Colorado Music Fest 2012

Hasan Family Foundation is in the 10th year of sponsoring musical performances that take place in various venues around the Vail Valley.

The Music Fest was the brainchild of Seeme Gull Khan Hasan in partnership with the former University of Pueblo Colorado,know as Colorado Music Fest at USC. The Universcity has now been renamed Colorado State University-Pueblo.

The fest started in 1992/93 was developed and mostly funded by the Hasan Family Foundation and The Hasan Family. The person behind the entire fest was Mrs. Seeme Hasan. Mrs. Hasan guided the fest for over ten years and then voluntarily turned it over to the Music department of the University at their request.

The mission of the fest was to provide summer time entertainment to the community of Pueblo and southern Colorado especially the young adults and children in all genres of music .At the same time there was to be musical education in the forms of musical camps where students would spend a week long time to learn about a particular genre of music or instrument.

World class performers and teachers were brought to Pueblo to participate in the fest.

There are many stories in Pueblo Chieftain that tell the history of the fest. Mrs. Hasan helped the future development of music in Southern Colorado by training and teaching the future musicians.

Seeme’s greatest passion is arts and music education for children. As an adult, Seeme eventually devoted over ten thousand hours of her own time towards arts education for at risk youth. One of her greatest accomplishments includes the founding and funding of the Colorado Music Fest at the University of Southern Colorado (now Colorado State University at Pueblo). The Colorado Music Fest, based in Southern Colorado, includes a series of performances, ballets, and symphony concerts, performed by both professionals and amateur musicians. The annual music festival?s biggest event was a Fourth of July concert and fireworks show, free to the 20,000 plus that attended. Every performance included free admission to economically disadvantaged children, many of whom have had never previously attended a live theater performance. The major achievement of the Colorado Music Fest is a series of camps where professionals teach campers singing, dancing, and playing musical instruments.

Mrs. Hasan became a resident of Eagle County and started supporting and advising the BRAVO music festival and she serves on the Advisory Board of BRAVO.

The Colorado Music Fest apparently won’t see its 13th season this summer. After a dozen seasons that saw it struggle to begin, quickly grow into one of Pueblo’s summertime signature art and cultural events, then dwindle in the last couple of years, it’s basically not happening this year.

Its future is questionable. The Music Fest was the brainchild of Seeme Hasan and many other locals who worked with her to establish the multi-week series of performances and music workshops for children at Colorado State University-Pueblo.

Hasan and her husband, Dr. Malik Hasan, while still maintaining a home in Pueblo, have not much been associated with the Fest in recent years and the university also has cut back its financial support.

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.