What once was but one of the key Music Fest events – an outdoor musical performance and fireworks display at the university – is apparently all that remains of the Fest, and it’s not being promoted as Music Fest.
Noted Cora Zaletel, the university’s executive director of external affairs,” . . . we have decided to put the university’s limited resources toward an event that the campus and the community have supported by their attendance.”
That’s the July 4 show that draws the bulk of Pueblo’s fireworks-oriented celebrants, since there are no other displays of any magnitude in the immediate area. The pyrotechnic display will follow a 6 p.m. concert by the U.S. Air Force Academy concert band. Both shows are free, although there often are parking fees.
“Since the thrust of Colorado Music Fest over the past few years has been the July Fourth extravaganza,\” Zaletel said, \”we will put our efforts this year primarily toward that event, which has strong university and community support.”
Missing are the large number of other concerts by a wide variety of artists, shows that were held at the university’s Hoag Recital Hall or at other city venues. Gone, too, are weeklong, professionally taught workshops for young musicians – violin, piano, guitar, jazz, vocal performance among them – that stretched throughout the weeks of the Fest and that culminated in a parent- and family-pleasing recitals at their conclusions.
At one time, the Colorado Music Fest took up the bulk of as many as six summertime weeks. But, noted Zaletel: \”The minor concerts and the camps have not been drawing crowds or students in recent years, nor have requests for assistance brought dollars. “Even the most reputable music camps, such as the Mile-High Jazz Camp Boulder, are not attracting enrollments nationwide and, as a result, are not being offered,” she said in an e-mail sent to The Pueblo Chieftain.
“It appears that because of the extensive schedule of community events available, we have received less than a handful of inquiries regarding the camps or other Colorado Music Fest events.”
Zaletel, writing on behalf of herself, as well as Mark Hudson, chair of the university’s department of music, and Russ Meyer, dean of the school of arts and humanities and interim provost, said the decisions to make the all-but Fest-ending cuts “are based on interest and funding.”
“This year, we also have chosen to support and assist a limited number of community organizations, such as the Mariachi Arcoris and the Steel City Theater Company, as we await the priorities of a new administration.”
The mariachi group, along with New Mexico’s Mariachi Tenampa, is at the heart of a June 24, one-day workshop at the university, followed by a 7 p.m. show at the Sangre de Cristo Arts and Conference Center.
The university is in the process of selecting a new replacement to its current chief, Ronald Applbaum, and a number of key administrative positions are being filled on an interim basis.
Attempts to contact Zaletel, Meyer or Hudson for further clarification were unsuccessful, with at least two of the officials out of town, and the third’s voice mail announcing unavailability because of summer vacation.