Ring in the new year with Yonder Mountain String Band at the Sheridan Opera House. The beloved local venue announced its winter schedule recently, and it’s full of heavy hitters. (Courtesy photo)

The Sheridan Arts Foundation recently announced its winter season’s acts, a highly anticipated roll call of diverse performers that never fails to send a jolt of excitement through a town full of music, comedy and theater devotees. Of note, the season, which started this weekend and runs through early April is bookended by local talent, with Emily Scott Robinson performing Saturday, and jam band extraordinaire Joint Point taking the historic Sheridan Opera House stage for the season’s denouement April 1. In between is a whole lot of “wow!” as a recent news release exclaims, “We’re back, baby!”

Tickets for all shows went on sale Friday at sheridanoperahouse.com.

Next month, the season gets underway in earnest with Young People’s Theatre’s production of “Bye Bye Birdie,” Dec. 3-5. Then it’s time to think (pray, dance around a bonfire) snow with a screening of Teton Gravity Research’s film “Stoke the Fire,” Dec. 9. On Dec. 10, Deltaphonic is the featured artist for the Sheridan Arts Foundation SHOWcase.

The holidays bring on the all the glitter and glamour with top-flight acts John Oates with Guthrie Trapp Dec. 27, our very own Jewel Dec. 28, Kiltro Dec. 29, and two, raise-the-roof, bring-on-2022 nights with Yonder String band Dec. 30-31. It all kicks off Dec. 26 with Warren Miller’s “Winter Starts Now.”

Opera house PR and marketing director Maggie Stevens is very much looking forward to the Holiday Concert Series.

“Our Holiday Concert Series is full of heavy hitters like Grammy nominees John Oates, who was my first show to introduce as PR and marketing director three years ago and was beyond lovely,” she said, “and Jewel, plus favorites Yonder Mountain String Band. Kiltro, on Dec. 29, is a new band we haven't had before that I'm personally most excited about. They're Denver based, but have Chilean folk-rock influences.”

The Holiday Concert Series is a key fundraiser for the nonprofit foundation, which operates and maintains the cherished historic opera house that’s over 100 years old.

“If you would like to support the Sheridan Arts Foundation for the Holiday Concert Series, our largest fundraiser of the winter, you can become a Holiday Patron for a generous donation of $8,500,” reads the news release. “(Being a Holiday Patron) … gets two prime seats to our Dec. 26-30 events, including Grammy-nominees Jewel and John Oates and a table for four and open bar for our New Year's Eve Under the Sea Gala featuring Yonder Mountain String Band.”

Stevens said the foundation staff has fun themes in mind throughout the series.

“We decided to go big. We're doing decorations and themes each of the six nights instead of just New Year's Eve,” Stevens said. “The whole week is based on the ocean and ‘rising from the depths’ after a rough year, so one night is 'beach party,' one night is the 'jellyfish jamboree,' one is 'shake your (mermaid) tail' and so on. You are encouraged to dress up each night, but also don't panic if that's not your thing, it's not a must.

“And then we'll bring everything together for an over-the-top New Year's Eve Under The Sea Gala with Yonder Mountain String Band. Bluegrass just feels like home for New Year's.”

The year 2022 just has to be better than 2020 and 2021, right? The opera house winter schedule is here to help. January’s lineup includes The Lil Smokies and Dirtwire, a pair of bands “we’ve been circling for a while,” according to Stevens. They play Jan. 15 and Jan. 18, respectively. January is capped on the 21st with a performance by Late Night Radio with Motify.

February promises magnificence. Not only will the Telluride Comedy Festival return Feb. 15-17, but the month starts with the breezy warmth of surf-rocker Donavon Frankenreiter on Feb. 9. That show has already been announced and tickets are on sale.

February will also feature two bands that began collaborating during the pandemic, another silver lining to what has been a challenging past couple of years.

“Band of Heathens and Nicki Bluhm will be an incredible night on Feb. 26,” Stevens said. “They started collaborating at the beginning of the pandemic on the Heathens’ livestream show and now are going on the road together in February.”

Local talent runs deep and the opera house will host Birds of Play on Feb. 25, for an album release party.

“This is especially apropos as they were one of the bands we had to cancel right as the pandemic hit,” Stevens said,

Telluride favorites Big Something will pull February into March with a two-night Mardi Gras gig Feb. 28 and March 1. Prepare faces for melting. As Stevens understates, “that will not be boring.”

Tom Petty may be gone, but his music will never be forgotten as long as Petty tribute band The Petty Breakers sling their 12-strings. Relive Heartbreakers magic March 4. They’ll be followed by another electrifying tribute band, ZOSO, whose homage to Led Zeppelin is nothing short of thunderous.

Former Tellurider Bill Nershi once picked his Martin on the Floradora bench between shifts flipping burgers. Now that String Cheese Incident’s frontman has busted out of lockdown with his wife and co-star, Jilian Nershi, the pair, along with Island Grass, will make good on a date they were forced to cancel in 2020. They play March 16.

As if that is not enough, foundation staff is letting folks know to keep your eyes on the website as more shows will likely be added throughout the winter.

To attend shows at the opera house, proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of show time will be required. Masks must be worn while indoors.

For a complete schedule and to purchase tickets, go to sheridanoperahouse.com.