When our eyes are filled with the blazing glory of aspens no longer interested in making chlorophyll and weather prognosticators hint at snow, it means winter is knocking on the door. And with winter, comes night after night of entertainment brought to this grateful music- and theatre-loving town by the Sheridan Arts Foundation, the nonprofit that operates the historic and beloved Sheridan Opera House. And what a winter it will be. From KT Tunstall to Del McCoury, the winter’s dark nights will be filled with music that represents numerous genres, both classic and contemporary.
Maggie Stevens, opera house PR and marketing director, is excited about the fresh lineup.
“Fifty percent of the artists we’ve booked are new and 50 percent are returning favorites,” she said. “It’s a balance we really like to have.”
The venerable old stage will easy into the season with a couple of ski films to stoke the stoke; Nov. 16, Matchstick Productions’ “Return to Sender” will screen and Nov. 29, vicariously ski off your Thanksgiving turkey high with Warren Miller’s “Timeless.” On Dec. 17, Teton Gravity Research will throw down with its film “Winterland.”
The musical mayhem begins in earnest Dec. 12 with SoDown aka Ehren River Wright, who will bring his saxophone and electronica production skills to the stage. That extremely danceable show will be followed in quick succession with Widespread Panic’s keyboardist JoJo Hermann and Jerry Joseph (Little Women, Jackmormons, Stockholm Syndrome) teaming up for an evening of musical combined forces Dec. 14.
The Holiday Concert Series, Stevens said, is the Sheridan Arts Foundation’s biggest fundraiser of the year, with proceeds devoted to the operations and maintenance of the 106-year-old venue. Given the caliber of artists Stevens and staff are at liberty to announce thus far, that fund should be handsomely bolstered. Stevens encourages music lovers and lovers of the opera house to consider becoming a Holiday Patron, a membership that directly supports the venue’s operations.
The Grammy-nominated Scottish singer-songwriter KT Tunstall leads off the series Dec. 27. She will absolutely rock. On Dec. 29, Motown fans will be over the moon to learn that Mary Wilson of The Supremes will perform. Stevens promises hits from The Supremes and much more. Emancipator, aka Douglas Appling, is up next, bringing the chillest of chill vibes to Telluride’s wintry landscape on Dec. 30. And, rounding out the holiday series in fine, funky fashion is The Pimps of Joytime. They’ll usher in the New Year with an incendiary dance party Dec. 31.
The year 2020 features a nonstop cavalcade of artists, beginning with two nights of local favorites Sunsquabi Jan. 3-4.
On Jan. 9, rock it old school with the nattily-attired a capella group from Yale University, The Whiffenpoofs, the world’s oldest and best known collegiate a capella group. Decked out in topcoats and tails, the group sings traditional and modern classics. The Whiffenpoofs were established in 1909, and the group still tours the world. They’ll leave the stage warmed up and welcoming for another Telluride favorite, Papadosio, who will reign supremely funky for two nights Jan. 10-11. The Marvel Years will round out the month of January with their thrilling style of electro-funk. That will take place Jan. 23.
Feb. 6, 7 and 9 features Break Science, Trout Steak Revival and the Doo Wop Project in quick succession. Electronica, indie-Americana-bluegrass and doo-wop affirm Stevens’ statement that the broad range of acts booked so far this year has topped even the foundation’s many years of terrific bookings.
“This is one of our strongest, most diverse seasons,” Stevens said. “There are tons of different genres. It’s the best of the best.”
And the Telluride Comedy Festival will return Feb. 13-16, though details have not yet been hammered out.
Capping off February will be the laid-back surf-rocker Donavon Frankenreiter Feb. 22. Too soon to think about summer and surfing? Nah.
March boasts a slew of TBAs that Stevens promises are “awesome concerts.” As Tom Petty sang, “The waiting is the hardest part.”
But for March, Telluride will be pleased to welcome back their beloved Infamous Stringdusters, an acclaimed bluegrass band known for its blazing musicianship and ecstatic jams.
And, April 3, the bluegrass legend and true country gentleman, Del McCoury will perform.
In addition to the music, the SAF’s Young People’s Theatre will command the stage with a pair of productions. “Once Upon A Mattress” will delight fans of musical theatre Dec. 6-8. And Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 and 3, the high school-aged thespians of Young People’s Theater will tackle the towering and epic musical “Les Miserables.”
“This,” Stevens said,” will be a great winter.”
Tickets for the performances will go on sale Oct. 14 at sheridanoperahouse.com