I’ve been following with great sadness the news concerning the Black Forest and Canon City area fires.
I cannot imagine how hard this situation is for everyone in this community. For all those suffering the loss of their homes, or having had to leave home without knowing if they would return. And also for the entire community dealing with emotional heartache again, just one year after the terrible Waldo Canyon wildfires.
We must not forget that there are real people working very hard, giving their best to put an end to this Dante-esque picture. As we learned last year, this community has the willpower and tenacity to pick itself up and rebuild.
I strongly believe that it is in this kind of difficult moment when the meaning and the importance of the arts is at its greatest. More specifically, the arts organizations that serve our community and the people involved in them can have a real impact.
The Colorado Springs Philharmonic, the organization to which I proudly belong, has as a mission to serve our community in the best way it can. The Philharmonic is the face of many people, human beings who do their best to support one another and deliver a dose of hope and promise of a new day dawning after the fires subside. The men and women of the Philharmonic, like so many of you, are driven to serve our community.
And we’ll continue doing so, with the same energy and conviction as our vision demands.
Monica’s (I’m sure Marc’s as well) and my thoughts are with all of you.
Let’s hope for the best,
In anticipation of Summer Symphony‘s return to Colorado Springs in late June, we’ve invited members of the community to share their memories and impressions of this exciting event. This is the third post in a series. Next up: Phil Lane,
Words by: Lisa Tessarowicz and Hannah Parsons, cofounders, Epicentral Coworking
Between the two of us, we know how to run a coworking space, how to buy and sell real estate, and how to manage assets. Something we don’t know much about is music. When we show up at Epicentral Coworking in the morning we have three important tasks: turn on the lights, make the coffee, and choose the music. We have each spent minutes, sometimes many, many, many minutes agonizing over the right music to play. But here’s what we’ve learned: when in doubt, play classical. We have a very diverse group of members, all with their own musical preferences, but no one ever complains and no fights ensue when we play classical. Classical music is always appropriate, no matter the task at hand. Classical music can make you productive, relaxed, creative, energized, or focused. Classical music is never the wrong choice.
So, we spend a lot of our time building community, and we’ve found classical music to be a key factor, which is why we couldn’t be more excited about the return of Summer Symphony. We can’t wait to bring our family, friends, coworking members, picnics, blankets, and chairs to parks all around the city and enjoy this much missed series. There are few things that can bring a community together like free music outside. And there is no better way to celebrate our community, its beauty, and its talented residents than by meeting in our parks and listening to the Philharmonic. We are big proponents of eliciting pride in our city, elevating the reputation of Colorado Springs, and increasing community attachment. The Summer Symphony does all of this and more. The outdoor series makes us proud to live here; we have beautiful parks, delightful evenings, a highly acclaimed Philharmonic, and amazing neighbors. The Summer Symphony is also the perfect opportunity to meet up with friends, plan a date night, watch your kids dance, meet new people, and make positive memories.
We are very aware of the importance of building a community that invests in its children. We want the children in our community to be innovators, creators, artists, and citizens. We know the best way to introduce important issues to children is through simple, fun events. We can’t think of a better way to encourage a love and appreciation of the Symphony than to bring it to the parks on summer evenings.
So get your friends and family together, plan your picnic menu, pack up your blankets and chairs, and meet us at the park – we can’t wait to see you there!
The Colorado Springs Philharmonic extends our heartfelt thoughts and prayers to members of our community affected by the fires throughout Southern Colorado. Our musicians, board, volunteers, and staff are praying for a speedy conclusion to this disaster.
In anticipation of Summer Symphony‘s return to Colorado Springs in late June, we’ve invited members of the community to share their memories and impressions of this exciting event. This is the second post in a series. Next up: Lisa Tessarowicz and Hannah Parsons, cofounders, Epicentral Coworking
Words by Kent Obee, former chair, Colorado Springs Parks and Recreation:
I am delighted to see the Colorado Springs Philharmonic return to the parks this summer. Our outstanding orchestra and our equally outstanding parks system represent the very best of Colorado Springs. The combination of these two unique assets – a partnership that began forty years ago – has become a cherished Colorado Springs tradition enjoyed by thousands of local residents and out-of-town visitors alike.
Since their initiation in the summer of 1973 by Bee Vradenberg and Charles Ansbacher, Summer Symphony has become an important part of what makes us unique as a community. Our physical setting in the shadow of Pikes Peak with its foreground of uplifted red sandstone is unsurpassed anywhere in the country. Our system of parks, open spaces, and trails compliment this setting and make it possible for all of us to enjoy and interact with the natural landscape. Add a quality symphony orchestra to this setting to celebrate our national independence and our own community commemorations and you have summer magic and ultimately a greater sense of pride and connection to Colorado Springs.
Many of us felt a deep sense of loss when the summer concerts were suspended after the 2009 season for budgetary reasons. Yes, it was possible to understand the hard fiscal realities, but there was still an undeniable emptiness with its loss. The return of Summer Symphony is an important part of the message that Colorado Springs is back and thriving.
