By Mike McKibbin
Mom’s advice paid off for Hazel Miller.
It led the now-popular singer to leave her home as a young adult in Louisville, Ky., and eventually travel the world, performing jazz, gospel, blues and R&B.
“When I was 16, she saw me perform in a show and said, ‘You’re good at this. Go, get out of Louisville and see the world,’” Miller recalled. “She wanted me to branch out. So I did.”
While she didn’t quite make it to her destination of Los Angeles, California’s loss was Colorado’s gain, as Miller made Denver her home base for more than three decades.
Miller and her band will perform a free concert at Colorado Mountain College’s Rifle campus at 7 p.m. on Friday, April 24. This concert is sponsored by Chevron, with lodging provided by WPX Energy. An after-concert reception will be provided by Grand River Health. Hazel Miller and her band will perform in the Clough Auditorium at the Rifle campus, 3695 Airport Road.
They will also perform a free concert at the Climax Molybdenum Leadership Center, 901 South Highway 24, at Colorado Mountain College’s Leadville campus at 7 p.m. Saturday, April 25. This concert is sponsored by Colorado Mountain College ArtShare.
Meeting people highlights Miller’s travels
“Traveling is the best kind of education, too,” Miller said. “You meet so many different people at their levels. And one thing I always see is how we’re all more alike than we are different.”
The band has toured North America, Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Central America and has appeared in countless festivals, concerts and fundraisers. Last winter, Miller toured the U.S. with Big Head Todd and the Monsters, marking the 19th year the two bands have performed together.
The summer of 2014 featured festival appearances in Grand Junction, Del Norte, Pagosa Springs, Frisco, Breckenridge, Erie, Boulder and Telluride, not to mention Mississippi, New Mexico and Wyoming. The band has appeared many times at the historic Red Rocks Amphitheater as the headliner and as an opening act.
“I never get tired of traveling in Colorado,” Miller said.
Adding to music that people know
The music Miller and her band plan to perform will combine five different “jazz experiences,” she said, including swing, bebop and smooth jazz, along with the blues and gospel.
“We like to make the music enjoyable,” she said. “We took a song written by Stevie Nicks (of Fleetwood Mac), called ‘Dreams,’ and added a smooth jazz tempo with a layer of continental jazz feel. But people still recognize the song, because it’s Fleetwood Mac.”
Miller said the band also put a “funky dance beat” to Lee Ann Womack’s country hit, “I Hope You Dance.”
“We think it’s all right to like every kind of music because it all blends together in the end,” she said. “It’s all music. We hope they like it enough to get up and dance. If we don’t move them, it’s very disappointing.”
Colorado audiences are usually quite active, though.
“I think it’s that Western pioneer spirit, and the fact that Colorado loves all kinds of music,” she said. “It’s almost like they’re waiting for you and they never let you down. So when they jump up and dance, that’s our greatest accomplishment.”
For more information about the Hazel Miller Band in concert, call 970-947-8367. Find more about the vocalist and her band at hazelmiller.biz.
Playwright Georges Feydeau wrote “A Flea in Her Ear” more than 100 years ago. Now, modern-day playwright David Ives has updated this intentionally ridiculous bedroom farce. Sopris Theatre Company at Colorado Mountain College, formerly CMC Theatre, is presenting it in a five-performance run in April.
Directed by Brad Moore, the play takes the audience to Paris in 1900. A jealous wife suspects her husband of cheating on her, and tries setting him up to catch him in the act. What follows is a dizzying array of mistaken identities, secret passages and rotating beds – and all at a rendezvous spot named the Frisky Puss Hotel.
Curtain is 7 p.m. on April 10-11 and 16-18, and 2 p.m. on April 12 and 19, at the New Space Theatre at Colorado Mountain College in Glenwood Springs-Spring Valley, 3000 County Road 114.
Tickets are $15 for adults, and $10 for seniors, students and CMC faculty and staff, and are available by calling 947-8177 or going to coloradomtn.edu/theatre or http://bit.ly/1DTwtJa.
