Thursday, November 22, 2007

Tracy Bundy, guitarist

On November 10, Colorado guitarist, Trace Bundy gave a workshop for thirteen local students called, Thinking Outside the Box - Innovative Acoustic Guitar Techniques. Offered by Weehawken Creative Arts, students commented on how many new techniques they learned and how inspiring Trace was. In the evening, following a dinner provided by the Ouray County Performing Arts Guild, Trace played to an enthusiastic audience of 80 people. A standing ovation followed.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Wright Opera House

There is considerable excitement around here about the Wright Opera House being revived. Ideas for events and uses seem to be tumbling around us, more than we can competently organize at one time... a reflection probably of the heavy-on-creativity nature of our tiny population. Mrs. Wright, the wife of a wealthy fellow during the mining days of Ouray, decided that while they were building a town, there certainly needed to be a facility devoted to culture (especially to provide the proper atmosphere for the young girls) and insisted that her husband build the Opera House. It has a long history of many uses, but apparently has never actually had an opera. I’ll bet Mrs. Wright would have loved the “Nutcracker Sweets” coming up on Dec. showcase our 60+ dance students!

And, we have “live theater returning to the Opera House” in the form of Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” With that, reliably comes all of the expected (and loved) buzz associated with a theater production. Posters to be designed, tickets to be printed and distributed to the bookstores where they will be sold, the program to be designed---with great care to include all the spelled-correctly-names of actors and helpers, costumes to be secured, lighting designed and all the pieces found for it, sound effects to be devised...and a rehearsal schedule, of course, to perfect the most effective delivery of the lines!

Also, it will be really good if the new seats ordered for the Opera House arrive before this and other events planned. As the designated worrier for Ouray, I am concerned that they are not here yet. But the young folks in charge of the Opera House, Mel and Kevin, assure me all will be fine. I love young people.

Auditions were held the other night and a surprising range of talent showed up to try for a part. It’s a shame there is only one Tiny Tim because there were so many adorable children trying out.

Many there are already known for local performances (formerly in the MultiPurpose Room in the school...which has a stage), or in regional productions in other towns. But many new faces appeared. We obviously have attracted some superb new talent to our little town.

The cast has been selected and, indeed, only one could be chosen for Tiny Tim. Scrooge is, in real life, the executive vice president of one of the banks. Sounds fitting, but in real life he would not be a good Scrooge. One of the town’s attorneys wrote this adaptation, with his musical wife, and he is directing the production. Both have been active in theater regionally for many years. I am enjoying working with him on the play, and having the opportunity to chat with him without anticipating a bill for the hours or portions thereof for said conversation. (Just joking, Mike, you are worth every penny!)

Among the other cast members are a semi-retired doctor/hospital administrator/concert pianist (yes that is all one person, he may be a lawyer too as I recall), a high school sophomore who stars in school plays, the wife of one of our newest ministers (she, it turns out, has a degree in Theater Arts and would like to start theater classes for kids), and the new night manager of a local motel, just arrived from Texas a few days before the auditions... and he landed the role of Dickens ( the narrator)! When I first met him and he expressed an avid interest in being involved in the play, he clearly was “just arrived from Texas.” I asked him if he could “speak Colorado” and he said he could “speak British” if we wanted Dickens.

The lighting is being done by another new resident, who also has her degree in Theater Arts...our cup runneth over!

The play is done as an old fashioned radio show, with sound effects and music. It will have a live audience, but also will actually be broadcast live on our own radio station, one that is run by our high school students. It will also be recorded for future broadcasts during the holidays. Concerned about the recording process finally led to the “policy” that the production is “not appropriate” for children under 5. I suspect the subject matter and mode of presentation would not be of interest to such young folks anyway.

They had the first read through this week. As I sat and watched, I was reminded of “The Music Man,” envisioning something no doubt akin to Broadway, that clearly it will be a splendid performance of great pride for us all. It is all in the eyes of the beholder. Dec. 7 will be a special evening as our very own live theater is performed in our wonderful Opera House.

Scrooge couldn’t make it to the first reading because he was at a bank equipment trade show in Las Vegas.

And the Texan sounded like he was born here.

by Joyce

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Marketing Seminar

The Community Development Committee of the City of Ouray sponsored a marketing seminar as part of the monthly Business Round Tables. Today, the speaker was Jim Kidd, Director of Small Business from the Development Center of West Central Colorado. He is a good speaker and very knowledgeable on the topic.

Jim presented a few interesting concepts including what he termed as the five pillars of marketing:

1) Advertising -- Print (The written word, used to inform the general public)
2) Promotion (the buzz or excitement you create about the event or product)
3) Public Relations (your standing in the community)
4) Publicity (externally generated, uncontrolled by the business owner)
5) Sales (as in markdowns or something is on sale)

He also spent a lot of time discussing how you define the customers that you have or that you want to have. We did an exercise that really opened up my mind on this subject where we tried to create three profiles of customers. It was very beneficial.

He emphasized the importance of a budget, walked through a sample budget and stressed the importance of a fully integrated marketing plan.

At least 30 people were there representing various businesses and not-for-profits in the community including:

Spare Design
Box Canyon Lodge
Ouray Chalet Inn
Cascade Falls Lodge
Ouray Riverside Inn
Ouray Comfort Inn
Weehawken Creative Arts
Ouray Gallery
Second Chance Humane Society
Khristopher's Culinaire
Rocky Mountain Treasures & Gifts
Exotic Earth Coffee Roasters
Ridgway Outdoor Experience
Ouray Trails Group
Ouray Historical Society
Columbus Hotel

During the meeting a small discussion ensued where people asked about marketing Ouray County as a region as opposed to the two little towns of Ouray and Ridgway. Mr. Kidd seemed to think that a lot more cross pollination would occur and the concept is very forward thinking and would be successful. Mr. Kidd even pointed out that the region from Grand Junction to Durango is just the "Western Slope"... No one but these little towns think of it individually, the rest of the state lumps us all together. Pursuing the question a bit further sounds like a great idea.

