The Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College recently announced its fall season, and visiting its website, it’s nice to see scheduled performances after more than a year and a half of few events because of, well, you know.
But that doesn’t mean the Concert Hall has been completely shuttered – this summer, it hosted its annual Concert Hall @ The Park weekly shows in Buckley Park. It also hosted in-house performances by Music in the Mountains, Rocky Mountain UkeFest All Stars, and in June, hosted its first public event in a while when it welcomed Tom Chacon, Daniel Rodriguez and Anthony D’Amato’s Songwriters Circle.
Charles Leslie, the Concert Hall’s director, said the Songwriters Circle performance was held with a 70% audience capacity, and was livestreamed as well for those who weren’t quite ready to sit with other people. The UkeFest was livestreamed, too, as was a San Juan Symphony concert in the spring and performances by FLC’s theater and music departments.
“That’s kind of what became what we did to keep us moving forward and to keep live performances available to the public,” Leslie said.
The fall season will feature a later start – the first performances, starting with shows put on by the Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering, will be held in October – which is by design, Leslie said.
“We thought we would take it nice and slow, I would say dipping our toe into the water of live performance again,“ he said. ”Because it’s been such a rocky and unpredictable road, we just wanted to make sure that we were being thoughtful and careful and kind of taking our time so that everybody is safe and that along with our performers and staff and our guests, is pretty clear about what’s going on, and that we’re pretty clear about how we’re managing.
Up first is Irish folk band The High Kings on Oct. 21. In November, Dancing Earth, an array of Indigenous dance artists who work as a collective, will perform “Between Underground and Skyworld,” and in December, two local favorites return – State Street Ballet’s ‘The Nutcracker,“ featuring live music with San Juan Symphony, and the Bar D Wrangler’s 2021 Chrsitmas Jubilee.
Lesllie said that as of right now, the shows are slated to have 100% capacity, and there will probably be mask/vaccination/testing requirements, although the specifics are still be worked out.
“We’re working on them now,” he said. “We’re following the college’s lead; we’re a college department, so we’re working hand-in-hand with the college so that we’re all on the same page and we’re using the same policies for everybody – for community members, for students and faculty and staff as well.”
And while we’re still not completely out of the pandemic woods yet, Leslie said the Concert Hall’s reopening is a welcome return.
“Coming back has just been unbelievably exciting and makes us so happy. It’s so interesting how COVID shut us down, but now that we’ve been able to do some performances and we’re getting to do more, we’re kind of giddy, we’re so excited to have the opportunity,” he said. “What’s been interesting is our audiences have been really enthusiastic, really happy to be back, but the artists are even happier – we’re doing the Concert Hall @ The Park series, the band The Noms played the first time back in early August, they hadn’t played together in almost two years. And when we had the ukulele festival artists, they all hadn’t played for a live audience until July – they were in tears, just so emotional to be back and playing again.”
The High Kings, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 21, $26.10-$39. For more information about the band, visit www.thehighkings.com. Tickets available online at https://bit.ly/38dg9vt.
Dancing Earth’s “Between Underground and Skyworld,” 7:30 p.m. Nov. 6. $18-$20. For more information about Dancing Earth, visit dancingearth.org. Tickets available online at https://bit.ly/3kmzsZ7.
State Street Ballet of Santa Barbara’s “Nutcracker” featuring San Juan Symphony, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 10, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 11 and 2 p.m. Dec. 12. $26.10-$49. For more information about State Street Ballet Santa Barbara, visit www.statestreetballet.com. Tickets available online at https://bit.ly/3kiA7uk.
Bar D Wranglers 2021 Christmas Jubilee, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 17. $17.10-$35. For more information about the Bar D Wranglers, visit www.bardchuckwagon.com. Tickets available online at https://bit.ly/3ycLbhP.
For more information about the Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College, visit www.durangoconcerts.com.