Getting to know… Liz Campbell
Liz Campbell shouts into her cell phone, since the call is getting garbled on the windswept slopes of Vail Mountain.
“I’m going to have to call you back,” she tells me.
She’s on Chair 5 on a 10-inch powder day, and I can hear the smile in her voice as she prepares to the get off the lift. She calls back on the next lift, and the next, then again after skiing the Minturn Mile to her office at Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival, where she’s director of education and community outreach.
Getting interviewed between runs is fitting for Campbell, who is self-admittedly “addicted” to skiing. Today’s her “golden ski day,” when she’s skied as many days as she is old (though she won’t reveal how many that is).
But the 14-year Minturn resident and third-generation Coloradoan has more on her plate than racking up days on the mountain. Through Bravo!, she helps spread music education to kids and adults in Eagle County and beyond. She helped rescue Radio Free Minturn from the brink of extinction several years ago and now serves on the board of the independent community station. The mother of two seems to have found what she’s looking for in the valley.
“My whole life, all I ever really wanted was a little house in the mountains on a river,” Campbell says. “And my husband and I managed to make it happen.”
It’s just a fun job. I get so much good feedback from it. … We do some really great things for the community, and I get a lot of artistic freedom to put things together. … We provide instruments for schools and have an instrument petting zoo (a tent of instruments for kids to experiment with that travels to area events).
There’s scientific evidence, and I see it every day that I go out in the community and work with these kids… When I have kids that come into the instrument petting zoo, if they’ve been exposed to music, you can tell a huge difference ” in their coordination, what they hear and if they can repeat it back to you. It makes kids smarter. It helps form their brains in a very young and formative time.
We have these hand drums and started doing call and repeat at a young age. Any parent can do it; all you need is a little drum. The kids have fun with it. They don’t know that their brain’s forming.
I think we’re very fortunate that it’s Ginn as a developer. I think it was inevitable that we had to annex this. I think that the Ginn Company has a very good product, not to mention its reputation. … That said, I am really sad and sorry it had to happen. … I don’t think the town is capable of handling it.
It wasn’t really my idea, but I’m the one that would not let the idea die. All the great ski areas have just unbelievable community radio stations. Vail needed one, no doubt about it. The participation in the community is what defines the community radio. It’s kind of a reflection of the true grit of the community. (After it was started by friend Alex Markels in 1998, several years passed before they won rights to a frequency; Campbell then recruited the talent necessary to get the station up and running.)
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