Live! in Minturn |

Live! in Minturn

Cassie Pence
Special to the DailyLive! in Minturn spring series begins tonight at 9, and the celebration continues until June 8.

“We were looking for ways to liven up the offseason, help the community, bring in offseason revenue and bring in music that hadn’t been making it to the small town of Minturn,” said Andy Kaufman, part owner of the Saloon and the driving force behind Live! in Minturn.

So with other local business owners and community enthusiasts like Bob Cohen, owner of the old Booco’s Station, Larry Stone, owner of the Scarab, and Al Brown, owner of Chili Willy’s, a 10- to14-day event series was created where musicians played out of local restaurants, which created extra business in a down time.

The first series, Minturn Jazz Festival, blossomed, each time adding new genres of music until it bloomed into the Minturn Jazz and Blues Festival. And when when Stone introduced bluegrass to the event, the forefathers changed the name to Live! in Minturn. Each year, proceeds went towards the Salvation Army and Minturn Seniors Program.

The success of the series overwhelmed the business owners. The project had become too big to handle while trying to run their own businesses. To alleviate tasks from the owners, Minturn-based Children’s Foundation, an organization dedicated to helping orphans in Mexico, took over administration aspects of the series. It was truly a perfect match with all proceeds going to the foundation.

Eventually, the Children’s Foundation and Live! in Minturn needed to part ways, causing Kaufman, Stone and Brown to appoint a new beneficiary.

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“Until May 8, the Minturn Fire Department had always been a volunteer,” Kaufman said. “At the time, acting Fire Chief Brian Wilson was looking for fund-rasing to upgrade equipment. Local business owners like myself and Brown had the perfect vehicle to raise funds for the fire department – Live! in Minturn.”

With a new donator, Live! in Minturn also needed a new producer. Kaufman hired Alison Kabel to produce the series.

“Alison has been very successful since producing the series,” Kaufman said. “The series has really benefited from having one person focused on the outcome of the event. Last year when Alison took over, we doubled the amount of proceeds and raised over $20,000.”

To meet a new offseason need, this year Live! in Minturn is growing yet again. Today begins Live! in Minturn’s first spring series.

“The spring series is a two-week little taster for the seven-week fall series, which will begin in mid-September and end the first weekend in November,” said Kabel, the Live! in Minturn producer.

The spring series opens with rock-bluegrass band, The McCloskey Brothers Band at Chili Willy’s. Todd McCloskey (mandolin, violin, sings and writes songs), David McCloskey (banjo, piano, sings and writes songs), Steve Rosebloom (bass) and Dan Menchey (drums) form the ensemble. All music for the series will begin at 9 p.m.

“I know everyone loves bluegrass bands in the Valley,” Kabel said. “And last year, it didn’t work out, so for the first spring series, getting a bluegrass band was one of my priorities,” Kabel said.

Music will continue Saturday at The Saloon with Dirk Diggler: Scott Kabel (guitar, singer), Christian Basso (bass), and Roy Burke (drums) from Little Hercules, with special guest Dave Laub (saxophone) from Dave Laub Quartet. Dirk Diggler will feature music in the same vain as Little Hercules, but with a little different instrumentation.

On Friday, June 7, rock “n’ rollers Rachel’s Playpen come to town. Rachel Simring (lead vocals), Dan Garcia from El Fiend (lead guitar), Andre aka “Frenchie” from Monkey Bite (bass) and Raoul Rossiter from Hamster Theatre (drums) will be on hand at Chili Willy’s. Denver’s “Westword” voted Rachel’s Playpen “Best Singer/Songwriters” in 2001.

Seven-piece old-school funk band Buckner Funken Jazz, led by 30-year veteran Denver jazz musician and educator Rod Buckner, plays the Saloon June 8. Buckner combines bebop and gospel roots to produce a modern groove. Their sounds are reminiscent of Maceo Parker, Stevie Wonder, The Funky Meters, Herbie Hancock, Karl Denson, Miles Davis and Charlie Parker.

Tickets for each night are $7. You can purchase tickets at the door only. Desperately in need of a firehouse, proceeds will continue to go to the Minturn Fire Department.

“Sept. 11 really illuminated the firefighters role in the community,” Kaufman said. “And the proceeds from the first spring Live! in Minturn series will go towards funding a firehouse and more importantly, a plaque honoring the scores of volunteers the Minturn Fire Department has had throughout the years.

“We really want to pay tribute to the volunteers.”

Besides music-filled venues, the series will also host raffles during set break each night, around 11 p.m. Massages, barbecue gift certificates and last year’s Live! in Minturn compilation CD will be among the items raffled off.

During the spring series, Kabel will be accepting art work for the fall series starting now until June 7. One piece of local art will be chosen on June 8 to be used for the Live! in Minturn fall series logo. Last year, painter Betty Pyle’s acrylic piece was chosen.

“Live! in Minturn is a real community effort,” Kabel said. “I wanted to get as many people and talent involved as I could.”

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