Arts & Entertainment – The Pagosa Springs SUN The most trusted source for news and information about Pagosa Springs, Colorado. Thu, 02 Apr 2020 17:32:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Gracelyn Kiker named performing arts apprentice Mon, 06 Apr 2020 11:00:32 +0000

Gracelyn Kiker

By Dale Johnson
Special to The PREVIEW
Curtains Up Pagosa (CUP) and the Pagosa Springs High School Performing Arts Department partner together in sponsoring a student apprentice program that supports an eighth-grade actor participating in the annual high school musical and CUP summer show.
The student chosen must have participated in a number of performances and musicals, show a high level of interest in the performing arts, and have exhibited both leadership skills and a strong sense of maturity and responsibility.
This year’s eighth-grade performing arts apprentice is Gracelyn Kiker, who has been hard at work in rehearsals for the high school’s spring show, “Matilda the Musical.”
Kiker’s first show was CUP’s “Snow White,” where she was a forest animal. Other productions with CUP include: “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Hollydaze,” “Elf,” “The Nutcracker,” “Tarzan” and “Willy Wonka.” She was also cast as Young Cossette in “Les Misérables,” and in “The Jungle Book” and “Willy Wonka” with Thingamajig Theatre Company; high school musicals were “Mary Poppins” and “Matilda.”
Kiker has taken voice lessons and piano lessons with Venita Burch for many years and has played saxophone with the Pagosa Springs Middle School band. She enjoys playing ukelele, guitar and bass; and additionally takes dance lessons. Kiker has been the recipient of several vocal and dance scholarships through CUP.
Although performances for “Matilda” were recently postponed, Kiker has been very strong and a standout vocalist in her rehearsals as Hortensia, one of Matilda’s classmates and friends.

