Grand Lake fills the streets with celebration of the West
July 18, 2008
As sure as the summer sun shines in July, Grand Lakes upcoming Western Weekend and Buffalo BBQ will have something for everyone.The event, which is thrown in honor of the areas rich Western heritage and highlights its 61st anniversary this year, includes a great lineup of local musicians and bands. The weekend also features its annual parade with at least 30 entries, mock gun fights, beer and wine, and of course, the tempting Buffalo BBQ ($10 for adults, $5 for kids).Free live music performances are scheduled both Saturday and Sunday in the town square park, starting with bluegrass band Hunker Down at 11 a.m. Saturday. New Orleans-style jazz pianist Brad Pregeant hits the park stage at 1 p.m., followed by Nine-Toed Bob & The Stragglers at 3 p.m., band Corso Bersaglieri at 5 p.m. and Peggy Mann at 6 p.m.After The Jazz Cookers kick the music off at 10 a.m. Sunday, guests are invited to fuel up with barbecued buffalo and traditional sides 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The annual parade will roll and clop (equestrian) down Grand Avenue in front of the town park at 1 p.m. Washboard Annie rings in the celebrations finale with a free musical performance from 2:30 to 4 p.m.Many of the talents are mainstays in and around Grand County, while bands Corso Bersaglieri and The Jazz Cookers are just starting to make names for themselves. Corso Bersaglieri, formerly the Gypsy Jazz Duo that has been playing quite a bit at the Grand Lake Brewing Company and at Carolines Cuisine this summer, blends European and American influences for an acoustic performance of folk, bluegrass and gypsy jazz that spans music from the early 1930s to the 1980s.Members are Dan Gillespie of Chicago (fiddle and violin) and Christopher Loo (guitar) of Littleton. The two met on Corso Bersaglieri, a small street where they lived in Perugia, Italy, and have been creating tunes together ever since. The street, the duos namesake, means mountain troops, after a group of men in a military troop who also played music. Loo said the two are learning a couple new gypsy jazz songs by Django Reinhardt, which they hope to try out on audiences Saturday afternoon.The Jazz Cookers got its start in Dr. Ed Cannavas Arapahoe High School Dry Creek Dixie Dawgs in 2006 and recreate the sounds of old New Orleans. The group of young musicians showed considerable talent and a real love of the music, said manager Rick Crandell (who also plays with the Jazz Cookers).The group, which just finished recording a CD this summer, consists of two youth from Arapahoe High School, two students going to college in Fort Collins, one youth of Boulder, and a drummer who attends college in California (various pro drummers in his absence). They are Jeff Henton (tuba), Colton Crandell (trumpet), Wes Leffingwell (piano), Dave Ellis (trombone), Kevin Matthews (banjo), Sean Case (drums), and Rick Crandell (cornet). Its very rare to find such a young professional band playing this kind of music, Rick said. The trick now is to find young listeners and keep this great (jazz) music thriving.