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Quebe Sisters Band returns to Pagosa Springs

Pagosa Folk ’N Bluegrass just two short weeks away, and one of the best parts of the festival, Free Friday, is an absolute do-not-miss event this year.

The Quebe Sisters Band and Halden Wofford and the Hi-Beams will perform in Town Park on Friday, June 4, from 5 to 8 p.m.. Then on Saturday and Sunday, the music moves up to Reservoir Hill for an exciting weekend of music on three different stages.

The festival lineup includes 10 other band as well, representing quite an array of musical genres — from Western swing to folk rock, bluegrass and newgrass. 2010 Pagosa Folk ’N Bluegrass performers (in addition to the two bands above) are: Darrell Scott, the Belleville Outfit, Darol Anger’s Republic of Strings, Missy Raines and the New Hip, Bearfoot, the Black Lillies, Matt Flinner Trio, Michael Cleveland and Flamekeeper, The Badly Bent and Honey Don’t.

If you catch their 6:30 p.m. set at Free Friday, you’ll notice that When Grace, Sophia and Hulda Quebe (pronounced kway-bee) take to a stage, audiences marvel — first when they raise their fiddles and play, then again at the intricacy of the sound issuing forth. When the girls sing their vintage-style three-part harmony, audiences are blown away. Add the rhythm guitar of Joey McKenzie and the upright bass of Drew Phelps, and the Quebe Sisters Band becomes a force of nature.

Whether it’s a Western swing classic a la Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys, a swing standard (Benny Goodman), vintage country shuffle (Ray Price) or Western anthem that would do Sons of the Pioneers proud, the girls are phenomenal. The house comes down, too, when they launch into bluegrass or a traditional, Texas old-time fiddle breakdown.

Reaction is the same wherever the Fort Worth-based group goes, and it’s been around — to concert halls, festivals, cowboy gatherings and rodeos across North America, as well as The Kennedy Center, the Grand Ole Opry and NYC’s Lincoln Center. Concert performances from Canada to California and Austin to Boston to Bangor, Maine, have included shows with Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder, Asleep at the Wheel, Merle Haggard, Riders in the Sky and The Reno Philharmonic.

Investor Warren Buffet was so impressed by the band’s rendition of “Red River Valley” at a Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting that he was moved to sit in with a ukulele and sing along. Singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett said the band has a “blend of swing with a dash of contemporary color — so unique in today’s music world,” and that its “cannonball of stage presence, stopped me in my tracks. Man, can they play.”

“Timeless,” the band’s debut album on FiddleTone Records, features the song “Red River Valley” along with Duke Ellington’s “Take the A Train,” Spade Cooley’s “Shame on You” and Hoagy Carmichael and Stuart Gorrell’’s “Georgia on My Mind” — just what is promised: a collection of band members’ favorite tunes by their favorite artists, given the QSB-style golden touch.

In 2008, the band showcased at Austin’s SXSW Music Festival and Media Conference. In 2007 the band won Group/Duo of the Year from the Academy of Western Artists and the Crescendo Award from the Western Music Association. As fast as a Texas fiddle breakdown, the Quebe sisters went from watching a fiddle contest and falling in love with real fiddle music to lessons with both band-mate-to-be and three-time world champion fiddler McKenzie and his wife, Sherry, to winning state, regional and national fiddle championships to singing together — finding themselves gloriously talented, loving it and joyful to share it with others.

In addition to their Free Friday set, the Quebe Sisters Band will play the main stage at Pagosa Folk ’N Bluegrass on Saturday, June 5, at 4 p.m.. Admission is free for children 12 and under accompanied by an adult. Tickets and additional information are available online at www.folkwest.com or by calling (877) 472-4672. You can also pick up tickets at the Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center downtown or on the west end of town at ReSport in the Country Center.

There may be a few volunteer positions available for the 2010 Pagosa Folk ’N Bluegrass festival. If you are interested in finding out more information about volunteering, please call Catherine at 731-5085.

Pagosa Folk ’N Bluegrass is supported by a grant from the Colorado Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Colorado General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.