Artists Lane: High-tech for the high-waisted Sat, 04 Apr 2020 11:00:22 +0000 By Betty Slade
PREVIEW Columnist
I have taken a deep dive into the world of cloud-based technology. I was lost in the weeds and challenged in the beginning. As time has gone on, I suddenly felt like I am being lifted up in a hot air balloon. It is something that I could only describe as exhilarating and scary at the same time.
Due to the need for social distancing, my writer’s group decided to postpone our weekly meeting. The decision was met with disappointment although it had to be made.
I told my Sweet Al that I had an idea. I wanted to turn the writer’s group into an online video conference.
He, of course knowing me all too well, said, “Your ideas are like a wild hair that needs to be plucked. And, you won’t rest until you do it.”
I have been a part of webinars and video conferences for a couple of years. I haven’t, however, had to orchestrate an entire team’s attendance and agenda until recently. This goes beyond mere talking points. As a host, I would need to be ready to field questions about cameras, microphones and virtual etiquette.
Most of the members of my writers’ group are of a certain age. There were some apprehensions when I first presented the idea of having a virtual meeting. But if I could do it, anyone could.
It is one thing to experience your own learning curve. Magnify that by 200 when you are trying to walk someone through their own. Of the 20 or so attendees in my weekly writer’s group, only a small handful have attended an online meeting.
Before my first video call, I had to ask my son how to install the application. Now I know how to share my screen. But please don’t ask me to tell you how to do it unless you want to see my impression of a deer in headlights.
I felt like such a grownup as I turned on my computer the Monday morning of our first online meeting. I had tidied up my office and made sure my makeup was camera ready. I knew that there were some first-timers, so I made a list of potentially asked questions and had an expert in attendance.
It was 9 a.m., time to open the meeting. Being on a Web camera is new for some. It made me wonder how many people would show up while eating their breakfast. Who would be in their pajamas or running through their house after an obnoxious pet?
Thankfully, everyone joined just as if the meeting were in our usual public space. Although there were a few hiccups as we got underway, it wasn’t before too long that everyone seemed to be interacting and participating like old pros.
They say that you need to care for your own house before you worry about someone else’s. Perhaps I should have remembered that before I started my video conference. About half way in to my meeting, there was my Sweet Al. He was standing in the background in his camouflage pajama bottoms and his straw woven cowboy hat.
He decided this would be the day that he took inventory of his guns. Then there was Whiskey. Each time Al passed by, his beloved dog followed.
Pajamas, gun, dog, repeat. How did this happen? With all my preparation to host a virtual meeting, I had forgotten to tell my Sweet Al that he would be on camera if he wandered around while we were in session.
There is certain etiquette in being on a Web camera. Who would have thought that the host would have missed a cue from her own lesson plan?
Final brushstroke: The idea that our writers followed through to take part of emerging technology is a big deal. We made things happen, even for those who were out of their comfort zone. It is important to note, however, that there are some who may be more comfortable than others. Just ensure they don’t look like they are bushwhacking in the background. If they are, tell them to smile for the camera.
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Artist’s Lane: It’s about how the story ends Wed, 01 Apr 2020 11:00:09 +0000 By Betty Slade
PREVIEW Columnist
The subject seems to be on everyone’s mind — toilet paper. Should we go or stay home? Travel the high seas or keep our feet on solid ground? Do we need to self-quarantine?
I am not one to live in fear, but today’s calm seems to be upended as we consider our health and that of those around us. Not to mention how a lack of balance can cause us to lose our peace of mind.
For our 50th anniversary, our children sent me and my Sweet Al on a cruise. We enjoyed every minute. Like a scene made for Jack and Rose, I stood at the front of the ship with my muumuu blowing in the wind. Supporting me from behind, Al’s teeth rattled as the waves struck against the hull.
April is upon us. Ten years later and the topic came up again. Our youngest daughter wanted to send us on a cruise as we celebrate number 60. “It’s a historic landmark, we can go as a family.”
“Uh, NO! You are not going to get me on a boat after everything we are seeing on the news. It won’t be historic … it will be hysteria.”
We love our children, but we are not taking any chance that would involve being forced to be in a cabin with them for weeks on end. Not even the temptation of an endless buffet is worth that level of bonding.
We will just stay out on the Blanco and watch the geese fly overhead as the ice breaks up on the river. Besides, there is still Sunday night dinner with the family.
Our son went to the grocery store. He came back and said that most of the vegetables and canned goods were sold out.
My Sweet Al and I have gone through many storms together. We have endured the strong winds and the high waves they cause. It’s fair to say that we have even hit a few icebergs along the way. With or without a cruise, or canned goods, we know that our love and life will go on. We also know that our freezer is full. It is a perfect time to work our way to the bottom.
Like most things in life, this too shall pass. No, we are not being ignorant. We just choose to embrace the day and take things head on. We wouldn’t have gotten this far in life had we approached things any differently.
When we feel the pull of the ocean around us, it is our faith that keeps our foundation firm.
Everywhere I turn, there is more and more talk that seems to do little but incite panic. Dare I say that it is hard not to let it creep in as we hear of different event closures. Certainly, the canceling of gatherings can make a person a little nervous.
My Monday writers’ group decided to postpone meeting for a few weeks. I had to wrestle with my own convictions. I felt like we needed to be there to support one another. Then, again, sometimes supporting others comes when we allow them to be where they feel the most comfort. There is always video conference should we really need to see each other.
Our government officials are asking us to be more attentive. We are being told to wash our hands more frequently, to be sensitive to the spread of germs. We are even being asked to distance ourselves more often than not. It can’t be all bad. Imagine how much time we now have to read a good book or to finally clean out the cellar.
I’m not being Pollyanna. Far from it. I’m just recognizing where I am, where my Sweet Al and I are. Yes, we are creatures of habit and like our structure, but can operate outside of the norm for now.
As for any panic that we could feel? It’s a bit exhausting and doesn’t seem to drive a healthy course. For now, we will re-prioritize and focus on the things that are more important to us today.
Final brushstroke: One of the greatest lessons in life is knowing that Jesus survived in the wilderness. That is all that this time is really, just a walk through our own wilderness. We can horde toilet paper or fill every room with canned goods, but it will do nothing to guide our hearts through difficult times. Yes, we need to be prepared for tomorrow and take care of our health. But, if we have read the last chapter of “the Book,” we already know how the story ends.
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Curtains Up Pagosa announces scholarship recipients Tue, 31 Mar 2020 11:00:54 +0000

