Calling All Chilkat and Ravenstail Weavers

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Invitational design specifications for the “patchwork quilt” or “Granny Square” Chilkat/Ravenstail Robe Project — Collaborative community design concept by Clarissa Rizal; Canoe Community concept by Suzi Vaara Williams

Dear Northwest Coast Chilkat and Ravenstail Weavers:

I invite you to participate in a very unique project which will provide a Chilkat/Ravenstail ceremonial robe to be worn by a dignitary of a hosting community for NWC Canoe Gatherings and/or also to be worn in ceremony during the maiden launch of a traditional dugout canoe.  Imagine this robe will be worn for many generations of canoe gatherings and maiden voyages!  When the robe is not traveling, it will be housed in its own private, glass case in the new “Weavers’ Studio” at the Evergreen Longhouse campus in Olympia, Washington State.  Longhouse Executive Director Tina Kuckkhan-Miller, and Assistant Director Laura Grabhorn are very excited about this project.

If you are interested in participating and donating your time to weave a 5″ x 5″ square, the above illustration provides you with the visual concept.  The information below provides you with clear instructions:

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Each weaver is requested to weave a 5″ x 5″ square in Chilkat and/or Ravenstail style to donate as part of a community ceremonial robe.

Project:  A  NWC Weavers’ Invitational  to create a collaborative and unique Chilkat/Ravenstail robe for the NWC communities who host Canoe Gatherings and/or are launching the maiden voyage of a traditional dugout canoe in Washington State, British Columbia, Southeast Alaska and Yukon Territory.

Who is Invited:  This invitational is open to all Indigenous Chilkat and Ravenstail weavers representing all the distinctive tribes of the Northwest Coast.  The invitational is also open to non-Indigenous weavers who are clan members of a NWC tribe via adoption and/or marriage.  Weavers of all levels of experience, from beginner to expert, are invited to contribute!  There are only 54 sections on this unique, one-of-a-kind, Chilkat/Ravenstail robe; if you want to be a part of this historical event, jump in now while you can and commit via email, text or Facebook to Clarissa Rizal by May 15, 2016!   Email address:  clarissa@clarissarizal.com   or text her at:  (970)903-8386   or Facebook:  Clarissa Rizal

Limited number of weavers:  There will be 54 5-inch squares which = 54 separate weavers.  45 of the 54 squares will have 1″ fringe at the bottom.  9 of the 54 squares will have 18″ fringe; these 9 squares will be placed at the very bottom edge of the robe.  If you want to be one of the 9 squares with the 18″ fringe, let me know.  Please refer to the illustration for visual image.  The borders of the entire robe will be woven by Clarissa Rizal after she has laid out the entire 54 squares and sewn them together.  Total approximately measurements of the robe will be 68″ wide x 56″ high (includes fringe)

The Warp:  You will need approximately 10 yards of Chilkat warp.   To keep the thickness and body of the robe consistent, use only Chilkat warp (w/bark), natural color and spun to size 10 e.p.i.

The Heading Cord:  Instead of a leather cord (like we use in Chilkat weaving), use two strands of your Chilkat warp (technique used in Ravenstail weaving).  The Chilkat warp heading cord will then become a part of your weaving so in this way we avoid any tied knots on the top left and right of your heading cord.

The Weft:  merino or mountain goat wool, size 2/6 fingering weight, in any shades of the traditional colors of black, natural, yellow and blue

The Design:  Weave anything to do with the canoe world; suggestions are to weave symbols of nature, animals, mankind (i.e. mountains, ocean, rivers, lakes, canoes, paddles, faces, claws (though no human hands:  Instead of four fingers, weave three fingers and a thumb)

In addition with your weaving, please provide two things:  1) a brief 100-word max Bio in Word Document and, 2) a photo of yourself with your weaving either finished or in progress  (200 d.p.i./5″ x 7″) —-  I will be providing this information to the Evergreen Longhouse who will be housing this robe when it is not traveling.  I also imagine there may be a small publication (of the robe with all the weavers ) someday printed for each one of us; and why not!?  It would be fun!

