The Beet Street Blog

Archive for the ‘Old Town’ tag

Holidays of the Arts

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The holiday season is upon us once again. The cold weather has finally come out of hiding, helping the transition into the winter months. Old Town is glimmering with a mass of glowing lights, familiar holiday drinks have returned to menus across town, and often, this cold time of the year brings warmth through traditions and the spirit of the season.

As many people are building our local economy by shopping at local stores, may we not forget about our wonderful arts scene, which can be a wonderful option to indulge in the spirit of the holidays. Many arts organizations feature holiday shows, including the CSU University Center for the Arts’ production A Christmas Story, Canyon Concert Ballet’s The Nutcracker, Bas Bleu Theatre’s Almost Maine, and Opera Fort CollinsGift of the Magi. The opportunity to enjoy and support the arts during this holiday season is invaluable.

Sharing time with friends and family is a large part of many people’s traditions and what better occasion to create memories than attending the multitude of fantastic, spirit boosting, arts events in Fort Collins.

The end is near…

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Sometimes there’s nothing better than sitting in the grass, listening to music on a warm weekend afternoon. I had the opportunity to do this three times this past weekend—twice listening to the jazzy beats of the Steve Johnson Group and once enjoying the softer melodies of the Seers. I couldn’t have asked for a better weekend.

The Steve Johnson Group is a Streetmosphere regular. They wedge themselves into the back corner of Oak Street Plaza, fitting at least five people and more than five instruments, plus a water cooler, amps and speakers, and all sorts of other equipment under a big, blue tent. They may be located way in the back, but their music can be heard from all around the plaza and beyond. They play old favorites, such as Steely Dan, as well as non-lyrical jazz tunes.

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Digital Con Brio

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Despite construction closures and tremendous traffic jams, people came out to the streets Friday night to hear a variety of Streetmosphere musicians. This was the first weekend of the summer where the majority of performers have been musical, with Susan K. Dailey being the only visual artist on the lineup.

People loved the unique sounds of the four musical groups: MDT 3, the Steve Johnson Group, the Fort Collins Four Tuba Quartet, and the String Quartet Con Brio.

I’ve already written about the Fort Collins Four Tuba Quartet and the Steve Johnson Group, but MDT 3 and the String Quartet Con Brio deserve some attention.

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Enthusiastic Streetmosphere Fan!

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Branden Sipes performing with Streetmosphere, photograph taken by Tim Van Schmidt

Tim Van Schmidt is a craftsman, and a freelance writer and photographer. He specializes in writing about contemporary music on the local and national level. An experienced writer, Van Schmidt wrote for The Coloradoan as the music columnist, for the Fort Collins Forum as the entertainment columnist, as well as edited for Scene Magazine, of which he is a co-founder. Since then, Van Schmidt has been publishing his writing and photographs online.

Van Schmidt’s photography career really blossomed because of his writing. When attending concerts to write a review, he was always asked, “Do you also want a photo pass?” Since then, he has photographed many artists, such as Clapton, Springsteen, U2 – and of course our Streetmosphere performers!

Tim followed the end of the 2011 Streetmosphere program and photographed eight of the performers in Old Town. This year, Van Schmidt says that “checking up on Streetmosphere is a regular part of my summer!!” He has photographed twenty-two of our artists so far in both our downtown and Front Range Village locations.

Live music is what keeps Van Schmidt ticking, and Fort Collins doesn’t disappoint. Out of the hundreds of cities he has visited, he says that “Fort Collins has gone way beyond the average city.” Our city provides programs like Noontime Notes in Oak Street Plaza, concerts in Old Town square, FOCOMX, Bohemian Nights at New West Fest, and of course Streetmosphere to promote live music and its native artists.

Van Schmidt enjoys the diversity and accessibility Streetmosphere offers and says that “it would be a crime not to take advantage of what is offered in so much abundance.”

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Dancing is Encouraged

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Sawmill

Sawmill performing in front of Cache Bank this Saturday.

There is just something about old-timey music that makes people want to dance, and Sawmill’s music is no different. The duo set up on the corner of Mountain and College, in front of Cache Bank, last Saturday night where they were met with an enthusiastic crowd who, you guessed it, couldn’t help but stop and dance.

The banjo and fiddle pair consists of Beth and Eric, who have casually been playing music together for three years, but only formed Sawmill about a year ago. In previous years, Beth and Eric attended Streetmosphere as spectators, but decided this year it would be fun to audition and here they are!

