Free music on the Plaza
"Music and love overcomes all"
"Music is the mediator between the spiritual and the sensual life." - Ludwig van Beethoven
Every summer since 2003, Santa Feans have been lucky enough to enjoy free concerts on the Plaza, thanks to the hard work of the folks at Outside In -- the producers of Santa Fe Bandstand. We were entertained by local, regional and national acts thanks to the dedication of their founder and Program Director David Lescht. With his recent passing, the question of “will the show go on?” arose. The answer is simple. The show MUST go on. There is not a person in this organization – or the Santa Fe music community – who would not do whatever it takes to prevent this tradition from going away. This event seems to have a life of its own and will continue on. In fact, almost everyone in the city has stepped up and is doing extra to help since the loss of Lescht.
I met recently with Margaret Burke, who has been named the Interim Operations Manager of Santa Fe Bandstand to talk about the fate of the program. She explained that the booking of the 2012 artists had been completed before Lescht’s passing – in fact he announced the line-up on KBAC radio on the day before his death. This year’s Bandstand will be as great as ever – and the performances will stand as a tribute to his memory – with the hosts of each night’s show having a special connection to Lescht and his work.
A little background; Inside Out has been a non-profit entity since 1995, producing an average of 600 "quality artistic presentations, performances, and workshops to confined populations in social service settings in Santa Fe,” according to its newsletter. This includes “free live professional music and dance performances to institutions ranging from nursing homes to prisons and everything in-between.” Even in light of recent events, Outside In is still a vital organization with a strong board and an infrastructure to make sure its mission continues to live on.
Most of us know Burke as one of the top bass players in town – appearing with various bands on stages all over town through the years. When she first moved here from the West Coast, she was very interested in performing music for people in prisons, hospitals, and other institutions – inspired by the work of Bread and Roses – an organization founded by musician Mimi Farina that is dedicated to uplifting the human spirit by providing free, live, quality shows to people who live in institutions or are otherwise isolated from society. Before too long, someone introduced her to Lescht, and after discovering they both had a passion for this type of work, she volunteered to help with Outside In. When the Santa Fe Bandstand was started in 2003, Lescht invited Burke to be a part of the Santa Fe Bandstand.
Bandstand brings together the Santa Fe community in ways that no other program does. Free music is always a draw, but with the help of donors and sponsors – including the City of Santa Fe, the McCune Foundation and the Frost Foundation – Bandstand seems to be something very special indeed. It brings locals to the Plaza like few other events. Plus it brings national acts to town that we might not otherwise get to see -- and helps support the bands that make Santa Fe their home.
Now let’s talk about the music. There is a group of folks at Inside Out that decides who plays Bandstand each year. Lescht especially loved booking musicians that brought the community together -- and a quick look at the 2012 line-up will prove this to even the most casual Santa Fe music fan.
Some of the acts that Burke and the gang are most looking forward to seeing this year include The Derailers, Carolyn Wonderland, Joe King Carrasco, Terry Allen, and the great Catfish Hodge/Freebo show – along with newcomers to Bandstand Eric George and Andy Primm & Swordfish. To see the entire schedule, .
But Bandstand is not only about what happens on stage. Between bands, acts like The Zia Queenz (a hip-hop dance troupe) entertain the audience during intermission.
In an interview last year, Lescht stated “One of the biggest goals of the series is to bring people to the plaza to showcase the talented local bands that make Santa Fe their home”. He expressed his feeling about Bandstand this way: “I hope the community keeps supporting the Bandstand – I feel it is a vital part of the Santa Fe music scene.” And he is not alone in that thought.
Long-time Santa Fe musician, and Bandstand supporter George Adelo put it this way: "Bandstand is my summer church. I work my schedule around it, and I try to offer my help in any way they might need , mostly I like hanging with my backstage pal Kenny Delgado. Bandstand is one place where locals and visitors mingle without regard to class status. It makes the hometown experience come alive in a way that no other community event does."
Jamie Tasen at Beaver Toyota, who can usually be seen behind her sunglasses dancing on the Plaza almost every night during Bandstand, confided that “one of my favorite things to do is dancing at the Bandstand. Every year I look forward to it. It is an event that brings together people of all ages and backgrounds for great music, dancing and fun.”
Burke wants everyone to know that they still could use more volunteers this year – please call: 505-986-6054 or email: email@example.com if you can help.
In closing, I’d like to share something Lescht told me during our interview -- “I’m in it for the love of the music – the reward is in the doing.” I don’t think anyone could have said it better, and if this isn’t an epitath, I don’t know what is.
Photos by Eric Davis