by Mary-Ann Brandon
WALSENBURG — The Fox Theatre in Walsenburg is poised to usher in an exciting chapter in its long history. To get things rolling, a benefit concert is set to raise funds for ongoing programming. The concert will also serve to remind the community that the Fox is not only a wonderful movie house, but also a glorious performance venue. With the removal of rows of seats, and the addition of a brand new dance floor, the venue has sacrificed seating but added the opportunity to welcome a broader variety of musical acts.
The idea for the benefit was hatched between local social worker, Dr. William Beverly (who is as passionate about music as he is about helping the town of Walsenburg) and Gardner based musician, Bo Seawell. Beverly approached Seawell about bringing two of his friends, Jake Cortez and Mario Aleman to the area to perform. Since Seawell was in the process of working with the Fox to help install the sixteen by thirty two foot dance floor, the benefit concert was conceptualized.
A few years ago, the Fox hosted a couple of concerts, the “Glenn Miller Orchestra” and rock star “Tommy Tutone.” Bo Seawell was in the audience for both of those shows and says that they served as inspiration to help make things happen at the Fox.
Enter Mike Peters, with the Spanish Peaks Community Foundation, and the manager of the Fox Theater. Drawing on his years of experience managing bands in Austin, Texas, Peters sees the unique geographical beauty of the Fox. Being one of the only performance spaces of its size between Pueblo and Albuquerque, the theater could provide the perfect routing date for any number of nationally touring acts. His enthusiasm for the area is refreshing and inspiring. He talks not only of bringing in world-class talent that would boost the local economy, but also investing in the community by providing more programing for children. He envisions bringing stage productions back and, in his words, “putting kids back on the stage”.
The talent line up for the concert is varied and promises something for everyone. Jake Cortez and Mario Aleman are two friends who came together in the lower Rio Grande area of Texas. Their music is heavily improvised involving elements of flamenco, blues, mariachi, jazz and rock & roll. Aleman now makes his living in Las Vegas, NV, influenced by the Gypsy Kings; he describes his music as “rumba/flamenco” expect elements of jazz with a strong Spanish flair. Jake Cortez leans more towards a unique style of mariachi combined with flamenco, blues and rock music. To hear samples of their music you can check them both out on YouTube. They plan to play separately and together during the concert.
Chicago Blues musician/singer/ songwriter, Ken Saydak will also perform. Saydak has credits too lengthy to list, suffice it to say that he has performed on dozens of recordings, both his own and playing piano with a who’s who of Chicago Blues artists. His own music is a wonderful hybrid of American styles ranging from boogie woogie to country blues with a good strong dose of rock & roll.
Rounding out the night will be local favorites the Planet O Band. They will provide ample opportunity to take the new dance floor for a test whirl. Come on out and support this worthy cause and have a great time in the process.
Rock The Fox Sunday, May 29 6-12 pm.