Vail Daily column: Finding the center of our community |

Vail Daily column: Finding the center of our community

Kris Sabel
Making It Possible
Kris Sabel
Zach Mahone |

Editor’s Note: The Vail Valley Foundation submits this monthly column from a community leader, partner or member of its organization on the topic of “Making It Possible.”

In the next few weeks and months, this valley’s spectacular natural beauty will be in the mid-winter form that brings us worldwide recognition as a top ski destination. But it is what happens off the slopes — in a community that is alive with arts, culture, entertainment, debate and discussion — that I believe sets us apart.

The bass-baritone echoes of opera superstar Bryn Terfel will still be reverberating through the halls when the Vail Global Energy Forum opens one of three sessions on Jan. 29. The insights of writer Bill Bryson will be one of the highlights of a February that also includes performances as diverse as the full-length opera “Tosca,” BalletBoyz from London, Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland and the national Broadway tour of “The Producers.”

For the bluegrass Americana crowd, we hosted the Everyone Orchestra and will offer the Winter WonderGrass kickoff concert, Del McCoury with David Grisman and Lyle Lovett with Robert Earl Keen. All of it is part of more than 55 nights of entertainment, enlightenment and experiences scheduled for this winter season at the Vilar Performing Arts Center.


The above only touches on the highlights of our programming schedule at the Vilar Performing Arts Center this year, but when it’s taken together, it represents much more than the sum of its parts. Through the support of our generous donors and partners, we are passionately committed to promoting and supporting the performing arts and artists.

As the name implies, the Vilar is foremost a center for local, national and international performing arts. It’s a center for music, dance and discussion. It’s a center for inspiration. It’s a center for education. Through our STARS program, the Vilar has played a role in building our young people’s appreciation for performing arts. It has also played a role when we’ve come together to grieve and to celebrate the life of someone special in our community, as we saw so recently when we gathered to remember our good friend Arte Davies.

As we look ahead to what’s possible in 2016 and beyond, we see a bright future for the Vilar to reinforce and expand its role in the community. We also recognize that there are a few areas where we can improve.

Accessibility is the first that comes to mind. For many, the perception is that the Vilar is a place that seems just out of reach. With this as a guide, we are redoubling our efforts to open doors to new audiences, both literally and figuratively.

Our Community Performance Fund provides opportunities for aspiring local artists to perform in our beautiful venue with state-of-the-art production equipment and to be supported by our professional staff. Our STARS program presents educational programs that make attending the performing arts part of the lives of our local children.

In a few other concrete ways, we are ensuring easy access to the Vilar. (See the “Tips from locals” section at the bottom of this column).

All of the above are meant to inspire community. This term, “community,” is one of the terms we often encounter on the pages of this newspaper, on our radio stations, or at the coffee shop in the morning when we see our friends and colleagues. At the Vilar, we think about community every day; how to cultivate culture and community, how we can play a role in bringing all of the people who live and visit this valley together in a way that is meaningful and lasting and how we can be a center for so many of our community’s cultural activities.

We humbly endeavor to enrich the lives of our community and guests, as well as provide opportunities for younger people to discover and make the performing arts an important part of their lives.

As we grow and improve, we do so with your support and input. As we look ahead, we also look forward to working with you in fostering the sense of community that makes every visit to the Vail Valley, and every day of living here, as remarkable and inspiring as our surroundings.


The Vilar Performing Arts Center offers several affordable ticketing and transportation options to help make the Vilar easy to visit.

For each show, there is a free shuttle from Beaver Creek’s Elk Lot to the venue, running 75, 45 and 15 minutes prior to each show. There is also a special $10 parking rate at the Villa Montane parking lot.

We also offer two easy and affordable ways to travel to the venue from Vail via our partners at Hummers of Vail. These options start as low as $15 round trip per person, however, they must be booked via our box office. For more visit or call our box office at 970-845-8497.

We also recently finalized two Winter Underground Sound packages that include five shows for $100, a savings of $100 off single-ticket pricing. Another package is five shows for $125 and is a savings of $150 off single-ticket pricing. These options provide a low-risk opportunity to attend and discover exciting new artists. Both packages include a free drink at each show.

For more information on these packages, visit and click “Winter Underground Sound” in the menu on the left.

Kris Sabel is executive director of the Vilar Performing Arts Center.

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