– See more at: http://enews.coloradomtn.edu/1907-french-farce-gets-21st-century-update-lands-on-the-cmc-stage/#more-19917
The slam gives local poets a venue to present their works (either memorized or read) to fellow poetry aficionados. The rules are minimal:
– The poem must be your own.
– The poem must be three minutes or less in length.
– Presenting poets are not allowed any props except for a folder.
– Poems must be presented solo – no group pieces or music.
This year, poems in Spanish are encouraged – or any language, though all poems must be translated to English. And if you’d like to attend a writing lab prior to the slam, two workshops, from 2-4 p.m. on Mondays at Colorado Mountain College in Breckenridge and Wednesdays at Colorado Mountain College in Dillon, are available.
The college’s eighth annual Poetry Slam is on March 26 at 7 p.m. in the Eileen and Paul Finkel Auditorium, Colorado Mountain College in Breckenridge, 107 Denison Placer Road. The event is free and open to the public.
For more information contact Joyce Mosher or Mark Palz at the college at 453-6757 or go to http://bit.ly/1AcrCQW.
– See more at: http://enews.coloradomtn.edu/poetry-slam-goes-multilingual-this-year/#more-19755
Opening reception Friday, March 6, from 6 to 8pm
The CMC ArtShare Gallery in downtown Glenwood Springs is hosting an exhibit of wide-ranging photographic works by Colorado Mountain College professional photography students March 6-April 28.
Because the college’s professional photography program encourages its students to develop their own ways of seeing, the show’s common denominator is the high quality of the photographic explorations in each image.
The photos range from award winners in the College Photographer of the Year competition; to journalistic, commercial and art prints; to unusual portraits and reflections on the human spirit. The college’s professional photography program is under the umbrella of CMC’s Isaacson School for New Media.
The exhibit will be on display through April 28 at the CMC ArtShare Gallery at 802 Grand Ave. in Glenwood Springs. An opening reception is set for Friday, March 6, from 6 to 8 p.m. The reception is free and open to the public.
The CMC ArtShare Gallery winter hours are weekdays 8 a.m.-5 p.m., and Saturdays 10 a.m.-4 p.m. For more information, call 970-947-8367.
CMC, Grand River Health form partnership for fundraising on March 11
Two entities in the Rifle community are preparing to raise funds while providing students opportunities to use their artistic and culinary skills for a worthy cause.
Organizers are busy getting ready for the March for Meals “Empty Bowls” Lunch event on March 11 at the Grand River Café at Grand River Health. The fundraiser – which provides a handcrafted bowl to keep, soup to fill it, bread and beverages in exchange for a $20 donation – raises money for the Grand River Meals on Wheels program. It’s being coordinated by staff from Grand River Health, and faculty and students from Colorado Mountain College in Rifle (see breakout box).
The idea for the collaboration started with Michelle McCurdy, an adjunct ceramics instructor at Colorado Mountain College in Rifle. Now, she and fellow ceramics faculty and students are busy making 100 ceramic bowls that will soon be filled with hot soup.
“I mentioned it, and it has taken on a life of its own,” said McCurdy. “Now, we’re busy creating beautiful bowls for the event.”
The hot soup will be made in Grand River Health’s kitchen by nine local students from Rifle and Coal Ridge high schools. The students are in CMC’s concurrent enrollment culinary arts program. As part of their internships at Grand River Hospital’s kitchen, on March 11 they’ll work in teams with two of Grand River’s chefs and CMC chef instructor for the dual enrollment class. The students receive both high school and college credit for their culinary arts studies and internships at Grand River Health.
“I love how CMC ceramics students are making the bowls and CMC culinary arts students are making the soups,” said Kaaren Peck, the director of volunteer services and Meals on Wheels at Grand River Health. “It seems to perfectly bring together many seemingly disconnected pieces.”