Antonia Bussoli

Elise Yeager

By Dale Johnson
Special to The PREVIEW
Juliana Ellesmore was a beautiful, brilliant and talented young woman of 19 who loved music and singing and life, and whose life was cut short by a tragic accident.
A music scholarship was created to honor her memory and spirit. Curtains Up Pagosa has been partnering with Juliana’s family and friends in managing this generous scholarship program.
Elise Yeager, a 2019 high school graduate, moved to the Pagosa area recently and has been seen on stage performing in high school, Curtains Up Pagosa and Thingamajig productions, where she was most recently seen as Alice in “Alice in Wonderland.” She studies voice with Dale Scrivener.
Antonia Bussoli, also a 2019 high school graduate in Pagosa, has been active in the performing arts since she was a young child. Starting freshman year, she performed in every high school and Curtains Up Pagosa production that came along. Antonia was the 2019 recipient of Best Performing Artist with the high school’s performing arts program. She also studies voice with Dale Scrivener.
Both of these outstanding young women are grateful to have been able to pursue their vocal studies under the Juliana scholarship.

Artist’s Lane: Granddad goes to Vegas Mon, 23 Mar 2020 11:00:10 +0000 By Betty Slade
PREVIEW Columnist
How will Grandma keep Granddad down on the farm once he sees Sin City?
My Sweet Al was ecstatic to be invited to the NASCAR race in Las Vegas, Nev. He packed and re-packed for days as he prepared for his trip.
This would be an incredible opportunity to take a trip and spend time with our son-in-law and our grandsons. I wish I had a memory of having fun with my grandmother. I don’t ever remember laughing or having fun with her. Then again, that was a different time and age for me.
I said to Al, “Do you know what this trip means?”
“Yes, I’m going to the races. I get to see my man win. I want to stand by his car and have my picture taken.”
“No Al, it should be more than that. You are spending time with your grandsons. One day, they will carry this trip in their hearts as a memory of time shared with you.”
I should have wished his trip just included him standing next to his favorite race car. Not 24 hours into his trip, the pictures started flowing. The first picture to cross my desk was my Sweet Al and his grandsons, flanked by two showgirls from the strip.
There he was, beaming from ear to ear squeezed between two scantily clad women in headdress, short-shorts and really large … feathers. Even as they towered over him, there he stood, bigger than life.
When he arrived home, I asked, “Well, how did it go?”
“I sat and watched a woman play roulette for nearly four hours. She was beautiful and had big diamonds on her hands.”
“You were just captivated by her big diamonds?”
“Yes.” He said, “And all the old men were running around with younger women on their arms.”
I wasn’t sure if I wanted to know anything more, but I had to ask, “What about the race?”
“Oh that. We got rained out the first day, so we just ate a lot. But when the race did start, it was really loud.“
“So did you bond with your grandsons?”
“Well, I guess I did. They pushed me around in a wheelchair from one casino to another so I could see everything.”
My Sweet Al shared story after story. Meanwhile, I wondered if anyone could peel back the layers of gambling, beautiful women and the bright lights of Las Vegas to see what truly lies within.
I decided I didn’t want to know anything more, but I was reminded just how much the noise of the world can crowd out the important things in life.
I couldn’t help but wonder if anyone knew what really goes on underneath the noise and exhaust at the racetrack. I reminded Al about a conversation we had the week before. We talked about a young man who found the one thing that was important to him amidst the scream of a 200-mph car and thousands of fans.
It was the first NASCAR race of the year. The Daytona 500 brimmed with excitement for the new season and with great expectancy for Anthony Pasut. He was a fueler on the pit crew for Chris Buescher’s team who had been in an accident the previous year.
An out-of-control car ran into Anthony and injured his right leg during a pit stop incident at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. His road back was a hard one. It took hours, weeks and even months of physical therapy just to be able to walk again, let alone to be fit enough to get back in to the pit.
His statement: “Sometimes we get so involved in our careers, we forget what is most important, to know who God is and His grace.” Back on his driver’s pit crew, now with a greater vision for life than just the single car that nearly ended it.
Final brushstroke: After a wild ride with his grandsons, my Sweet Al came home with a bigger vision of life. Even through the sights and sounds of that place, he was able to know the blessing that comes from the unique moments that shape us. Thankfully, that was all he took from his weekend away.
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‘Over the Rainbow’ Thu, 19 Mar 2020 21:00:32 +0000

