Creative Districts Rock

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Any activity becomes creative when the doer cares about doing it right or better.” ~John Updike

Yesterday I blogged about the Yampa Valley Choral Society. It is just one of many art organizations that abound in this town of Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

boettcher_report_thumbnailDid you know Steamboat Springs, Colorado was recently ranked in the Southern Methodist University’s National Center for Arts Research as #14 on the Arts Vibrancy Index?

The town also has the distinction of holding 4th place in the Small Towns to Visit in 2014 in the Smithsonian Magazine. For the small community of 10,000+ people, art and culture is important to part of everyday living yet it does not always get the attention it deserves. There are changes underway which will change all that.

Steamboat Springs has become an incubator as a Colorado Certified “Creative District.” There is an interesting full article in the Steamboat Pilot Newspaper about what it takes to become a creative district and to obtain funding and support for it.

I, like many others, have found the creatively stimulating environment refreshing. Living  life outloud is a term I associate with the people of Steamboat.

How does one “live life out loud?” Here is an interesting article about what that truly means.

earth without art

That is all for now. See you tomorrow on All Things Fulfilling!

This blog is brought to you by the author of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected and Short Stories: Lessons of Heart & Soul.

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Stories in Music

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conducive-to-happiness[5]Every spring and fall the Yampa Valley Choral Society holds a community concert at the United Methodist Church in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. This past weekend a group of 41 men and women and 10 young girls presented “I’ve Been Everywhere: It‘s the Journey That Counts.”

This year, the sound of young choral voices added to the concert. Ten young girls sang a few songs taken from film scores and musical theatre productions. Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head (from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid) and two memorable selections from Annie – Tomorrow and It’s a Hard Knock Life (from Annie) were  included.

As usual, the arrangement of musical compositions sung by the forty-one adults were thoughtfully chosen and diverse. Spirituals included Set Me as A Seal which was paraphrased from the Song of Solomon in the Old Testament and How Lovely is Thy Dwelling Place by Johannes Brahms. Words from Psalm 84 of the King James Bible were incorporated in the verses of this composition.

Karl Jenkins composition Adiemus: Songs of Sanctuary was not familiar to me, however it was sweet sounding and harmonious.  Jenkins, is a Welsh composer whose album is unintended for words, rather the voices of the chorus made instrument-like noises.

Two songs had nautical backstories to them. Over the Sea to Skye tells of Charles Stuarts escape from Scotland in 1745 via ship, along with Flora MacDonald, who traveled incognito, posing as his maid. His exile took him to France where he spent the rest of his lifetime.

Dry Your Tears, Afrika,  one of my favorite tunes of the afternoon, was taken from the 1997 movie Armistad. The story is about 53 Africans who were transported by ship from Sierra Leone to be sold as slaves. They changed their destiny when they took hold of the ship and navigated it to Long Island. The events of their journey became the subject of a Supreme Court case. If you have not seen the movie, it’s powerful.

You haven’t been anywhere unless you’ve traveled across America. Songs from past Pop Hit Charts included Homeward Bound, Surfin’ USA, I’ve Been Everywhere, and I’ll Fly Away were incorporated into the concert, as well as America from West Side Story.

I never fail to learn something from the interesting backstories of the compositions that the Yampa Valley Choral Society choses to focus the themes of their concerts around. The program notes as well as the choir Director’s commentary help tell the story of each song’s rich history and their composers.

Thank you Yampa Valley Choral Society for yet another delightful hour of music. Look forward to your fall concert.

This blog is brought to you by award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard.

Opening the Conversation

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Advent: Day #8

Intercultural dialogue is the best guarantee of a more peaceful, just and sustainable world.” ~ Robert Alan Silverstein

For the past two years in the town where I am residing, we watched the building of a huge addition to the Holy Name Catholic Church. The construction essentially turned a relatively small church into a nearly cathedral-sized structure.

On Friday evening, the entire town was invited in as the Yampa Valley Choral Society and the Steamboat Symphony Orchestra brought Handel’s Messiah alive in the community. My husband and I saw the gorgeous space and heard beautiful voices and outstanding orchestral music. The evening put me in the Christmas spirit. I am so grateful the Catholic Church opened up  this event to people of all religious affilliations and that I was able to attend it! The tickets sold out so quickly.

Throughout my lifetime I have been exposed to multi-cultural viewpoints and a diversity of religions. On this eighth day of Advent I’d like to share an image that will give insight into one of the largest influences in my childhood years which helped me to develop my thoughts and writings on spirituality.

alleluia

How To Order the award-winning memoir by Sue Batton Leonard,  Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected:
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