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Strings Music Festival: Lazy Days of Summer

Summer in a mountain town is gorgeous but lamentably brief. Squashed between May snow squalls and September hard freezes, a Rocky Mountain summer offers a wealth of activities — without enough time to enjoy them all: biking, hiking, camping, fishing, boating, tubing and happy-hour-on-the-patio-ing, to name a few.

As the stage manager for Strings Music Festival, I spend the beginning of June trying to figure out how I'm going to fit in maximum summer living on top of Strings' jam-packed schedule. My Google calendar is bursting at the seams with 90-plus hours of classical rehearsals, 11 classical performances, 11 Different Tempo shows and seven youth/family shows, all crowded into eight weeks.

I'm only responsible for events that happen in the pavilion itself, so my calendar doesn't include fundraising events, the free lectures and events at the library, yoga in the Strings Park or the free performances at Casey's Pond, the community center, the Botanic Park and Butcherknife Brewery.

Clearly, there's a lot going on at Strings, and the full-time staff has their hands full keeping track of it all — I'm thankful to limit my personal chaos to the pavilion schedule.

Outside of Strings, I'm a remote employee for an East Coast design firm and a freelance writer, so my everyday scheduling skills are, by necessity, pretty good. But when Strings' season approaches, I have to up my planning game by a lot. I put in reminders to go to the farmers market and yoga at the Botanic Park, schedule hiking blocks on rehearsal days off, sneak in Emerald visits wherever they fit and make careful note which evenings are free for happy hour-ing with friends.

I might be the least spontaneous person in Steamboat. But if I want to fit in as much summer goodness as possible during Strings' vigorous performance schedule, this is the way things have to be.

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And I'm not the only one recently shifting into high planning gear at Strings. We're about a week away from the opening classical concert in the pavilion, and the year-round Strings staff is putting the finishing touches on preparations for the season.

The program book has been finalized and sent to the printer. Housing arrangements for visiting artists have been made. Contracts have been agreed to and agents appeased. The pavilion has been cleaned, and the rugs shampooed. The volunteer army has been scheduled. Batteries and paper towels have been ordered by the case. Backstage has been stockpiled with water, coffee and gaff tape.

All is in order, waiting for the activity to begin.

Lazy days of summer? Not in Steamboat. And definitely not at Strings Music Festival.

Upcoming events:

  • Thursday, June 22: Music on the Green: Steve Boynton — Botanic Park, 12:15 p.m.
  • Friday, June 23:  Morgan James (indie soul) — Strings Music Pavilion, 8 p.m.
  • Saturday, June 24: Yoga and Classical Music — Strings Music Pavilion in the park, 9 a.m.
  • Saturday, June 24: Opening Night Orchestra (classical) — Strings Music Pavilion, 7 p.m.

Tickets are available at stringsmusicfestival.com or by calling 970-879-5056.

Ali Mignone is the stage manager for Strings Music Festival, among other things. When she's not telling roadies and musicians what to do, you can find her hiking, biking or skiing around the Yampa Valley and blogging at thequirkyquill.com.