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Holy Water and Whiskey to perform at the community center

Holy Water and Whiskey performs traditional and contemporary American folk music, at 7 p.m., Friday, March 9, at the Ross Aragon Community Center.

The beer/wine cash bar opens at 6:30 p.m. Come early and socialize. You’re invited to bring a dessert to share at intermission. Interested in volunteering? Please call the center. Advance tickets are $12. Tickets at the door are $15. Young people, 18 and under, will be admitted free. Purchase advance tickets at the community center or Boulder Coffee Cafe.

Holy Water and Whiskey will have you smiling from ear to ear from their first note. The group bases its arrangements on rich vocal harmonies, accompanying themselves on guitar, banjo and bass. Their music is reminiscent of American folk music, gospel, Old English street songs and just a hint of old Bostonian sailing music. Their music is like hearing what you see when birds change formation in mid-flight: seamless.

The group consists of Maggie Washburne on bass, Scott Altenbach on guitar and Bruce Washburne on guitar and banjo. All three began performing professionally in the 1960s, earning money to put themselves through college. Maggie and Scott are biology professors. Bruce is a social worker in charge of a VA program assisting blind veterans. They are folks with a strong connection to the land. The Washburnes operate a farm in Cuba, N.M.

Altenbach has been living on his off-the-grid, self-sufficient farm in the south valley of Albuquerque for 35 years. Altenbach is a renowned rattlesnake expert. He has owned the world’s largest collection of rattlesnakes, including every type of rattlesnake in North and South America. After getting a few too many bites, he shifted and became a bat expert. He is now the foremost photographer of bats, having published his own book of bat photos, as well as having them published in National Geographic. He has also written many articles about bats.

In his youth, Altenbach was a hard-rock miner in Colorado. Now he does contract work throughout the Southwest — combining his mining experience with his biology expertise. At any given moment, Altenbach may be dangling on a rope three hundred feet down a vertical shaft exploring to inner life of an old mine. He’s got some great tales to tell about it. Altenbach is a fascinating guy. He’s also into old steam engines and has a steam tractor and steam mine hoist that he rebuilt.

“There’s nothing like harmonies and some good jokes to restore sanity, if you had it in the first place,” quips Altenbach of cowboy songs, gospel and bluegrass. “We are interested in music, our kids, horses, steam engines, trains, farming, humor, small towns, meeting interesting people and family,” he said.

Expect a fun, interactive evening, as the band genuinely believes that music and laughter are universally healing. Come hear why Holy Water and Whiskey keeps getting invites back to perform in Pagosa.

The community center is located at 451 Hot Springs Blvd. For ticket information, call 264-4152.

The Ross Aragon Community Center produces this concert in collaboration with Elation Center for the Arts.

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