Music on the Hill – Gone, but Not Forgotten

- July 22, 2011

"This summer’s Music on the Hill concert series at St. John’s College ended on a very upbeat note..."

This summer’s Music on the Hill concert series at St. John’s College ended on a very upbeat note – in more ways than one. The music, of course, was upbeat – with two sets by Nacha Mendez and her Latin band. And the crowd, though slightly smaller than expected, was upbeat as well – thumbing its collective nose at the clouds overhead. The clouds did threaten, but the feeling from the audience and the stage was: “Not this year” – Nacha was rained out last year.

This was billed as the best opportunity for dancing at the summer series, as many other concerts were devoted to laid-back jazz and Nacha did not disappoint. Of course the evening began with kids running like wild banshees with great abandon in front of the stage. It’s a place where parents don&ssquo;t have to look around every few seconds wondering where the kids are. They are probably in front of the stage playing. But this evening, as promised Nacha provided two sets of great dance music and, though a nicely manicured soccer field is not the best surface for dancing, there was plenty of it. And when the mambo tunes came, the crowd looked quite at home in halter tops, Hawaiian shirts and bare feet. For the most part, that last statement meant: the women, the men and everyone, in that order. I can’t wait for next season and I am ready to buy my 2012 calendar as soon as it is available and put the Hill’s events in it now.

But, there are still many free concerts in Santa Fe: the ongoing Bandstand concerts on the plaza and now the Heath Concerts at Railyard Park, presented by Jamie Lenfestey, late of Fan Man productions. Over the years, Jamie brought a tremendous amount of music to our community through his production company. When Jamie announced at the end of January that he was closing Fan Man in favor of presenting concerts through the Heath Foundation, he reminded himself that he had kept a note up on his bulletin board for years that said, “Go nonprofit, jackass!” His collaboration with the Heath Foundation, I believe, is a marriage made in heaven. Heath is a non-profit with a lofty mission: “to further Santa Fe and northern New Mexico's cultural landscape through arts and performance from local and international people.” What better way than to bring a wide range of live music to Santa Fe? Jamie’s most recent community-oriented work is the presentation of free concerts and movies outdoors at Railyard Park in collaboration with Heath and the Railyard Community Corporation. In the near future, they will be presenting the films Megamind and Ferris Buehler’s Day Off and the Bands D Numbers and As In We.

Jamie is also producing concerts at multiple venues around town as he did in the past with Fan Man.

Ahead this summer are concerts by Dark Star Orchestra, Willie Nelson, Buddy Guy, Steve Earle and Pink Martini, just to name a few. Check out the entire schedule.

Culture Bytes

Google’s home page tribute today to artist Alexander Calder, on what would have been his 113th birthday is quite wonderful. I am always amazed at the way artists at Google have been able to both respect the person/ organization /idea referenced in the daily version of their logo and still represent themselves in a very non-corporate rendering of their ubiquitous branding. Seeing this logo and looking at a book in my library on Calder’s work, I am reminded of the small sculptures, often jewelry, that I saw at Gerald Peters Gallery last year – what a treat.