No shoulder season for live music at Fort Lewis College

Save for a break at Thanksgiving, the next month at Fort Lewis College brims with musical events. Almost every day through Dec. 8 has a concert, senior recital, ensemble or symphony program.

Many events are free or charge a nominal fee. Like my fellow columnist Bryant Liggett, I believe the FLC Music Department offers the best musical buys in town. Some highlights, not including tonight’s recital by artist-in-residence Rebecca Penneys which Liggett covered in his Friday Downtown Lowdown:

The FLC Jazz and Percussion Ensembles will unveil their big fall programs right after Thanksgiving in the Community Concert Hall. If you can’t get to anything else this fall, these are worth a trip to the Ivory Mesa.

The Jazz Ensemble performs music by the Buddy Rich Big Band, Mob Mintzer, Bill Holman and Dave Brubeck. Jazz violinist Nathan Lambert will perform a Duke Ellington jazz standard, “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore,” then showcase various jazz styles in Chuck Owens’ E Ticket. Lambert is a man of many talents. He’s concertmaster and assistant conductor of the San Juan Symphony, executive and artistic director of the Four Corners Youth Symphony, violinist of the Red Shoe Piano Trio, and he’s on the FLC music faculty.

Two days later, the Percussion Ensemble will give its first concert of the year. For traditionalists, melodic works by the Mallet Keyboard Ensemble include a chorale, at least one folk song and a suite of Renaissance carols.

But with the title “DRUM,” you can expect plenty of energizing and exploratory music. The ensemble will pay tribute to the late Led Zeppelin drummer, John Bonham, in a work by Christopher Rouse simply called “Bonham.” In addition, the group will play a new work called “Sharps,” by Brian Nozny, followed by this intriguing title, “Toccata Without Instruments,” by Ramon Meyer.

Completely new this year is the Skyhawk Strikeforce Drumline. Created by Jonathan Latta, professor of percussion studies at FLC, the drumline will play three works that have mesmerized fans on the playing fields at FLC – “Pickled Beats,” “Picnic Table” and “Gorilla.”

A couple of free post-Thanksgiving student recitals will feature senior voice majors Megan Lopez and Rachel Pollock. Lopez will perform Nov. 30 and Pollock Dec. 2, both in Roshong Recital Hall. The solo student recitals are always free. The bigger ensemble concerts are often in the Concert Hall and charge a whopping $5 for general admission and $1 for students.

Next month, you can catch two more that happen to be free, in no small part because they’re in Roshong Recital Hall. The Woodwind Ensemble plays Dec. 5, and the Brass and String Ensembles on Dec. 6. The Music Department’s huge annual Holiday Bash will take place Dec. 7, again for the phenomenal cost of $5/$1.

Judith Reynolds is a Durango writer, artist and critic. Reach her at jreynolds@durangoherald.com.

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