Mark Vann Benefit -- Helping Dreams Go Big!

Having lived and worked in Boulder, CO for almost 20 years now, I can’t help but reminisce about how my life has changed since I first moved here from the East Coast in 1992. In July of 2012 I will have officially lived here longer than where I grew up. When people ask me where I am from, I have instinctively always said Connecticut… but now that I’ve spent more of my life in Colorado than Connecticut and have built a home and am raising a family here, … coupled with the fact that both of my parents have passed on (my dad very recently)- I feel that when asked, I can honestly respond to the “did you grow up here?” question with a resounding ‘YES’!… because the person I have grown into and become over these last 20 years is FROM here. And part of being from here is understanding and appreciating the local music scene- especially since it has served as the backdrop for many of my “growth spurts” between then and now.

Walking into the Boulder Theater on Friday, December 16th, hearing familiar music, seeing familiar faces, brought it all back so quickly… flashes of being in my early twenties, going to the Fox Theater to see local favorites like Band Du Jour (where I was first introduced to the keyboard stylings of Bill McKay), then being introduced to Leftover Salmon…it made those days feel like just yesterday… when in reality, they were two decades ago. Since those early days, I’ve become a wife and mother, I have a career- but keeping live music in my life has always been crucial… Think Global Live Local- I think this applies to the music I see as much as other aspects of my life…it feeds my soul the way nothing else can (yoga, sex, shopping…they do their parts of course, but live music is where it all comes together for me). So when my friend Mike asked me to come along to this benefit concert I said yes, partly out of a love for the music, but partly because I felt like I needed to be surrounded by my community of fellow music lovers. Going through the first holiday season since my dad passed away earlier this year, being reflective about my life, my dad’s influence on me and what legacy I will pass along to my own children, it felt right to be in a spot with so many others who were grieving yet joyful… sad for what they lost, but happy to have each other and the legacy of such a well-loved musician as Mark Vann was.

Growing up on the east coast to a musical diet of Top 40 and classic rock, I was not totally prepared for the zydeco/slamgrass influence of Leftover Salmon that Mark Vann was such an integral part of and that really grabbed hold and served as a catalyst for me in my early twenties, opening up a whole new world of musical influences that have shaped me in innumerable ways.  The vibes and the opening bands at the benefit show really reflected the spirit that the Mark Vann Foundation has fostered since his untimely death (March 4th, 2002) from melanoma cancer at the early age of 39.

Bill McKay on the keyboards really brought back memories of the Band Du Jour heyday in the 90’s… playing a rousing rendition of Fat Cat, along with a few great covers (She Came in Through the Bathroom Window by The Beatles and a moving Harvest cover by Neil Young). Rounding it out with Vince Herman of Leftover Salmon joining for a final Band Du Jour classic.  Really got the crowd going. Watching then as Vince and his “The Herman Clan Band” jam out and really get the crowd into the swing of things. As the night progressed and the music kept coming, with sets from The Drunken Hearts and The Contribution, all culminating to a 15+ musician packed stage for a conductor led final set of foot stomping, horn blasting, bayou spiced music both honoring the spirit of Mark Vann as well as supporting local beneficiaries such as Community Food Share, VanGO Mobile Arts Inc. and Music Maker. The muscians on stage throughout the night really embodied the spirit of the season and helped make it possible for others to GO BIG!

Check out more photos from the show.

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