I am happy to be part of such a great community where continuous development and improvement are part of the lexicon and so many people are involved!


Sunday, November 11, 2007

Veterens Day in Ouray

Yesterday, the Ouray Elks Lodge had a fund raiser for the VA Hospital in Grand Junction and as a tribute to all the veterans that were in the area. On Saturday night, a free spaghetti dinner was available to all the Vets. It was followed up with a Turkey Bingo game. In Turkey Bingo, each game you won yielded a Turkey Dinner including all the fixings!

During the dinner, the Ouray Elks honored one of their own: Bob Wilson. He was a veteran and he also ran one of their charity events for 13 consecutive years. The Charity Ride raises money for their childrens programs including the Easter Egg Hunt, Santa Delivers and the San Juan Riding Program.

This morning, the same folks put on a Brunch with omelets, pancakes, sausages and hash browns. Again, Vets ate free and the money raised was earmarked for the VA Hospital in GJ. Manette Steele, who works for Oracle Corporation, was the organizer and she also donated the food that was used so the event yielded even more money to the cause.

The City of Ouray also had free admission to its Hot Springs for any Vet. The flags were set out along Main Street by the boy scouts. It looked very nice.

Friday, November 9, 2007

The Ouray Hot Springs Pool

This morning the Masters were swimming in the Hot Springs Pool. The Masters are pre-seniors and range in age from 40-60. It is a fun group and very competitive. My swimming has improved dramatically since I joined them, but, as I improve, so do they. I am still the weakest link. It is fun to compete with them (and this is a very competitive bunch) but I never win. Andy the Windmill is the fastest by far...

The lap lanes are opened and the water temperature is perfect! It is about 77 degrees. We started swimming at 8:00am today (we swim every Monday, Wednesday, Friday) and we didn't think we would still be able to keep up the schedule this late in the year but the folks at the pool are doing a fantastic job of keeping the water temps comfortable and the pool in great condition. They have been very accommodating and keep opening the gate for us so we can start.

Today, six members of the Masters Showed up including Sandra from North Moon Gallery, Andy from the Tisdel Law firm, and Carl from Mountain Management were all present and accounted for. A new gal was there (new to me -- Diane) but she has lived in Ouray before and is just moving back. Joe the furniture maker was also there. The Masters is such a great program. Garry Schalla (he is the associate director of the DZi Foundation and co-owner of Schalla Jewelers) is our coach. He has volunteered to do this and has been working on this all summer. We started swimming at 8:00am and by 8:30, the sun was shining on us. It was delightful! Garry has been MIA recently ... doing good deeds in the Himalayan region.

My most favorite part of swimming is that when you do your strokes (mostly freestyle), you get that long stretch and after an hour of that, your body feels worked yet not sore. It also is doing great things with my range of motion in my shoulders. Before swimming, I was having some soreness in my shoulders and now, it seems that ailment is gone! My knees are a bit of a problem and they never hurt after a really hard swim. Feeling tired and not aching is such a treat!

The Polar Bears (mostly seniors) also swim Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. They start at 10:00am and are led by Joanne Fedel. They have water aerobics and stay in the warmer water mostly in the winter. I initially swam with them and they are a fun bunch... there is a lot of socializing that goes on with that group!

Being able to swim outdoors at this time of year is a real pleasure. I highly recommend it!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Greetings from GA????

Just a quick note from Steve and Lora. We are visiting family in NE Georgia and it's 28 degrees today. What's up with that? I think it's time to head back to the beautiful "Indian Summer" Ouray is enjoying!!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Trophy House on Gold Hill

Here is the trophy house being built on Gold Hill high above Ouray. Obviously, this isn't some tiny little thing. Notice the three RVs out front and they pale in comparison to the size of this house!

This is the view of the house part way up the Silvershield trail.

Just another hike in paradise

So, here it is in the beginning of November and there are a lot of trails that are still hikeable. On Friday, I went up the Silvershield trail with my trusty companion Nala, and in the high meadow, I continued up the Twin Peaks Trail. I almost went to the top, but, I decided that it was late in the afternoon and I didn't want to be up there too late (that is the public excuse). And, I must admit, I was by myself and I was in a black forest just like Hansel & Gretal and I thought I was being watched by some crazy bear! (that was the real reason). Of course, that was me just playing some mind games and now I find it amusing that I got so wigged out.

On the way down, I did stop in the high meadow where Silvershield, Old Twin Peaks, and Oak Creek Trails intersect. This meadow is a treat in and of itself! You get fantastic views and the rocks were warm and the sun was so bright and there was absolutely no wind. I must have sat up there for 1 hour or so just enjoying the serenity. Some people find that peace on the beach. I find it up on high on the ridges or anywhere out of the trees.

When I got down and did a site inspection of where I had to have been, I was a bit perturbed that I had turned around. I was indeed almost to the top. I have turned around numerous times while hiking; it is harder to do than it seems but the mountain will always be there. Now I have another reason to try again.

On the Twin Peaks trail, there were a few very nasty icy spots where others had walked, crushed the snow, and it had turned to ice... The stretches were very few indeed and the lengths were short (15 yards or so) but they were on very steep parts and there just wasn't any great footing. When coming down, I actually sat on my butt and used both my hands and feet to scooch down. It wasn't scary or anything, I was just being cautious.