Photos courtesy Jeff Laydon

Scene … going “Over the Rainbow” with the Pagosa Springs Girls Choir at an evening of music and more Friday. The benefit included an auction, dinner and more. The annual event raises funds for the choir’s educational programs.

Pagosa Springs Girls Choir annual fundraiser Thu, 19 Mar 2020 10:57:02 +0000

Photos courtesy Jeff Laydon

Ilona Huck holds up a package of toilet paper to be auctioned off at the Pagosa Springs Girls Choir’s annual fundraiser on Friday. Inset: Huck gives her grandfather, Tom Audetat, a hug for making the high bid of $350 in support of the choir’s educational programs.

Artist’s Lane: Second chances and the next generation Tue, 17 Mar 2020 11:00:30 +0000 By Betty Slade
PREVIEW Columnist
I stood at the front of the courtroom and pleaded the young man’s case. When asked who will speak for him, I said, “I will. I have known this young man since he was 10 years old. He’s a sweet boy. Now 16 in high school, I know he’s had scraps with the law, but he hasn’t been given a fair chance in this world.”
I heard from the bench, “Who will take him home? He is underage and we don’t have a place for him.”
His mother, who was wearing an ankle tracker, had bounced in and out of jail many times and still struggled with her own addictions. All the same, she cried out vehemently, “I want to take him home with me.”
The judge said to her, “It’s not a good environment. He will be right back in front of me.”
Then he looked at me and said, “Is there any one in the courtroom who will be responsible for him?”
I muttered and shook my head, “I can’t. This morning before I entered the courthouse, my husband and I talked. Being a very practical man, he said, ‘We can’t take care of him. We are not in a position to help him at this point in our lives.’”
I begged my Sweet Al, but knew he was right. How would we get him back and forth to school? How would we deal with the bad company he was keeping? How could we help him?
The court ruled and closed the case. “Since there isn’t anyone to take care of this boy, I must recommend him to the juvenile center in Durango. There is no other place for him to go.”
I left the courthouse torn up inside. We could have given him a clean bed at the very least. I prayed and prayed for this child. In sincerity, I probably prayed more for me. I felt like I had let him down. I stood and vouched for him, but then I let the courts do what they willed.
Eight years later, Al and I were watching a movie that took me right back to how I felt all those years ago. In it, a young man would be bounced from place to place because his only worth was the things only eyes could see. I couldn’t help but feel for the character, knowing his heart beheld something greater than his actions displayed. And with those feelings, my own wrestle with reconciliation over where a youth, now probably 24 years of age, is in life.
I shared my thoughts about the movie and conversations I had with my Sweet Al, with our son. I told him about the time I appeared in court to vouch for the troubled teen and how much I lamented not being able to course correct the young man.
Our son said that he had picked up someone who was down and out, and dropped him off at what he later found to be a known drug den. He has now befriended this person, providing him clothes and nonjudgmental conversation. All of this as a means of what he hopes will one day be a redirection of his path.
While the teen in the courtroom all those years ago and the man my son is helping today are not the same person, the scenario is the same. Who knows, maybe my son is getting the chance to do something that I wasn’t able to or even capable of doing.
Is it for the next generation to come alongside and complete what we have started?
I read a phrase this week that said, “Spiritual blessings work in pluralities and bear the property of transcendence.” When we talk about God’s life, love and his mercies, we know that what we have been given transcends and extends beyond us. His good work transcends from everlasting to everlasting.
Maybe God picked up the baton and handed it to our son: a desire to look beyond what others see, to see inside the heart of a person in need. It doesn’t necessarily fill the void I feel by not seeing the fruits of my labor come to fruition. But, there is comfort knowing God’s timing is not dictated by my timeline, and will know completeness through his own.
Final brushstroke: We all have fallen and scraped our knee or twisted an ankle. Fortunately, there are those who come alongside us to lift us up when we are down. As for my inability to help the young man facing the detention home? The situation never felt completed until I realized that God’s plan is for the next generation to finish what was started, even if through different circumstances.

