The Mountain Light Music Festival returns this summer, July 23-29, culminating in some spectacular jazz band concerts on July 26-28 at the Keyah Grande Guest House. Mountain Light Music Festival is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to bringing high quality music concerts to Pagosa Springs audiences and outdoor music camp opportunities to specially selected high school and college age students.
The Mountain Light Music Festival was born out of a dream. As a young boy, MLMF founder, Brent Phillips, came to Pagosa Springs every summer to participate in Voice of the Wilderness (VOW) outdoor adventures led by Chet Russel, backpacking through the glorious San Juan mountains and forests.
Throughout his life he has remained dedicated to the spiritual benefits that nature, music, and physical exercise bring to his life and the lives of others.
Though his summer adventures took a break when he entered Rice University as a talented trombonist to pursue degrees in music, his Pagosa Springs experiences remained a foundational influence in his life.
At the completion of his college years, he auditioned to be a member of the "President's Own" US Marine Band in Washington, D.C. and served as a member of the trombone section and soloist for 8 years. He has performed as a soloist on national concert tours and performed in the White House during the Clinton and Bush administrations. He has since gone on to be a professor of music at Baylor University, where he continues to teach and influence aspiring music professionals.
Pagosa Springs continued to call Phillips back to the wilderness, and he began to think in terms of how his amazing formational experience could be shared with other young musicians. Phillips spent most of his summers studying in Colorado, at the Keystone Summit Brass Institute and the Aspen Music Festival.
He spoke with Chet Russel about the idea blossoming in his mind that would involve using Russel's Mountain Light Lodge in Lost Valley as a basecamp for a music festival for young aspiring professional musicians. The camp would offer expert tutelage by professional musicians along with daily wilderness hikes. The festival would culminate with musical performances for members of the Pagosa community. In 2015, the dream became a reality, and we have all been richer for it.
The dream continues to evolve with hopes of making Mountain Light Music Festival a multi-week festival that offers classes for selected students in chamber, jazz, choral, and orchestral music under the tutelage of world-class instructors from across the nation.
"This music festival is an exciting way to showcase our beautiful community in ways that complement through music the spiritual and natural beauty of our glorious surroundings. We are working to establish strong financial support from members of our community and music enthusiasts from across the nation, says executive director, Carol Larsen. For information on ticket purchases for the summer concerts or on how you can support this exciting venture, go to www.mountainlightmusicfestival.com.