Kremmling: Events stoke creative community in West Grand County
Little did organizers know what they started four years ago would take a life of its own.At first, through the Society of Song & Story (fellow organizer Mike Music calls SOSAS), people simply got together to jam with friends. As the word spread, writers and poets joined the variety of musicians on the entertainment list.Chuck and Connie Templeton, aspiring bluegrass musicians who called themselves the Saddle Shop Pickers and who helped come up with the SOSAS idea, now live in Montana. But Music and Chris Tracy, area writer who rounds out the original group of organizers, have continued the core hope to develop a music scene in West Grand County. Chuck said he wanted to start a regular, open jam session, and raise funds for good causes while having fun, Tracy recalls. She said she had been thinking of the same thing for area writing groups.As an area musician, Music held up the music side of things and Tracy holds up the writing side of the varied performances presented at each event. The Rough-Writers are a big part of it. As representative of the writers group, Tracy has encouraged many of her friends to participate. One who never misses the chance, she said, is poet Vera Shay. Rynda Parrott helps host the events, short-story authors Fran Cassidy and Grace Hammond are always a hit, and storyteller Carol Schroer always gives an animated performance, Tracy said. We just do this because we love it, and its great fun.The core four have let SOSAS take its own life. The very first artistic collaboration welcomed about 10 people and Music said since, theyve had performances with as many as 100 in the audience. Its a nice thing to do on a Sunday afternoon in the dead of winter, Music said. Its very down-home, just like gathering together in your front room.It has a beatnik feel with a heavy Western overtone, said Sarah Clements, another musician who helps pull the events together, most known for her involvement with Irish band Claddagh. You never know what youre going to hear.Proceeds have gone to several good causes over the years. In 2006, the group chose to send what Music estimated to be at least a couple hundred dollars to the Tsunami Relief Fund. Funds from the November SOSAS went to the Mountain Valley Christian Academy. This weekends festivities will benefit the Rough-Writers scholarship fund. Whoever needs something, thats what we do, Music said.Participants spend a lot of time laughing, he said, adding that hes always surprised how talented the writers are and how entertaining the events are. Its all just fun, he said. A lot of his buddies usually show up and he is excited to see all the young musicians coming out, getting their feet wet.He, Tracy and Clements welcome anyone, amateurs and professionals, to come along to join in the fun. The artistic accumulation is always followed by a jam session and people are encouraged to bring their instruments.
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