Editor's note: Director's Chair is a column where Kris Sabel, who is in charge of cultural programming for the Vail Valley Foundation, gives his expert take on shows not to be missed.With the craze of summer coming to an end, the aspens changing and the first signs of snow on the horizon, I am reminded of why many locals call this their favorite time of year. At the Vilar Performing Arts Center, we count ourselves lucky to experience it here in Beaver Creek, and help contribute to what makes this valley so special for locals in the fall.We are blessed in this valley by a wide variety of entertainment opportunities during winter and summer, but after spending a few shoulder seasons here I realized that everything stopped between Labor Day and ski season. I also realized that there was an abundance of talented artists who would be perfect at the Vilar Center, but that we were unlikely to book them because their fan base was not big enough to fill the house. These two challenges yielded a great opportunity when we created Underground Sound, fondly referred to as our Love for the Locals series. The series is not only incredibly affordable, with seven shows and seven drinks for $98 via the access pass, but it also creates a very low risk opportunity to discover great new artists. The series is a mix of up-and-coming and well-known musicians. And the bargain is that you would pay as much to purchase single tickets for a couple of the established artists as you will for the entire series. The known artists this season are Paula Cole, opening the series on Sept. 23, unique vocalist Leon Redbone on Oct. 7 and the wild card will be The Motet Plays Parliament-Funkadelic on Oct. 28. The Motet has a history of putting together a Halloween dance party to rival all others and this will be a great opportunity to dress up and get your funk on. The artists you may not be as familiar with include William Fitzsimmons, a top pick among Bon Iver fans, and powerful singer/songwriters Danielle Ate the Sandwich and Gregory Alan Isakov. On Nov. 4, one of the artists I am most excited to host is Jaimee Paul. I first heard Jaimee when Wynonna Judd performed at the Vilar Center in 2010. I was working in my office listening to the sound check when I heard a singer that made me stop what I was doing and go out into the theater to see who the incredible voice belonged to. Jaimee was singing backup for Wynonna on that tour and I was captivated by her presence and raw talent. Turns out this was a side gig for Jaimee and her real love is jazz and R&B. If you have not heard Jaimee Paul yet, I encourage you to go online and listen to her version of Etta James' "At Last." This series has been particularly rewarding for me as I have had the opportunity to meet so many people in the lobby and hear firsthand their thoughts about these artists and ideas about other musicians they would love to see play the Vilar. A common sight at these shows is lines of happy concert-goers waiting to meet the artists and purchase autographed CDs. Our Underground Sound Access Pass is available now, through Sept. 23. With this pass, you're getting a general admission seat in the Vilar at just $14 a show (includes a free drink). Underground Sound kicks off Sept. 23 and continues Sundays at 7:30 pm throughout the fall. If you want to know more about the series, please come by our Love for the Locals Bash, taking place Thursday at the Vilar from 5 to 6:30 p.m. We'll have free food and drinks, prize giveaways and more.
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