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Welcome to Vail’s Bravo!

Special to the Daily/Chris Lee
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VAIL, Colorado – OK, let’s try to get through the season without a wine bottle going down the stairs.

As one who’s no longer drinking, but has consumed more than my fair share of wine in the past, we can go a whole season of the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival without the agonizing clank-clank-clunk of a fallen merlot or chardonnay.

With that out of the way, here are some spectating guidelines for the upcoming season.



Six o’clock

All Bravo! concerts at the Ford Amphitheater (with the exception of the Fourth of July) start at 6 p.m. Yes, parking can get crazy between Ford Park and the Vail Athletic Field and/or the Vail garage. Leave time people, especially when the New York Philharmonic is in town. The Bravo! volunteers in white shirts are ringing those bells for a reason. That does not mean last call to dash for a bottle of wine for your group.



Again, 6 p.m., people.

Get there early

This is not a re-iteration of the 6 p.m. principle. Go early because you can see the orchestra set up and rehearse. For neophytes, you can get a feel for the orchestra, as in strings up front, winds in back, timpani here, or piano up front because you’ll be hearing a concerto. For the advanced concert-goer, it’s fun to hear the different musicians rehearse certain portions of the night’s music. Is there a certain segment of one of the works you’ll be hearing that needs a little work? The pre-concert preparation is not merely a cacophony of noise. Try it some time.



Along those lines, we endorse mingling during intermission, but also check out how the structure of the orchestra changes during the break. Take July 17th’s concert with the Philadelphia Orchestra. The orchestra for Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto, before intermission, is completely different than the one that will play Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony.

Watch the conductor

He or she does everything with a purpose. The left hand keeps the tempo (however many beats per measure). The right hand directs different sections or members of the orchestra. A motion by the right hand can indicate “I need more from the brass section” or “Less from the strings.” This is the beauty of a live performance.

People watching

This is definitely a sport whenever one goes to a concert. On a personal level, you’ll be surprised how many people you’ll know. Bravo! serves as an unofficial summer reunion for this community. You’ll also see some notables. Be on the lookout.

Switch seats

No, we’re not calling for an uprising. But if you’re a reserved-seating person regularly, go to a concert on the lawn. If you’re on the grass, buy a seat downstairs one time. Coming from a conventional orchestra hall background, trust us, there isn’t a bad seat in the house. But it’s good to change it up.

The two seating areas are different, but fun. If you’re coming down from the lawn, it’s a fun thing to be closer and have a better view of the performers and how they interact. If you’re usually under the roof, heading to the lawn for a picnic is a nice change-up. You get the mountain backdrop as well as a possible paraglider.

Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or cfreud@vaildaily.com.


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