Thursday, February 28, 2002
Steamboat Springs Suited up in cowboy boots, leather vests and cowboy hats, Steve Jones and John Fisher strutted into the Doak Walker Care Center Thursday like cowboys walking into a saloon with a guitar and banjo strapped around their shoulders.
Two dozen Doak Walker residents surrounded the Yampa Valley Boys as they stood singing old western folk tunes and telling cowboy stories. The musicians' intent is to bring entertainment for no charge to people who would not see them otherwise, but hearing old cowboy favorites invoked fond memories of days when cowboy attire was common, not costume.
"I lived on a ranch in Wyoming and I heard this music all the time," resident Grace Gathercole said.
Each month a docent, or group of docents, from the Steamboat Springs Arts Council alternates turns in choosing an event for the Art for Seniors day, an outreach program that brings the visual and performing arts to Doak Walker residents that cannot attend arts events around the community.
Docent Deb Babcock said she was the one to organize the Yampa Valley Boys' visit to Doak Walker, but the musicians were the people to initiate the event.
"They called the Arts Council about wanting to do it right after the article came out," said Babcock, referring to an article in the Steamboat Pilot & Today about Jessie Burns and Gib Manzanares' performance at Doak Walker in November.
The men will profess they do not play country music but are cowboy musicians and poets who perform to keep the old cowboy tradition alive.
"We like to do this type of thing interacting with people and everything," Fisher said after packing up his guitar Thursday morning. "We called up and said, 'We've got to do this.'"
Jones and Fisher were not born as real cowboys but grew up with family on ranches, tended cattle and had visions of being Roy Rogers.
Jones and Fisher are regulars at Bar Lazy L where they perform old cowboy music and poetry for visitors who have finished an evening sleigh ride.
People may find the men as a musical duet or performing solo acts in Colorado.
Fisher connects with more of the old-time cowboy music more folk and bluegrass while Jones' interests lie mainly in contemporary styles. Really, it's the difference between Grampa Jones and John Denver.
Babcock said the Art for Seniors program will continue as long as it has enough time and effort put into it.
Resident Verta Harrison said although she's tired of staying indoors all the time, she enjoys the entertainment that comes to her periodically.
Other Art for Seniors presentations have included Hayden weaver Lauretta Davidson, the Shining Mountain Repertory, mountain man Hawkin Ludlum, the Central City Opera, Randy Kelley, the Dahlia Quartet, storyteller Maribeth Cate, a costume dog parade and western folk music by Jessie Burns and Gib Manzanares.
The docent program at the Depot Art Center consists of 15 people who have underwent special training in 10 areas of the arts and have committed their time to serving in the arts community.
Docent responsibilities include staffing the Depot, assisting art sales, jurying and hanging exhibitions and interpreting and explaining various shows.
The first instructional docent classes began in fall 2000. The purpose of the docent program is to broaden and enhance the focus of the Depot galleries and to further the Arts Council's goals to educating and exhibiting art to Routt County and beyond.