Steamboat Symphony Orchestra to celebrate Olympic, Western heritage at concert Sunday |

Steamboat Symphony Orchestra to celebrate Olympic, Western heritage at concert Sunday

Pattie Moon/For Explore Steamboat

Steamboat Symphony Orchestra music director Ernest Richardson leads a rehearsal in August at Strings Music Pavilion. The orchestra is struggling financially and is in danger of canceling its December Holiday Concert.

— Nelson Carmichael's mother, Marie, didn't make him take piano lessons, but she could have.

His childhood was spent listening to his mother teach piano to a stream of children and adults in their Steamboat Springs home as well as practice concert pieces for her performances.

His sister, Kathryn, became an accomplished classical pianist, but Nelson's dreams propelled him into the realm of sport.

Carmichael would go on to earn an Olympic medal in mogul skiing during the 1992 winter games in Albertville, France.

Still, having classical music as the track to his childhood had a tremendous influence.

"My mom explained to me that everything in the world — the universe that we really know — has vibration, and that's what music is: vibration from a string, drum, metal tube," he said. "But there's also vibration in nature, in all of it. Then I learned through my own experience that skiing certainly has vibration, and mogul skiing probably has the most."

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For Carmichael, the training of a professional musician is akin to that of an elite athlete. In both cases, he said, "The challenge is to prepare well, compete well and get the results. Excellence comes about from dedicated practice."

On Sunday, Carmichael will be immersed into the world of classical music by appearing on stage with a group of Steamboat Olympians at the Steamboat Symphony Orchestra's winter concert.

The theme for the concert is "Embracing the Dream," celebrating the community that provides the training and support for world-class performers through the work of 60 professional musicians and local Olympic guest conductors.

The orchestra will be performing John Williams' "Olympic Fanfare and Theme," John Phillip Sousa's "Stars and Stripes Forever" and Aaron Copland's "Rodeo" in the first half of the performance. After the intermission, the orchestra will perform Ottorino Respighi's "Pines of Rome," and the evening closes with the theme from the movie "Hook," another John Williams piece entitled "Flight to Neverland."

Carmichael said he appreciates that Steamboat cultivates its youths’ dreams whether they're Olympic hopefuls or budding musicians

"People come here from all over who are very talented and just want to live here," he said. "This includes these amazing professional musicians."

Orchestra Music Director Ernest Richardson echoed Carmichael's sentiments.

"There's something unique about this community, in that it embraces the extraordinary in each of us, and collectively as a community, provides world-class training," he said.

Pattie Moon is a Steamboat Springs resident who is actively involved with the orchestra and an avid appreciator of the arts.

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