OURAY – “Jazz at the Wright,” in the first Wright Opera House fundraising event of the year, brings the High Altitude Dixieland Band from Western State College to town Friday, March 5, at 7:30 p.m.
“This is a special treat for the community,” said Dee Williams, chair of the Friends of the Wright Opera House. . “We don’t often have jazz concerts here, and it is one of the genres we hope to expand,” in future programming at the venue.
“Andre Wilkins, the new music teacher at Ouray High School” – and a recent graduate of the WSC music program, worked with Friends of the Wright, Williams said, both “to bring this band to town” and as a treat for Ouray High School students, where they will play, earlier in the day.
“And we are offering free tickets for the Opera House concert to all Ridgway and Ouray high school students,” she said, adding that because “Ouray County does not enjoy the resources which exist for locations having a college or university, we are reaching out to those in our region hoping to provide those resources here when possible.”
According to Band Director Robert Barrett, Barrett, a clarinet and saxophonist who teaches improvisation and jazz history at WSC, the High Altitude Dixieland Band began as the Dixieland Band in 1994, at WSC, and has represented the college on tours throughout several states, including “the prestigious Sacramento Jazz Jubilee in California and at the Montana Traditional Jazz Festival in Helena, Montana.
“This spring, the band will be playing at the University of Northern Colorado/Greeley Jazz Festival,” says Dr. Barrett, and has cut three professional-quality CDs. The latest CD, Do You Know What It Means, will be on-sale after the concert.
“The band is made up of both music and non-music majors,” Dr. Barrett says, “creating a typical sampling of the student body.
“By performing at public schools and events throughout Western Colorado and beyond, our students serve as our best ambassadors.”
Advance tickets are $10 at Cimarron Books & Coffee in Ridgway; and, in Ouray at Buckskin Booksellers, Khristopher’s Culinaire, and Mouse’s Chocolate, available until 6 pm on the day of the concert. Tickets at the door will be $12, with the box office opening at 6:30 pm. Once again, concert attendees are asked to bring donations for the Ouray County Food Bank which will be collected at the door. Information about the “Campaign to Save the Opera House...It’s the Wright Thing to Do!” can be found at www.SaveTheWright.org.