It is altogether appropriate that the first of this summer’s concerts will be held in Mountain Shadows Park. The Waldo Canyon fire shook this community as much as any event in recent memory. It was a reminder that while we live in a special environment, it is also a fragile one – and one not without risks. The Mountain Shadows concert is a fitting memorial to what was lost in last summer’s tragedy, but also a tribute to the strength and resilience of our community. The concerts are back and, in time, so will Mountain Shadows.
I hope Summer Symphony is both a great success – and, even more importantly, the first in a long line of such successes. I also hope the Philharmonic, the City, El Pomar Foundation, Anschutz Foundation, the El Paso County Enterprise Zone, and many other generous funding partners will continue to be creative in their search for appropriate venues for the summer concerts. The acquisition of the Red Rock Canyon Open Space is the finest gift the city has given itself since accepting the donation of the Garden of the Gods from the Perkins family nearly a century before. While it would come with some considerable logistical challenges, wouldn’t a summer Philharmonic concert in Red Rock Canyon be another great celebration of this community success story?
In anticipation of Summer Symphony‘s return to Colorado Springs in late June, we’ve invited members of the community to share their memories and impressions of this exciting event. This is the first post in a series. Next up: Kent Obee, Former Chair, Colorado Springs Parks and Recreation.
Words by Jill Tiefenthaler, president of Colorado College:
Last summer, following the chaos, anxiety, and devastation of the Waldo Canyon Fire, thousands of people gathered on Armstrong Quad at Colorado College for an evening of music. They unfolded their lawn chairs, spread out their blankets, and unpacked their picnic dinners. Members of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic took their seats on a large stage that had been erected in front of Armstrong Hall. The evening was cool, relative to the intense heat of the previous weeks, and smoke had cleared enough that a few scattered stars shone in the darkening sky. The Free For All Summer Symphony, which included music from Mozart to John Williams’ Star Wars, celebrated Bee Vradenburg and Charles Ansbacher, two champions of the arts in Colorado Springs. The accidental timing of the concert, in the wake of an event that rocked our city, also celebrated the vitality of our community; it demonstrated the unifying, restorative power of experiencing music together under our beautiful, though smoky, night sky.
The concert last summer is one event of many in a decades-long history of collaboration between the Colorado College faculty, students, visitors, and the Colorado Springs Philharmonic. In the two years that I have been at CC, we have worked together on a variety of projects that demonstrate our shared belief that talented musicians and the work they do is integral to a vibrant community. When I first arrived at CC, I was delighted to discover that many of our faculty members in the music department are also musicians with the Colorado Springs Philharmonic, including the Associate Conductor, Thomas Wilson. Many other partnerships come to mind. Last spring, students in a film studies class created a visual accompaniment to the Philharmonic’s performance of Holst’s The Planets. And earlier this year, I attended an incredible sold-out performance in which our artist-in-residence, lecturer, and Summer Music Festival director Susan Grace performed with the Philharmonic. The connection between the Philharmonic and Colorado College is a strong one, so it was with great pleasure that I learned of the return of the Summer Symphony series.
This June, on the one-year anniversary of the Waldo Canyon Fire, in a park in the neighborhood most affected by the fire, the Colorado Springs Philharmonic will give us the opportunity, in the form of a commemorative concert, to gather again. We will honor the families who lost their homes, the businesses whose structures burned, the dedication of those who worked to protect our community, and the generosity and resilience of the people who live here. This concert, the first of four, marks the return of the Summer Symphony series forty years after its inaugural season, and it symbolizes all that music can and should be in our city: a reason to come together for different purposes and around different themes, but always in recognition of the depth and breadth of human experience.
Three more concerts in the month of July celebrate many of the aspects of our community that I have come to know and enjoy: the diversity and beauty of our public open spaces; the talented, multifaceted musicians that have formed one of the cultural mainstays of Colorado Springs; and a community that loves the outdoors and the opportunity to enjoy the arts together. The Independence Day concert in Memorial Park revives a long-time tradition of bringing together thousands of people from Colorado Springs and beyond for music and fireworks in the center of our city. The concert at the Sky Sox Stadium captures the hometown feel of our own baseball team, with a view to our skyline and the grandeur of Pikes Peak in one direction and the vast prairie in the other. The final concert in the Summer Symphony series brings us back west to the foothills at Bear Creek Park, surrounded by boulders, scrub oak and conifers, and in the shadow of our mountains. The music will be as wide-ranging as the landscape: from classics by American composers to contemporary tunes by Journey.
Summer Symphony recognizes something important about Colorado Springs: we are a diverse community, in many ways defined by our geography, and fortunate to live in such a breathtaking place. Music, especially that which is created and performed within this landscape, has the power to connect and show us what we share. At Colorado College, we strive to bring music of all sorts in an array of venues to our students and the community as a whole. We are excited for the return of the Summer Symphony, which embodies this vision.