Paul E. Anna: High Points | AspenTimes.com

Paul E. Anna: High Points

Paul E. AnnaThe Aspen TimesAspen, CO Colorado

Summer goes by fast. It seems like it was only yesterday that we were gearing up for the Food & Wine Classic and the summer solstice and now, here we are looking to the Fourth of July. OK, so it was just last week that we noshed and sipped under the tents and we’re still a week away from the 4th, but you get the idea. Summer can make time fly.June has been magnificent, as beautiful it can possibly be. The rainy weekend two weeks ago ended our long, cold spring and suddenly everything burst. The hills are as lush and green as I remember seeing them and the flowers are stunning. This is picture-postcard weather, the kind that gives Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley a good name.As far as the musical calendar goes, things are about to bloom there as well. Friday is the opening of the Jazz Aspen Snowmass June run with a kickoff concert from the great Harry Connick Jr. in the Benedict Music Tent. Think he will make you cry when he sings “Do You Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans”?That show will be followed Saturday night by a multi-artist, straight jazz program featuring bassist Christian McBride, sax phenom Maceo Parker and more, all laying it down for vocalists Patti Austin and Dianne Reeves. This is the 20th anniversary celebration for what has become one of the great institutions in this valley. All praise to Jim Horowitz for creating something superb where nothing existed before. Jazz Aspen Snowmass continues through the week until next Saturday, when Natalie Cole closes things out in the tent. The Tent will be a busy place all week, as the Aspen Music Festival kicks off its season Thursday evening with a performance by the Emerson String Quartet at 6 p.m. For those who love music of all kinds, there is a unique opportunity to begin the night with the Quartet at 6 and then hustle across town to the Little Nell for an 8 p.m. show featuring the Nicholas Payton Quintet. Only in Aspen can you see such great music in such great venues separated only by a walk through the magnificent West End.Next Friday brings the Boogie Bash to McLain Flats, which is the official launch of the Independence Day weekend. A killer party for a great cause, the Bash is a bit pricey with tickets ranging from $750 to $15K, but oh, what an evening it is. Proceeds go, as they have for the last 11 years that Boogie Weinglass has hosted the event, to the Buddy Program, which provides mentoring services for kids. If you can’t attend, then think about registering for the Boogie’s Diner Buddy Five-Mile run on the 4th. Go to buddyprogram.org.Finally, a can’t-miss free event this Sunday is the reopening of the Aspen Institute’s Walter Paepcke Memorial Building. An all-day affair that starts at 10 a.m., the reopening event is a great way to see the newly refurbished theater, learn a little Aspen history and stroll the grounds around the Meadows.There’s a lot to do around here. Better get up early.

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