DEADLINE to commit:  Extended to May 15, 2016  Email Clarissa with your commitment (suggestions, etc. are welcome too, especially at this time):  clarissa@clarissarizal.com or text her:  970-903-8386 (yes, area code is 970)

DEADLINE for completion:  Postmarked by July 15, 2016   Remember:  Along with your weaving, please include the brief bio and a photo of you and your weaving. (see specs above) If you complete your weaving by the dates of “Celebration” and you are in Juneau, you may hand-deliver your weaving to Clarissa anytime during the month of June, otherwise mail your weaving insured to Clarissa’s address:

Clarissa Rizal, 40 East Cameron St #207, Tulsa, OK   74103

 

“TOUR” SCHEDULE (for the robe) 2016:  

1).  Hoonah, Alaska:  Master carver of dugout canoes, Wayne Price from Haines, Alaska is carving two dugout canoes for the Hoonah Indian Association.  The opening ceremonies will be the maiden voyage of both canoes from Hoonah to Glacier Bay for the dedication of the recently built longhouse on the shores of Glacier Bay on Wednesday, August 24th.

2).  Sitka, Alaska:  Master carver Steve Brown and the Gallanin Brothers are carving a dugout in Sitka, Alaska.

3).  Vancouver, B.C.:  Robe will be part of an exhibit for four months at Sho Sho Esquiro and Clarissa Rizal’s exhibit called “Worth Our Wait In Gold” at the Bill Reid Gallery, Vancouver, B.C., opening Tuesday, October 18th

If you have any information on definite dates for canoe gatherings and maiden voyage of a traditional dugout canoe, please contact Clarissa or Evergreen Longhouse in Olympia, Washington.

NAME OF THIS ROBE:   “Weavers Across the Water” — Thank you, Catrina Mitchell…!

THE ROBE’S HOME:   As I mentioned above, when the robe is not traveling, it will be housed in its own private, glass case in the new “Weavers’ Studio” at the Evergreen Longhouse campus in Olympia, Washington State.  Longhouse Executive Director Tina Kuckkhan-Miller, and Assistant Director Laura Grabhorn will be the travel coordinator’s for this special robe.

COMPENSATION:   As of May 2nd, nearly 40 weavers have committed to this project.  Not one of them asked about compensation.  This is remarkable; it shows the purity of our weavers’ intentions and commitment to our identity and cultural heritage.  Though, I am looking into finding a benefactor who is willing to help support this project.  I’ll keep everyone posted.

SUGGESTIONS, COMMENTS, IDEAS, ETC.:  I encourage and solicit your input.  Please be brave and just communicate with me; no worries.  AND if you want to partake, this is “our” robe! 

How did this idea sprout?  Well you gotta know about Suzi and Clarissa chats:  This project was an idea which stemmed from a chat between Suzi Vaara Williams and I on March 4th.  I mentioned that I  kept seeing everything in “Chilkat”; and Suzi was talking about all the knitting and weaving projects she has got going and asked if I remembered the crocheted “Granny Square” blankets from the 60’s.  Immediately instead of crocheted colors of yarn, I saw a different kind of “Granny Square” blanket — I saw the Chilkat and Ravenstail woven ceremonial blanket!  And when I exclaimed to Suzi my vision, right away she added with glee:  “Oh, oh, ohhhh!  And the robe will be worn during the canoe gatherings up and down the coast!”

We hope you join us in creating this one-of-a-kind ceremonial robe woven by present-day weavers for our present-day canoe gatherings and traditional dugout canoe maiden launches.  This robe will travel for many generations.  Please represent your community and be a part of this historical project.  We appreciate your time, energy and talent!  Truly, Gunalcheesh!

Creating Living Legacies

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Gusts of wind at Monument Valley, near Kayenta, New Mexico — March 2016 — photo by Rene Sioui Labelle

When we are young, many of us do not think in terms of the legacy we leave behind for our children, friends, family, community and the world.  When we are young we are looking forward to all that life has to offer and we make choices based on our desires; this is natural way to think and be.  Then one day, when we are much older than young (and for each individual that age varies), we reflect upon our lives; all those who we have come to love, the places we have lived, the work we have done, and our basic yet evolving character.  We think about our pending mortality.  We think about what we will do, and where we will be with whatever time we have left.  We think about who we have become and what we have accomplished and the who, what, and where these things will be when we pass.  Yesterday my daughter, Lily wrote me a touching letter of gratitude for showing her the way and life of Chilkat weaving.  The following is my response to her:

My Lily Lalanya:

With each of my children and their children, I leave a part of my legacy; it’s the who and what I am about.

