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‘Pianist, Poet, Comedian’

John Graves performs in a concert entitled “Pianist, Poet, Comedian,” this Friday, Sept. 17, with Johnny K, Natalie Oman and DC Duncan at the Ross Aragon Community Center.

A pre-concert social with background music begins at 6 p.m. The concert begins at 7. Free coffee and nibbles will be available throughout the evening. Beer and wine will be available for purchase. Advance tickets for $10 are available at Higher Grounds Coffee Company and the community center until Friday at noon. Tickets at the door are $12. Young people, 18 and under, will be admitted free. 

Every mountain village needs a celebrity. For Pagosa, John Graves fits the bill. As performer, producer, writer, consultant and mentor, Graves is a prolific contributor to the cultural scene, and he has a local following of enthusiastic fans that avail themselves every opportunity to see him perform.

It’s one thing to here Graves play background music at a fund-raiser or restaurant. It’s quite another to appreciate his spectrum of talents in a concert setting.

In Graves’ book, “Just Say Yes,” he likens his life to an ad lib musical solo.

“In the ad lib solo of life,” he writes, “the soaring inspired moments may be sporadic. But the joy of discovery, the surprise of unexpected accomplishments, and the satisfaction of meaningful relationships occur with surprising frequency.”

As performer in the music business, executive and producer in the television and film industries, and college professor of mass communication, Graves has had plenty of opportunities to ad lib. Graves reference to meaningful relationships would have to include the three outstanding artists who will join him in “Pianist, Poet, Comedian,” of whom he said the following:

“Johnny K, now in his mid thirties, probably knows more songs from the twenties, thirties, and forties that any of my aged contemporaries. And in his case, knowing a song means that he can perform it with style and professionalism.

“Natalie Oman, Johnny’s wife, brings beauty, charm, and a lovely voice to her distinctive vocal performances. In addition, her insights as an actress enable her to discover and deliver subtle nuances in her presentations.

“Finding a drummer of DC Duncan’s incredible ability in a town the size of Pagosa Springs was one of the most surprising and gratifying experiences of my musical lifetime. His technical virtuosity, range of experience, and creativity make him the best drummer I have ever worked with—anywhere.”

With plenty of music, laughs, fun and surprises, “Pianist, Poet, Comedian” is a rare opportunity to experience the multifaceted talents of John Graves, Pagosa cultural icon, with his highly talented friends: world-class percussionist DC Duncan, and consummate song stylists Johnny K and Natalie Oman, Friday, Sept. 17, at the community center.

“Pianist, Poet, Comedian” is presented by The Ross Aragon Community Center in collaboration with Elation Center for the Arts.

The Ross Aragon Community Center is located at 451 Hot Springs Blvd. For further information, call 264-4152.