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Stage Productions

Mary Eshbaugh Hayes

In the autumn in Aspen, there are always two marvelous musical productions. In October it’s the John Denver Memorial Concert at the Wheeler Opera House, a benefit for Challenge Aspen. Former band members and friends come from all over the country to perform three nights’ worth of John’s songs. John’s fans also come from all over the country and hold hands and sing along with many of the pieces. When the concert ends with “This Old Guitar” and John’s guitar center stage … there is never a dry eye in the house.

Then in November comes the musical presented by Aspen Community Theatre. This year it was “Mame,” and the cast celebrated with a party for all.

As another benefit for Challenge Aspen, some 31 people from the Roaring Fork Valley, Chicago and Texas all ran in a marathon in Lausanne, Switzerland. Mardell Burkholder, director of Challenge Aspen, reports that everyone finished the marathon. It was along Lake Geneva, and bands welcomed them in every little town they ran through.

The Roaring Fork Friends of the Women’s Foundation of Colorado will hold a “Speaker’s Lunch” from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 3, at the Aspen Meadows. Speaker will be Dr. Diana Sirko, superintendent of the Aspen School District, talking about “Dynamics for Education Today.” For reservations, call 920-2112, ext. 2805.

Artist Rita Blitt, who spends summers at her Aspen home, is included in an exhibit titled “Of Myth and Metaphor, Arabesque and Line: Flights of Transformation in Contemporary Sculpture” at the Walter Wickiser Gallery in New York City.

Paintings by Cynthia Brown will hang from Dec. 1-31 at Bella Mia Restaurant in El Jebel. Cynthia is the daughter of the late artist Jeanie Renchard. She says her paintings were inspired by Colorado’s Roaring Fork Valley and Baja California, Mexico.

A talk about Africa and book-signing by Joseph Lekuton will be held Friday, Nov. 28, at 5 p.m. in the conference room at the Mountain Chalet. Joseph will talk for 45 minutes about his book, “Facing the Lion,” which relates his experience growing up in the Northern Frontier District of Kenya as an Ariaal, a subgroup of the Maasai tribe. The book continues with his attending secondary school and earning a scholarship to study in the United States. He became a teacher at Langley School in Virginia and took eighth-grade students and their parents to Kenya every spring. Then it was on to Harvard for his master’s degree in international education. He is currently back at Langley, teaching social studies and coaching soccer. Andy Hanson of Aspen went twice on the spring trip with Joseph; Andy’s wife, Georgia Hanson, went once. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Sheri Slesinger and Carl Hall announce the birth of a daughter, Ashli Elise Slesinger-Hall, on Aug. 15 in Aspen Valley Hospital.

Former Aspenite Mark Shaw will be moving back to town after Thanksgiving. He has founded the “Books For Life Foundation,” which educates aspiring writers about publishing alternatives. Mark is going to open an office here and will be counseling authors. He has written a book titled “Book Report” that gives publishing strategies, writing tips and 101 literary ideas. A former attorney, Mark co-founded the Aspen Daily News. He was a network TV correspondent and host for ABC’s Good Morning America, CBS’s People, and CNN. He has also written 13 books.

Undercurrent … The willow trees, especially the globe willows, are the first to turn green in the spring and the last to lose their leaves in the fall. They are still green in Glenwood.


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