Steamboat Swings Band will perform tonight at the annual Steamboat Symphony Orchestra Winter Soiree.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

Steamboat Swings Band will perform tonight at the annual Steamboat Symphony Orchestra Winter Soiree.

Winter Soiree kicks up tempo in Steamboat

Steamboat Symphony Orchestra event offers evening of dancing

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— While riding the gondola at Steamboat Ski Area last week, Steamboat Symphony Orchestra violinist Teresa Stef­­fen Greenlee offered one nugget of advice for the teenage boys who shared the cabin with her: If you learn one thing in life, learn to dance.

That’s because someday they might be invited to an event like the Steamboat Symphony Orchestra Winter Soiree, which for the first time is kicking up the tempo and breaking out of the concert atmosphere mold by offering opportunities to swing and ballroom dance.

The annual fundraiser takes place tonight to the swinging beats of the Steamboat Swings Band and to the elegant classics from the Steamboat String Quartet.

“It’s an opportunity for people to get together and support the orchestra but also just in celebration of music and dance and being together,” said Steffen Greenlee, the concertmaster for the Symphony Orchestra as well as the leader of the String Quartet. “The Soiree has been going on a long time, but it’s generally been a concert as opposed to an evening out to dance.

“This is just a different vein for us because we’re not normally doing it; it’s just a lighter fare.”

The event is at 6 p.m. today at The Steamboat Grand. Tickets are $50 per person.

It begins with a cocktail hour and then a free dance lesson from 7 to 8 p.m. led by local swing and country dancers Holly and Matt Blanchard.

The couple will perform, as well, as the Steamboat String Quartet launches into a more dance-oriented vein than usual with classical tangos and minuets.

After that, the Steamboat Swings Band takes the stage and guests are invited to dance the night away. Coffee and desserts are included.

“I think the more the merrier,” Steffen Greenlee said. “I really think it’s like any kind of dance party: When you get more people energized and crowded around dancing, the energy of the room is affected.”

Steffen Greenlee said the event is much more than just a fundraiser for the Symphony Orchestra, which relies on community support to flourish.

“Having a fundraiser like this is part of keeping it financially well but also maintaining its presence in the town,” she said. “They’re seeing our entity out there and seeing us being involved in the artistic and entertainment side.”

The Symphony Orchestra continues to maintain its outreach programs, including free concert admission for seniors, music teachers and selected youths.

Steffen Greenlee also leads the Steamboat String Ensemble, which integrates up-and-coming musicians with the community of local professional musicians. Violinist Bonnie Murray leads a youth ensemble that organizes young string musicians who, perhaps someday, will perform as a part of the Symphony Orchestra or at a future Winter Soiree.

“The community has to want this organization in the town and I think, with times being as tough as they are, we have to start putting our money where we value the services and the effect,” she said. “And the effect of having the orchestra in this town has so much to do with education of community and youth, I find it to be a vital part of who we are.”

— To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or e-mail ninglis@SteamboatToday.com

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