Lifetime Achievement award for 2004 by the Friends of the Pikes Peak Library District and will receive the honor at a banquet on April 24 at the Sheraton Hotel in Colorado Springs. Frank Waters was born in Colorado Springs and wrote of Colorado, the Southwest and the peoples of the area. He was nominated twice for the Nobel Prize in Literature and was the first award recipient. Nancy also lived in Colorado Springs and now resides in Santa Fe. She has written more than 25 books, including four novels, seven children’s books and six nonfiction books. As a best-selling poet, her books have sold more than 500,000 copies. She wrote several of her collections of poetry during summers spent in Ashcroft near Aspen. She still comes to Aspen every summer in time to dance on top of Independence Pass and to attend Music Festival concerts. The poetry books are coupled with the paintings of American Indians. Also an accomplished photographer, Nancy has published two books documenting the Utes of Colorado and the Taos Pueblos Indians. For reservations for the banquet, call Jim Ciletti at 719-634-2367.

Undercurrent … I rejoice with each crocus and daffodil and tulip I see pushing up into the sunshine … and I have a bunch of snowdrops blooming by my front door.


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