Steamboat Springs The passion and energy could be felt in the living room of a condominium overlooking the Christie Peak Express as Steamboat Symphony Orchestra music director Ernest Richardson and co-director of Strings in the Mountains and renowned violinist Monique Mead discussed the significance of the first-time collaboration between the two organizations and the upcoming Tchaikovsky Spectacular Concert taking place at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Strings Music Pavilion.
The concert will feature Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5, a piece written by Richardson that will include more than 50 local youth musicians, and a Steamboat premiere performance of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto by Mead. Richardson describes Mead as an “Olympic violinist,” and Saturday's event as an “Olympic” concert.
“Imagine trying to tell a young kid they are going to have to work as hard as they can to be an Olympian,” Richardson said. “But never show them what a real Olympian looks like. They never have an image of what they are striving for, just the work.
"Monique is that image," Richardson said. "She will show them (the youth musicians) what an Olympic violinist looks like and sounds like. Monique and this piece can change an idea into a vision worth striving for.”
However, what is most meaningful about this special concert is the opportunity created for the kids and the community in general.
“Steamboat’s size allows complete interaction with this Olympic violinist,” Richardson said. “Here is this Olympic sound and experience, but now I am going to take you out on the slopes and show you how to make the turns. And that is what she is going to do when she plays with the kids.”
Both Richardson and Mead have been invested in Steamboat’s music community for more than 20 years. And they believe the core impact of the Steamboat Symphony Orchestra, Strings in the Mountains and their newfound collaboration is to serve Steamboat through music.
“We are taking a professional level orchestra and asking what can that do in a resident way for the community,” Richardson said. “We are able to present this music in a technical way that allows the music to speak.”
“We have to nurture the community that wants to listen to and experience this music,” Mead said. “And that is what this concert and collaboration is for.”
"We want to improve the fluency of the language of music in this town," Richardson added.
The overarching goal of the partnership is to teach kids and their families a deeper understanding of the language of music. Richardson and Mead, both highly esteemed in the stringed instrument community nationally and internationally, agreed it is an amazing opportunity for a town of Steamboat’s stature.
“The quality of life this concert provides for Steamboat is really extraordinary,” Mead said.
One example and another goal of the collaboration is to create a more connected community.
“It is different from going to the Internet or putting in a DVD,” Richardson said. “There is something so powerful about a community coming together to experience live music. It creates connections that only great music can create. We are all in the same place at the same time experiencing the same thing.”
Tickets are available for purchase at www.steamboatorchestra.org or www.stringsmusicfestival.com. Additionally, a special VIP meet-and-greet party with Richardson and Mead will be offered directly after the concert at the Eleanor Bliss Center for the Arts.