Thursday, April 30, 2015

Greeley, Colorado and the Open Space Festival of New Music

I often enter compositions into competitions. It is one of the only ways to get pieces performed if you don't have your own ensemble or have some affiliation with an educational institution or some such. Dealing with these competitions can be quite tedious and bothersome. I won't even start getting into all of the ways that is so. If I have a piece that fits the criteria or find the reward motivating enough to come up with something new, I go for it. Sometimes there is a cash award. Oftentimes when there is a cash award, there is an entrance fee. The fee is put toward the award. In recent years I have shied away from those set-ups. Very, very occasionally I have a winning entry. This happened recently. "My Head Is Always Down For I No Longer Look For You," won a spot at the Open Space Festival of New Music, put on by the University of Northern Colorado. It took place on February 26 & 27. 

These festivals generally want the winners to be present at the concert. These festivals generally don't provide any funds to help the winners be present at the concert. This was true of the Open Space Festival. I went anyway. I thought it might be fun. It was fun. It was also cold. I was hoping for the side benefit of being able to eat some game. Deer, elk, raccoon. Hell, I would have settled for rabbit. Unfortunately as it turned out, Greeley, Colorado is not the place to have a bear steak or anything like. But I had some crazy meatloaf. That alone made the trip worthwhile. 

The soloist for my piece was Elizabeth Lieffort. She did a marvelous job. The piece was originally composed for solo violin, but that version has never been performed. The version for flute was premiered in Bavaria by Thaddeus Watson. Elizabeth's performance was the U.S. premiere. 

Here are shots from the trip:

Flying out of Beautiful Downtown Burbank.

Somewhere east of the Rockies, heading into Denver.

Mass transit in Greeley. And it is snowing.

This is the music building at the university, but not where the festival was held.

This is the chili burger from the Double Clutch Cafe. There is actually a burger under the toms and cheese. I have to say that it was very tasty.

The Double Clutch Cafe, across the highway from my motel.

Weather on the first night of the festival. 

The warm-up to the meatloaf.

The Double Clutch Cafe meatloaf with mashed potatoes and gravy. There really are a couple of slices of meatloaf under all of that gravy. And it was pretty tasty.

Some of guest composers, composition students and on the far left, Eric Alexander, one of the festival's co-directors.

This is the Greeley airport. I did not fly into here. I drove here be its restaurant serves a buffalo burger. The restaurant was closed when I got there, which was just as well because nowadays buffalo is not game. 

In case you are lost on the airport grounds, this sign will put you straight.

The tamales were pretty good. I had some issues with the management. I have decided that I don't want to take the time to go into them right now. If you care why they are named "Tamales from Heaven," click here.

On the left is Eric Alexander, co-director; on the right is Juanita Ulloa, co-director and Paul Elwood, founding director of the festival.

Elizabeth, taking a moment before beginning the performance. 

Happy composer and performer after the show. 

This is a special at one of the local eateries - a peanut butter sandwich with bacon. I added cheese, honey and who knows what else. It should have been better than it was. What I really wanted was a hamburger from the Double Clutch Cafe, but a guy's stomach can only hold so much.

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