On Scene for June 16

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Classical daydreams

If I close my eyes when I listen to classical music, I always picture myself in some fabulous gown in the middle of a great empty ballroom, dancing. When I opened my eyes Sunday night, I was at Harwigs/L'Apogee.

Many people closed their eyes during the performance of the Steamboat String Quartet's "Amadeus Returns to Harwigs" program, which followed a delicious three-course dinner. I could tell the intimate audience was taking it all in, one classical daydream at a time.

Classical music has a romantic quality that only stringed instruments can express.

The tangled relationship of stringed voices in Harwig's dining room -- with its arched ceiling and wine labels painted into the walls -- felt nothing like the enormous Vienna concert halls I attended as a child. These musicians were within arm's reach of my table.

There were no microphones and no folding seats. There was only a room full of people and 400 years of history beautifully bestowed on us by four talented musicians.

John Sant'Ambrogio had described the quartet to me as conversation among four instruments. But it sounded more like a heart-to-heart conversation among four close friends, who had amazing fairytales to tell to one another.

Unless you are a talented musician, classical music sounds like an incredibly difficult language to master.

It stretches imaginations, increases mental productivity, releases emotions and lowers blood pressure.

Sunday's session did all those things.

-- Allison Plean

Canine chaos

I'm pretty sure every dog in town was out for the Yampa River Festival on Saturday. Downstream from the kayakers, Steamboat's canine competitors were playing a little game of sink or swim themselves.

Not being a dog owner, I had to poach a pooch from some friends to fit in with the crowd. I spent most of the afternoon trying to keep my puppy du jour from nipping my (or anyone and everyone else's) heels or deciding she wanted to give the river a try.

The experience showed me why practically everyone I pass on the street or the Core Trail comes with man's best friend in tow -- and reminded me why, at the end of the day, I don't mind handing the leash back over to its rightful owners.

-- Laura Meerkatz

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