Mountain Light Music at Keyah Grande promises a grand experience


By Sally Neel
Mountain Light Music

Tomorrow night at 7 p.m., the mountains surrounding Keyah Grande will be singing with the sounds of the magnificent Mountain Light brass group. Seventeen trombones will be heralding the music from some of the most exciting movie music themes of all time. 

This unique outdoor musical event is the culmination of a week of music study by top brass students with their professional mentors atop Cade Mountain. Each year, selected students go there to learn, improve their skills and refresh their spirits through the Mountain Light Music Festival. The week concludes with a delightful concert provided for the public. 

Tickets are $35 and are available at the Chamber of Commerce, Choke Cherry Tree and Airport Storage. Tickets will also be available at the door. Buses will be available at the event to transport patrons from the parking area to the music venue. You are encouraged to bring a light wrap, as the weather can be fairly cool after sunset. Since the event is scheduled to be presented outdoors, masks are optional for those who have been vaccinated. However, if you have chosen to not be vaccinated, masks are respectfully required. In the event of rain, the concert will move indoors. 

It is rare to hear and experience the grand sound of a choir of trombones. In orchestral settings, the rich sound of the trombone is an important and necessary timbre, but not often extensively featured. The instrument is like no other, in that instead of using valves to change pitch, it utilizes a slide. This gives the instrument a unique ability to easily slide between notes. This is often heard in comical music settings. 

But the trombone is also a serious instrument, one with a gorgeous rich tone that can produce the most glorious full brass sound. To be able to enjoy an entire choir of these beautiful instruments is a rare opportunity indeed. 

Brent Phillips, professor of trombone at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, is the founder of Mountain Light Music Festival. Phillips has vacationed in Pagosa Springs since his youth. The San Juan Mountains called him to a higher spiritual place in his own life, bringing him to realize that music is not just notes on the page, meant to be learned and reproduced. The music itself comes from a deeper place, a place in the soul. The written notes are the script, but the music only comes to life through the interpretation of the performer. Phillips’ dream has been to expose students to the beauty of God’s creation, to help musicians find the deeper spiritual place within themselves to enhance their musical performances. 

This is the fifth year of the Mountain Light Music Festival. It is our hope that this festival will continue for many years to come, that musicians from around the world will come here to learn and feast on the beauty of these glorious mountains. There is also a hope that our community will support this goal through their generous donations and attendance at their concerts. 

Be prepared for a wonderful musical treat tomorrow night at 7 p.m. at Keyah Grande. The mountains will sing with the sounds of music.