Sawmill draws in crowds with a fun, relaxed set, encouraging people to interact and dance along. The duo’s laidback attitude helps to create a carefree performance environment where people can just enjoy themselves and have a good time.

Sawmill will be performing at both the downtown and south locations of Streetmosphere all summer long. For more information about the band, including a schedule of their upcoming performances, check out their website.

To find out more about the Streetmosphere artists and schedules, be sure to check out our Facebook page or our website. While you’re there, be sure to take our survey to let us know what you think for a chance to win a prize! And don’t forget, while you’re at next week’s event, pick up a guidebook to learn more about the sponsors that make Streetmosphere possible!

A Variety of Visuals

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HalfMoon Arts

All of Streetmosphere’s performers are impressive. The musicians invoke spontaneous dancing by people walking past. The dancers draw huge crowds of people to watch and participate. But the visual artists often don’t receive the recognition they deserve. They sit quietly in front of their project for hours, painting, drawing, carving or sewing, and occasionally stop to chat with a passerby. Their craft doesn’t gather as much attention as the noisy musicians or the lively dancers, but the visual artists are just as important to Streetmosphere’s success as any.

Among the performers of this past weekend, some notable visual artists deserve some attention. These visual artists include HalfMoon Arts, Art on Mountain, and Chris Bates.

HalfMoon Arts is an arts apprenticeship program for youth ages 13 to 21. The youth who participate in Streetmosphere all design, carve, and paint totem poles in Oak Street Plaza. They begin with a log that has been flattened on one side. The artists must first shave down the surface of the log until it becomes smooth. Then they draw out their design in pencil on the log and begin carving into the wood. Once it has been carved to their liking, they paint it, mount it, and add any additional features—one of the artists added a tiny strand of lights to her totem pole. The artists can then opt to sell their work to the public and generate a small income.

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Viewsic Art Entertains in Old Town Square

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Viewsic Art

The motto for Streetmosphere is, “Expect surprise around every corner,” and the group, Viewsic Art, represents that to a T. Viewsic combines beautiful music and singing, with the artistic stylings of Streetmosphere solo artist, Chris Bates, for an overall unique performance.

Set up in Old Town Square this past Sunday, Viewsic Art drew in a crowd of curious bystanders. Some members of the crowd danced, clapped or sang along to the music, while others stopped to admire Chris’ artwork. Whatever they did, the audience as a whole was completely captivated by the performance.

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Have you seen The Seers?

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The Seers perform with Streetmosphere, Sunday July 1

Sunday afternoon was a host to great weather, bustling crowds, and of course Streetmosphere!! Along with many other performers with Streetmosphere on Sunday, The Seers entertained crowds downtown at Old Town Square.

The Seers, a rock/blues duo, is comprised of two talented musicians, Brian Collins and Sean Waters, who perform on guitar and piano, as well as sing. They perform many pieces they have written themselves and even take song requests!

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Jazzin’ It Up

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MDT3, with a special guest (right center), in front of Mo's Bar-B-Que on Friday night.

This past Friday, I began my internship with Beet Street. What a fun night to start out!There were performances and artists to pique anyone’s interest. My favorite, however, had to be MDT3.

MDT3 is a jazz trio made up of Ron Holleman (trumpet), Chuck Landgraf (drums), and Tim Gauthier (guitar). These gentlemen have been involved in the Colorado jazz scene for quite some time now and they each belong to multiple bands besides MDT3.  They name their group after Ron’s marquis instrument: the Morrison Digital Trumpet (MDT). Though Ron is a very talented trumpeter, he played the MDT just about as often as he did his traditional instruments on Friday.

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The Dog Days of Summer

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Ike poses for a photo at College and Mountain

Not all Streetmosphere fans come out on two legs. Usually, there’s more than one furry, four-legged friend in the crowd, and the last weekend of June was no exception. One of our most dedicated fan-dogs is a little grey terrier named Ike.

Ike, along with his owner, loves to experience the sights and sounds of Downtown. Whether it’s a visual artist painting, such as the lovely Ren Burke, or the whimsical sounds of Fiddle Whamdiddle, Ike is always more than happy to visit. His owner mentioned that he loves to be downtown, and that coming out for Streetmosphere has become a weekly ritual.

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