Leon Joseph Littlebird plays Native American flute with marimba band Wooden Rain during the Articipate Showcase Dec. 15. Littlebird is a popular Colorado musician and storyteller from Summit County (photo by Cailey McDermott).

Leon Joseph Littlebird plays Native American flute with marimba band Wooden Rain during the Articipate Showcase Dec. 15. Littlebird is a popular Colorado musician and storyteller from Summit County (photo by Cailey McDermott).

Salida claims a wealth of nonprofits, but few provide as much cultural impact in the community as Articipate, the music education organization that hosted its Eighth Annual Articipate Showcase Thursday, Dec. 15, at the Salida High School auditorium. The free event highlighted Articipate’s diverse program offerings through a variety of musical performances featuring marimba bands, Rok Skool bands and professional musicians Leon Joseph Littlebird and Trevor “Bones” Davis, music teacher and Articipate co-founder.

A well-known Colorado musician and storyteller, Littlebird opened the evening’s performances with a story then performed a traditional American Indian song on Native American flute. The soothing, haunting strains of Littlebird’s flute yielded the stage to the melodic tones of marimbas as the 12 students of Wooden Raindrops took the stage next. After a couple of songs, they were joined by Wooden Rain, Articipate’s adult marimba band.

Following the marimba bands’ performances, an intermission allowed for the marimbas’ to be broken down and the stage set for the three Rok Skool bands. Moonlight Pizza donated more than a dozen pizzas, which were sold by the slice during intermission. While enjoying the pizza slices, patrons perused silent auction items that included two season passes donated by Monarch Mountain. Bids for the passes topped out at about $200 each, a sweet deal for the winning bidders. Intermission also featured the presentation of a check for $3,2012.50 to 11 Articipate students for “artistic pursuits.”

Mary Barton plays the marimba during the Articipate Showcase Dec. 15. Barton is one of the members of the adult marimba band, Wooden Rain (photo by Cailey McDermott).

Mary Barton plays the marimba during the Articipate Showcase Dec. 15. Barton is one of the members of the adult marimba band, Wooden Rain (photo by Cailey McDermott).

Junior Varsity Rok Skool Band kicked off the second half of the showcase. The six middle school students played covers of rock classics, like AC/DC’s “Back in Black” and a few newer hits. Hollis Beddingfield, guitarist, later said he thought the band played well despite “a little bit of malfunctions.” He said he’s been in the band for two years and really enjoys playing the guitar and “the sense of teamwork” he gets from participating in the band.

Following the JV Rok Skool performance, the 3-member Collegiate Rok Skool band, BAM (Brooke, Alan and Mitchell), performed several covers and one original song, “Roll the Dice,” written by band member Alan Mueller. Each member of the band, Mueller, Brooke Beasley and Mitchell Tanner, played multiple instruments ‒ sometimes playing two instruments in one song.

Beasley said afterward, “I feel good (about our performance). I have a lot of energy (right now) ‒ I feel like I could go run. Beasley said she’s been in the band for about a year, and they practice weekly. “We’ve been practicing a lot (recently). I think we have a really good set. We have good team chemistry too.”
The showcase ended with the third and final Rok Skool band, the Varsity group. With a 3-piece brass section, multiple drummers and multiple vocalists, the Varsity band rocked the house. All in all, the night featured 46 performers. When Wooden Rain and Wooden Raindrops joined forces, more than 30 musicians performed onstage together.

Kai Jones sings AC/DC’s “Back in Black” with bandmates Dharma Knoll (far left), Quinn Wierdsma (far right) and Ethan NeJames’ lower body. Not pictured Hollis and Sawyer Beddingfield (photo by Cailey McDermott).

Kai Jones sings AC/DC’s “Back in Black” with bandmates Dharma Knoll (far left), Quinn Wierdsma (far right) and Ethan NeJames’ lower body. Not pictured Hollis and Sawyer Beddingfield (photo by Cailey McDermott).

Bones said, “We had six different music acts ‒ we put a festival on. To do that with 12 volunteers is just remarkable. Kudos to the Articipate board and all our volunteers for making it happen.”

During the school day Wooden Rain played three shows for each of the Salida schools. Bones said even the Crest Academy and the Montessori schools attended. “We basically had the entire Salida student body in attendance,” he said. In particular, the performance for Longfellow Elementary School was “off the hook. The kids just had a blast, and so did the performers. That was definitely the highlight of the day.”

“While I really enjoy and need to perform … I derive way more pleasure from watching those kids perform,” Bones said. “It really is why I do this. … It brings tears to my eyes. It’s awesome. They all did so well ‒ I’m really really proud of them.”

While the Articipate Showcase was not about raising money, attendees donated more than $1,200, Bones said. “(The event) was not really a fundraiser. Although we accepted donations, we let everyone in for free. It was a showcase for the program,” and $1,200 was “actually more than I expected, so I’m very excited.” In addition to scholarships, the money will go toward rent for the Band Cave and purchasing new instruments.

Anyone interested in donating or volunteering can learn more at articipate.net. Bones said the official fundraiser for Articipate will be an adult Grease Prom at Salida SteamPlant April 8.

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Wooden Raindrops members smile for a photo after their performance at the Articipate Showcase Dec. 15. They are (from left), Melissa Lang, Kaitlyn Jones, Maggie Sandell, Tristan Jones, Emma Dieslin, Ruby Mossman, Sam Visitacion, Gavin Wierzbinski, Porter Post, George Mossman, David Wierzbinski and Orion Post (photo by Cailey McDermott).