Hitting The High Notes: Diane Bolden-Taylor Helps Youths Find Their Voice

July 5, 2020

Diane Bolden-Taylor grew up in the Baptist church, where anyone with a voice would have an audience, and anyone who hit the high notes would be praised as a hero – regardless of their skin color.

She received multiple degrees, sang Opera professionally in Switzerland for 18 years, became fluent in German and taught voice at the University Of Northern Colorado.

Notably, she returned to her native St. Louis to expose classical vocal music to the young black community there. “And you know what?” Taylor said, “they absolutely love it!”

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Drum As You Are: Eric Riley Throws Down The Beat As A Black Musician In Metal

July 4, 2020

Even with all the fun Eric Riley has thrashing onstage with his longtime friend Nate Valdez, there is always that one drunk person who has to point it out: a black guy in a metal band!

“I mean, there’s not a lot of diversity [in the Colorado Metal scene] but it’s not really anyone’s fault,” said Riley, drummer for heavy rock duo In The Whale.

Riley grew up listening to black soul artists from the 60’s and 70’s, but the harder rock acts were where his heart was.

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Hayden Farr: Love and the March of an Angry Introvert

July 3, 2020

Until recently, the pandemic, and our directive to stay put, wasn’t all that hard for Hayden Farr, baritone sax player for The Burroughs and Trash Cat. Farr is an introvert, so when was invited to protest for Black Lives Matter in Denver, he declined.

“But I’m wondering,” Farr asked, “why do we need to have this conversation every two years? I wonder if it’s because people are stuck at home and forced to see what’s going on, or is it because people want to see a change?”

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If You’re Listening: Greg Carroll on the Black American Art Form with an Inherent Sense of Democracy

July 2, 2020

Even though it was the music that got Greg Carroll into his jazz career, he became a champion of the art form, teaching, preserving and protecting the history of it, because it is the music of his fellow black Americans. “It excites me to see everyone play it, but jazz was created by African Americans, born out of the experiences of people forced on this land as a way to honor their culture – the only thing that couldn’t be ripped away from them. It’s a gift to the world, and it’s welcome to everyone. But it’s historically black, and the more I got into it and learned the history of it, the more I appreciated that. It made me proud.”

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Highway To Heaven: Drive-Ins Revive The Live Music Experience

June 30, 2020

“I’ve reset my expectations with everything we do in the music business,” said Adam Aijala. “The best attitude is to just roll with it.” The last time his group Yonder Mountain String Band played was March 12, 2020. Then coronavirus hit. With band members scattered across different time zones in the lower 48, they made video collaborations. But then, their agent called. They had a gig. A live one. Blue Pig Presents in Cheyenne took a chance and installed a drive-in theater set-up at Terry Bison Ranch, booking Yonder Mountain live.

The idea of drive-in concerts spread almost as fast as the virus itself, with The Holiday Twin Drive-In Movie Theater in Fort Collins collaborating with FoCoMX to fill the festival void with their Drive & Jive concert series.

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Going For It: Live Music Returns, At A Distance

June 29, 2020

The Mishawaka Amphitheatre’s second live show during the pandemic happens at the night before Independence Day – and it’s not for the money. For independent music venues and clubs across Colorado, July 1 is perhaps as important as the day we celebrate our independence as a nation. Governor Polis’ new guidelines take effect that day, allowing the assembly of crowds which make live music possible, if not exactly feasible.

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The Fate Of Festival Future

June 5, 2020

Even right after she was the sickest she’d been in her life, Alison Hamling still cried after she essentially canceled Friday Fest in Downtown Greeley. Live music “pales in comparison” to the need to avoid a second wave, Hamling said, even as she hated her decision.

Concert producer Colin Bricker says “I find it hard to imagine pulling off any live music this summer. There’s just no way to do that.”

But WAIT! If you don’t mind sitting by your computer, part of Greeley’s summer festival season may in fact, still be on.

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In My Room: Music Teachers Turn To Online Methods, Keeping Musical Communities Together

June 4, 2020

With stay-at-home orders in place, students still want to make music with their teachers and with their peers. Fairview High School students in Boulder decided to try a “virtual choir.” Virtual ensembles, including choirs, are a huge trend worldwide, allowing musicians to collaborate with their friends, bandmates, or favorite artists from home. But putting together a collaboration of 15-plus people requires a lot of time, a hefty budget, and in this case, a supportive community.

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