Meet this year’s stars Fri, 13 Mar 2020 11:00:02 +0000

Photo courtesy Ursala Hudson
This year’s Dancing with the Pagosa Stars lineup has been announced. Clockwise from top left are Chantelle Jordan, Gabriel Heraty, Theresa Snyder, Shane Lucero, Kent Curtis, Quinlan Quiros, Linda Parelli and Blue Haas.

By Ursala Hudson
Special to The PREVIEW
Seeds of Learning is honored to announce the 2020 Dancing with the Pagosa Stars lineup. These stars were selected for their community leadership, personality and a belief in Seed’s education.
Our talented female stars are Linda Parelli, Quinlan Quiros, Chantelle Jordan and Theresa Snyder. Our respected male stars are Gabriel Heraty, Shane Lucero, Kent Curtis and Blue Haas. Dancing with the Pagosa Stars will be held on July 11 at the Ross Aragon Community Center.
These incredibly generous people have agreed to be paired with a professional dancer, learn a dance routine choreographed just for them and perform for your votes on July 11. It is a magical night at the Community Center.
Today you can go to the Seed’s website at to see bios of these competitive stars and vote for your favorites. Each $1 vote moves a star closer to winning the coveted Mirror Ball Trophy and bragging rights as the winner for the next year. But, more importantly, all the proceeds go to sustaining Seeds of Learning, where preschoolers are expertly prepared for school and for life.
This year, we have tickets ranging from $125 to $200, depending on which row you select. All tickets include a drink ticket, a buffet dinner served by a fine dining restaurant, a fabulous show and open dancing to DJ entertainment. Ticket sales will open to the public at 9 a.m. on June 5. Watch our website and Facebook page for specific instructions on ticket purchase.
Over the next few weeks, we will tell you more about these special people and why they have agreed to support Seeds. Each has a unique story and everyone associated with Seeds feels very lucky to have their amazing support. Their commitment to raise critically needed funds to educate vulnerable at-risk preschool children is truly inspiring. When you see these folks around town, be sure to let them know how special they are, and don’t forget to vote.

It takes a village: Community comes together for ‘Matilda’ Tue, 10 Mar 2020 11:00:23 +0000

Photo courtesy Dale Johnson
Torry Hessman’s woodworking students work on a set piece for “Matilda the Musical.”

By Dale Johnson
Special to The PREVIEW
It definitely does take a village. And the performing arts department at Pagosa Springs High School is surrounded by a caring village of volunteers that love music, theater and kids.
As the young actors work on final preparations for the opening of their spring musical, they are supported in all areas of production. Curtains Up Pagosa (CUP) is the school’s biggest supporter and proponent, as it offers and provides not only assistance with sets, costumes, props, but also mentorship and apprenticeship with the technical side of lighting and sound design. CUP also offers expertise and coaching for vocals, dance and acting coaching to our students.
The Tanner family, assisted by Chris Weigand, work as stage managers, crew, backstage help, fly technicians, and with sets and costumes; we could never mount a show without their love and support. Nora and Ricardo Martinez, fairly new to the Pagosa community, lend their expertise to sets and costumes and whatever else they are asked and are becoming an invaluable asset to our performing arts family.
This year, for “Matilda the Musical,” the theater department partnered with Torry Hessman and his woodworking class to craft a set piece that looks like a jail gate for one of the numbers, “School Song,” in the production. We are excited for this collaboration and will seek more of this in future shows.
“Matilda” opens on March 17 for five shows only. Curtain is at 7 p.m., with tickets at the door. It is an exciting musical for everyone.