Although the fundraiser is a locally focused effort, it’s based on national and international models. Across the country and around the world, Meals on Wheels and the Empty Bowls Project conduct ongoing events to raise money and bring awareness about hunger issues and provide funds to food distribution efforts.
What: March for Meals “Empty Bowls” Luncheon
A fundraising partnership with Colorado Mountain College-Rifle’s ceramics and culinary students for Grand River Meals on Wheels
When: 11:11 a.m. to 1:11 p.m. on March 11
Where: Grand River Café, 501 Airport Road, Rifle
How much: $20 includes a student-crafted ceramic bowl and soup lunch prepared by
Colorado Mountain College culinary arts students
Why: To raise money for Grand River Meals on Wheels, and to bring public awareness to those confronting hunger
Photojournalist, CMC instructor’s photo exhibit at Glenwood Springs Branch Library
Photographs by noted photojournalist Klaus Kocher are on exhibit at the Glenwood Springs Branch Library beginning Feb. 24. An opening reception will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. on Feb. 26 at the library.
Kocher, who is on the faculty of the Isaacson School for New Media at Colorado Mountain College, teaches photo history, composition, wet darkroom and photojournalism. His photos reflect his international upbringing. Born in Santiago, Chile, to his Swiss father and Dominican mother, he has lived in the United States, Costa Rica, Honduras, Germany and Mexico.
The Glenwood Springs Branch Library is at 815 Cooper Ave. and is open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sundays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call the library at 945-5958 or go to gcpld.org for more information.
Colorado Mountain College presents lively ‘community music’ Feb. 20. By Carrie Click
By this time, winter may be getting you down, but an upcoming live concert at Colorado Mountain College in Rifle is sure to pick up the spirits of even the most ornery among us. Not only that – the concert is free and Grand River Health is sponsoring a complementary post-concert reception.
Swing Je T’aime will perform in the Clough Auditorium at CMC’s campus in Rifle from 7 to 9 p.m. on Feb. 20.
Swing Je T’aime is a Denver-based group that features a six-piece band and female vocalist. If you like the music of the great gypsy jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt, you’ll enjoy the music of Swing Je T’aime. And if Reinhardt’s name doesn’t ring a bell, give it a try – gypsy jazz is among the most accessible forms of jazz. And if you know how to swing dance, all the better.
“I chose them because I love gypsy swing music, and thought that the people in Rifle would love them too,” said Alice Beauchamp, CMC ArtShare director, who books concerts and arranges art exhibits and cultural events at the college’s 11 locations.
Beauchamp was right. It turns out that this is a return gig for Swing Je T’aime in Rifle.
“After booking them, I found out that they have played for the Rifle summer concert series,” Beauchamp said. “People loved them and asked that they return someday.”
The group describes itself as “gypsy jazz, Parisian swing, American swing and a dash of Brazilian,” and is a favorite at Front Range venues such as the Five Points Jazz Festival, the Denver Botanic Gardens and the Cherry Creek Arts Festival. They’ve also played around the state including shows in Crested Butte, Beaver Creek and Pueblo, and will be touring Europe later this spring.
“Gypsy jazz is community music,” said Aaron Walker, the group’s director and guitarist. “It’s the farthest thing from the academic, abstract jazz that we find in clubs today. Rather, it’s a pleasing blend of folk music from around the globe.”
Walker, in contrast to his group’s non-academic focus, received his master’s degree in music composition and theory from the University of Northern Colorado. He founded Swing Je T’aime in 2009, which currently includes vocals, lead guitar, rhythm guitar, fiddle, reeds (clarinet and saxophone), bass and percussion.
They’ll take the stage at the Clough Auditorium at Colorado Mountain College in Rifle, 3695 Airport Road, from 7 to 9 p.m. on Feb. 20. The concert is sponsored by Chevron. For more information about the concert, contact Beauchamp at 947-8367 or go to http://coloradomtn.edu/event/swing-je-taime-concert/.