Annual Party in the Park to be held Saturday

Drummer Ruth Bernardo holds down the rhythm for the band “The MetroGnomes.” Enlarge photo

Courtesy of Stillwater Music

Drummer Ruth Bernardo holds down the rhythm for the band “The MetroGnomes.”

There’s going to be a party in Buckley Park on Saturday, and you’re all invited.

Stillwater Music will be holding its seventh annual Party in the Park, and between Stillwater, the Be Frank Foundation and Durango Arts Center, more than 100 students will be performing, says Jeroen van Tyn, Stillwater’s executive director.

“It’s all of our youth bands, there’s nine Stillwater bands; kids ages 6 to 18. Be Frank Foundation has four classical string ensembles and then the Durango Arts Center has three, their musical theater classes will be performing,” he says, adding that to avoid dead time between performances, there will be two stages so the kids can switch off – keeping the music going from noon to 5 p.m.

Along with an afternoon packed with performances, the party will also feature booths from organizations that offer activities for kids, both during the summer and year-round.

Food and drinks will also be available.

And while the Party in the Park is great way to get out and experience music, it’s also a learning moment for students.

“It’s important for our kids to get the real-world experience of rehearsing; this is the real-world experience of playing on a major stage with a professional sound person, with multiple acts to be part of a festival,” says Stillwater Music Director Steve Dejka. “That’s a whole different kind of experience for musicians. So it gives them that real-world experience. And the kids learn about what it’s like because playing a four-hour gig where you’re the only group is much different than playing a 20-minute slot with 15 other groups. It’s a different kind of performance.”

Added to that, van Tyn says,“The whole point is, the more kids doing music with whoever, the better. And we just really wanted to have this be more than just the Stillwater kids performing, and different kinds of music because they’re doing classical stuff, they’re doing musical theater, and then we’re doing all kinds of popular music – pop, funk and reggae.”

Admission to the party is free, and van Tyn says that costs for vendors was kept low for a reason.

“We intentionally don’t say, ‘Oh, this is a big fundraiser.’ We keep the barriers to enter really low for vendors and exhibitors to come in and show what they’re doing,” he says, adding that the events also gets sponsors, this year from the Arts and Culture Block Grant from the city and Durango Friends of the Arts.

katie@durangoherald.com

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