Rickie Lee Jones plays Wheeler Opera House Dec. 28 | VailDaily.com

Rickie Lee Jones plays Wheeler Opera House Dec. 28

Daily Staff Writer

ASPEN – KSPN and Mountain groove productions present an acoustic Christmas with two evenings at the Wheeler Opera House with Rickie Lee Jones on Tuesday and Bruce Cockburn on Wednesday. Rickie Lee Jones also plays the Vilar Center in Beaver Creek Sunday.Jones restless creative spirit, combined with a stubborn refusal to fit into any one musical niche, sealed her fate as a highly-regarded cult heroine. Cockburn’s ability to draw inspiration from political events, spiritual revelations and personal experiences has made him one of the world’s most celebrated artists, said the opera house’s event organizers about the two upcoming shows. Tickets for Jones and Bruce Cockburn are now on sale at the Wheeler box office or online at wheeleroperahouse.com. or call 920-5770. For tickets at the Vilar Center to see Jones play Sunday, call 845-TIXS.New president named at Johnson and Wales University Denver CampusDENVER – John J. Bowen, president of Johnson and Wales University, has named Bette Matkowski to president of the University’s Denver Campus.Matkowski has been the president of Lamar Community College in Colorado since 2000. At Lamar, Matkowski was instrumental in growing enrollment, implementing student and employment diversity programs, restructuring the college foundation and developing the vision to be “the best small college in Colorado.””Bette’s innovative approach to academics and to campus leadership is evident in her many successes in the Colorado and the Vermont community college systems,” Bowen said. “I am confident that her ability to thread together the multi-tiered elements of a college environment will enhance the Denver Campus and similarly extend to all of Johnson and Wales University campuses. She brings competency, experience, abilities and determined strength that will be of tremendous value to our university system.””I am honored by the opportunity to serve as president of the Johnson and Wales Denver Campus,” Matkowski said. “My experience at both the Community College of Vermont and Lamar Community College has been wonderful, and I am thrilled to look forward to this next stage in my career. Johnson and Wales enjoys a national and international reputation, and I am proud to be joining the university.”Johnson and Wales University, “America’s Career University,” provides career-focused academic programs to more than 16,000 students nationwide through a multi-campus system. It is widely recognized for its hospitality college, college of business and college of culinary arts – alma mater to Food Network’s Emeril Lagasse and Tyler Florence. The Denver Campus currently enrolls more than 1,500 students. Matkowski replaces Mark Burke who resigned earlier this year.

For more information about Johnson and Wales University, visit http://www.jwu.eduAcclaimed roots-country act delivers real country music for New Year’s Eve at Sunlight MountainGLENWOOD SPRINGS – Denver’s Halden Wofford and the Hi-Beams will play at the Sunlight Mountain Inn near Glenwood Springs at 9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 31.Formed in 1999, Halden Wofford and the Hi-Beams specialize in danceable, vintage-minded country and western music. The Hi-Beams have played in the area several times in the last year, including appearances at the Carbondale Mountain Fair, the Basalt River Days Festival and the Aspen Bluegrass Sundays series. This is their second consecutive appearance on New Year’s Eve at the Sunlight Mountain Inn.”The music we play is based on the old-time country greats like Jimmie Rodgers and Hank Williams, Sr.,” said lead vocalist Halden Wofford. “We’re trying to bring back the roots of the music that commercial country has left behind.”Wofford’s yodeling, throwback tenor (equal parts Buddy Holly and Hank Williams) won a 2003 “Best Traditional Country Vocalist” award from Westword, Denver’s alternative weekly. It’s the third honor Wofford and the Hi-Beams have claimed in the publication’s annual “Best Of” awards.The group is rounded out by veteran musicians guitarist Greg Schochet, upright steel guitarist Bret Billings, upright bassist Ben O’Connor and drummer Damon Smith. The Hi-Beams toured extensively in the Rocky Mountain Region in 2004, with appearances in Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Texas.”We’ve been burning up the highways in the region,” said O’Connor. “It’s a great experience to go to the smaller towns and play this kind of music for people who thought it was gone forever. We particularly love the Western Slope of Colorado, and we go there every chance we get.”

The Sunlight Mountain Inn is located at 10252 County Road 117. For more information on the show, please call (970) 947-1900.Henry Parsons Project announces final showKEYSTONE – The Henry Parsons Project (HPP), formed in 2002, will be performing its last show at the Goat in KEYSTONE, as the band plans to close down shop in January. HPP, the Widespread Panic cover band, agreed to supply the “rabid and deprived” Spreadheads with Panic tunes when the Southern rock band took their “hiatus” over 2004. Since Widespread will return in spring, HPP will be performing final performances Jan. 14 at its favorite Summit County venue, the Goat, and Jan. 28 at the Gothic Theater as a benefit for the Michael Houser music fund. Following the Jan. 14 show, PolyToxic – another musical side project comprised of members from HPP – will perform. Steamboat show hosts 38 international artistsSTEAMBOAT SPRINGS – The Steamboat Springs Arts Council will exhibit slipcast ceramics from 38 international artists in “The Slipcast Object,” juried by artist Richard Notkin. The exhibit is presented by the Steamboat Springs Arts Council in collaboration with Ceramic Design Group of Steamboat Springs and additional sponsors Paragon Industries, Nabertherm, Mile Hi Ceramics and Bailey Pottery Equipment. The exhibit continues on display at the Eleanor Bliss Center for the Arts at the Depot through Jan. 9. For more information, call 970-879-9008.

Breck theatre presents ‘The Supporting Cast’ BRECKENRIDGE – The Backstage Theatre presents the second show of its 31st season: “The Supporting Cast,” a comedy with fangs by George Furth. How would you feel if someone wrote a book about you – warts and all? OK, now multiply that by four. Ellen has written a tell-all book about her friends, and the time has come for them to read it before it is published. Comic sparks fly as the four friends discover just how much of their private lives has been exposed in Ellen’s book. “The Supporting Cast” is directed by Melissa Amato (“Me and Jezebel,” “Turn of the Screw”) and features Matt Devine (“Earth and Sky”), Jacquelyn Lies (“Metamorphoses”), Gail Westwood (“Murder at Café Noir”), Jennifer Ruff (“Red Herring”) and Denise Townsend (“Alabama Rain”). The play is Sunday evenings at 7:30 p.m. at the Breckenridge Theatre, 121 South Ridge Street, through Jan. 22. For reservations, call 970-453-0199 or visit http://www.backstagetheatre.org. Tickets are $15 for adults, $8 for children under 12. Ring in 2005 at the Hot Springs Pool GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Bring in the new year with a splash. The Hot Springs Pool and the Athletic Club continue their traditional New Year’s Eve Celebration on Friday, Dec. 31, with extended hours until 1 a.m. on Jan. 1, 2005. Noisemakers will be provided for everyone for the big countdown to midnight. Participants are eligible for a drawing for an annual pool pass. This is a nonalcoholic event for the whole family.For more information on the Hot Springs Lodge and Pool, call 1-800-537-SWIM (7946) or visit http://www.hotspringspool.com.