A dream in the making: Mountain Light Music Festival set for July 23-29


By Sally Neel | Mountain Light Music Festival

The Mountain Light Music Festival will return this summer, July 23-29, culminating in some spectacular jazz band concerts on July 26-28 at the Keyah Grande Guest House. 

Mountain Light Music Festival is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to bringing high-quality music concerts to Pagosa Springs audiences and outdoor music camp opportunities to specially selected high school and college-age students. 

The Mountain Light Music Festival was born out of a dream. As a young boy, Mountain Light Music Festival founder Brent Phillips came to Pagosa Springs every summer to participate in Voice of the Wilderness outdoor adventures led by Chet Russell, backpacking through the glorious San Juan mountains and forests. Throughout his life he has remained dedicated to the spiritual benefits that nature, music and physical exercise bring to his life and the lives of others. 

Though his summer adventures took a break when he entered Rice University as a talented trombonist to pursue degrees in music, his Pagosa Springs experiences remained a foundational influence in his life. At the completion of his college years, he was selected to be a member of the “President’s Own” Marine band in Washington, D.C. He has since gone on to be a professor of music at Baylor University, where he continues to teach and influence aspiring music professionals.

Pagosa Springs continued to call Phillips back to the wilderness, and he began to think in terms of how his amazing formational experience could be shared with other young musicians. He talked with Russell about the idea blossoming in his mind that would involve using Russell’s lodge in Lost Valley as a base camp for a music festival for young aspiring professional musicians. The camp would offer expert tutelage by professional musicians along with daily wilderness hikes. The festival would climax with musical performances for members of the Pagosa community. In 2015, the dream became a reality, and we have all been richer for it. 

The dream continues to evolve with hopes of making Mountain Light Music Festival a multi-week festival that offers classes for selected students in chamber, jazz, choral, and orchestral music under the tutelage of world-class instructors from across the nation. 

“This music festival is an exciting way to showcase our beautiful community in ways that complement through music the spiritual and natural beauty of our glorious surroundings. We are working to establish strong financial support from members of our community and music enthusiasts from across the nation,” said Executive Director Carol Larsen. 

Tickets can be purchased at Choke Cherry Tree (56 Talisman Drive #8C) and at the Chamber of Commerce office downtown. For more information on ticket purchases for the summer concerts or on how you can support this exciting venture, go to www.mountainlightmusicfestival.com or you may contact Larsen at (214) 649-5041.