It’s no secret that Durango is a rock solid community, chock full of people ready to lend a helping hand to their neighbors, or kick in some cash to its many non-profits when the need arises. The recent 416 Fire disaster revealed, yet again, that when your neighbors are in trouble, temporarily displaced from their homes, or in need of some items they left behind due to a quick evacuation, others will help out.
In a town that boasts multiple nonprofits, the need to financially assist these organizations comes about plenty of times throughout the year. Hell, there’s even a nonprofit association, whose mission is to help nonprofit associations! That nonprofit is the Community Foundation of Southwest Colorado, a local group that helps nonprofits with professional development, capacity building, and seeking out grant opportunities.
They also organize a concert series every summer. It’s an event that assists local organizations on a financial level by recruiting bands, selecting local nonprofits to receive support, hosting the show, and raising funds along the way.
Nonprofits supported this summer by the concert series are SASO, Durango Nature Studies, Women’s Resource Center, iAM Music, Durango Education Foundation, Mountain Studies Institute, Durango Adult Education Center, La Plata Youth Services, and the Durango Arts Center.
People gathering for the sake of hearing live music is a cultural function that has been happening since the dawn of time. It’s ultimately an act that serves the overall common good by building friendship, fostering relationships, and aiding community. If it also does some good for local organizations, then we all benefit.
This year, these shows will take place in the Secret Garden, a gem of a venue. Tucked away on the south side of the Rochester Hotel, the Secret Garden is a shaded and cozy space just ripe for hanging. Before the days of the Rochester hosting these shows in conjunction with the Community Foundation of S.W. Colorado, the hotel hosted shows on its own, at times drawing crowds too large for the space, resulting in a lack of seats and general mayhem. Turning the event into one where the shows will benefit local organizations has returned some meaning to the performances. It’s one thing to host a show, but hosting a show that does some local good on more than an entertainment level is an added bonus.
The bands performing during the weekly events highlight the diversity of musicians that call Durango home. Aging punk rockers, bluegrass and old-time, laid-back funk, classical, and salsa are all represented. Anyone that says this town has a weak music scene is a Bieber-seeking fool.
Next week, the series will feature a performance in partnership with Music in the Mountains, and the Julius Quartet Chamber Ensemble will be taking the stage.
Other bands performing throughout the summer, which runs through August 29, include the soul and funk band J. Calvin’s Funk Express, a band made up of instructors from iAM Music; bluegrass bands La La Bones and Stillhouse Junkies; post-math rock and old-time band Six Dollar String Band; and rock band Lawn Chair Kings. New this year is Durango Orquesta de Salsa, Durango’s salsa band known for their beautiful concoction of swinging dance music. It’s all part of adding in a variety to the mix, and having a broad representation of the talent that makes up Durango. This year, there are actually more bands willing to get in on the event than there are Wednesdays on the summer schedule to have them play.
“We do try to have a variety of music. This year, for the first time ever, we have a salsa band. There’s only a couple bands coming back from last year,” said Briggen Wrinkle, executive director of the Community Foundation of Southwest Colorado. “It’s a great mix. We send this email out and we see who comes in. Usually about 20 bands say they are available, and we look at what we offered before. We give new bands a chance, and we spread out the genres.”
Bryant Liggett is a freelance writer and KDUR station manager. [email protected]