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Barbary Coast Dixieland Showband performs in Cortez

The Barbary Coast Dixieland Showband performed two concerts as part of the “farewell tour” on Sept. 29 at Montezuma-Cortez High School’s Ralph E. Vavak Memorial Auditorium.

The band was founded by Dick Petersen nearly 50 years ago and has been performing in the Twin Cities of Minnesota, as well as touring worldwide. These concerts were part of their “farewell tour,” which concludes in Florida this spring. The concerts kicked off the 2016-2017 season for the SouthWest Colorado Concerts.

The day began with a morning concert for about 350 students from the middle school and high school. The students gained exposure to a genre that might not have been their first choice, but soon fell into sync with the band, and clapped along, and in the process, learned that music is a lifelong enjoyment and playing several instruments can open up a huge opportunity to all musicians.

The band performed selections from the beginnings of Dixieland Jazz in New Orleans, through the music of the ’30s and ’40s, and into the Dixieland of later years. It became obvious to both audiences that these performers enjoyed the music of those years.

The evening concert was greatly received as most the audience recognized many of the song selections. During this performance, the drummer and bass player were featured on a solo version of the “William Tell Overture.” The drummer got up from the drums, took his sticks and proceeded to play with the bass by striking the strings of the bass with his sticks. Much in the fashion of a hammer dulcimer, this was a tremendous way of having the bass heard throughout the entire auditorium as a solo instrument.

At both concerts, the musicians showed the ability to perform on a multitude of instruments. With the exception of Dick Petersen, who performed only on guitar and banjo, remaining members of the group were gifted performers on many instruments. The drummer played clarinet; the clarinetist played trombone, bass, sax, and banjo; the trumpet player played trombone, soprano sax, and clarinet; the bass player played trombone, and on and on it went. The crowd delighted in the band members’ versatility. The band delighted in the music. “Well, we’re just a bunch of guys having fun with music,” said one.

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