With Kahlil, I leave a variety of my artwork:  painting, collage, weaving

With Ursala, I leave my home, studio, garden

With you, I leave my teachings of spirituality, values and technique of  the spiritual/artistic life in Chilkat weaving

Know and come to understand fully all these things are rooted in love.  Everything I co-create is created from love and the best of these creations are my children; my children are my greatest legacy.   In love you were created and creation continues to create you in love.  Look about you and all that you are and be; look at all that you have co-created as you will never create any of what you are and have by yourself — all of creation is co-created…we never create alone. 

We are a culmination of all that has been before, what is now and the future all at once in one small creation:  the I of who we are in this very moment.  All of us are legacies of everyone who has come before us.

It is well you, my dear Lily, are in the love and power of Chilkat; let it continue to guide you in goodness and wellness for many, many years to come.  

Yo Mamma love

Skirting the Saguaros

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Red Ocotillo blossoms amongst Saguaros — all photos by Rene Sioui LaBelle and Clarissa Rizal– copyright 2016 — (photograph hint::  all photos with depth of field are Rene’s)

Even two days ago I did not know I would be amongst these amazing “people”…the Saguaros of Southern Arizona.  I was planning on taking my friend, Rene to the Sonoran desert so he can take photos of the flowering desert, alas, but once we arrived here we found out from the Visitor’s Center that the cactus flowers did not bloom as profusely this mid-March because the area had a warm spell back in February.  So instead, since we were in the area, we visited the Saguaro National Park.  Being amongst these “people” was a happy experience.  It’s only obvious these “people” welcome us with open (upward swing) arms!  Like what does that say to us:  “Welcome to our land…!”

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“Welcome to our country!  Let us direct you this way…!”

The saguaro has been called monarch of the Sonoran Desert, supreme symbol of the American Southwest, and a plant with personality.  It is renowned for the variety of odd, all-too-human shapes it assumes—shapes that inspire wild and fanciful imaginings.  Since 1933 this extraordinary giant cactus has been protected within Saguaro National Park.  Preserved within it are other members of the Sonoran Desert community:  other cacti, desert trees and shrubs, and animals.  In lushness and variety of life, the Sonoran Desert far surpasses all other North American deserts.  And yet it is one of the hottest and driest regions on the continent.

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Rene takes a moment to pose for the sunset

Summer midday temperatures commonly climb above 100 degrees, although our visit was a mild 75 degrees in late March.  Less than 12 inches of rain falls in a typical year.  Between the summer and wintery seasons it’s not unusual for months to pass without a drop of rain.  Plants and animals able to survive in this environment, with adaptations specially designed for desert survival, make up one of the most interesting and unusual ecosystems in the United States.

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Smokey Blue Tucson Mountains

This world awaits you in the desert plains, mountains and foothills of Saguaro National Park.  So what are you waiting for!?!?!  After 24 years of living in the Four Corners area of the U.S., how come it has taken me that long to finally visit these people and their land!?  Readers, if you are in the Phoenix/Tuscon area, please take a day and get your boost of happiness and peace!  Forget paying a shrink for your emotional problems; just get out on the land and run, sit, relax, have a picnic, play music, take photos and hymn with the silence.  It is here you can bury any sorrows or unpleasant memories.  The Saguaro are a happy and people; allow them to be your compassionate hosts!

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First real outing with the CX-90 Volvo

There are two parts to the Saguaro National Park:  Saguaro East–Rincon Mountain District and Saguaro West–Tucson Mountain District.  We visited the latter with the background of the Tucson Mountains.  The park is open daily except Christmas Day.  It’s a normal park with its Visitor Center, self-guiding trails, picnic tables, pit toilets, campground and even back-country campsites (only in the East Rincon District).  If you are a star gazer such as I, hanging out here during the full moon would be exquisite, however, the park closes their gates directly after sunset (no matter what time of year).  Other than your camera(s), make sure you bring plenty of water (for you, your pet, your vehicle, etc.), first aid kit, food, flashlight and a blanket (just in case you break park rules and spend the night under the stars!).

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Rene scopes

Rene and I spent the day here.   I took a few photos upon arrival, but I was compelled to play my flute, sing chants and then run amongst the rock, variety of cactus and the sun to my west, leaving Rene to several hours to himself and his camera.  All photos posted are by Rene Sioui LaBelle and myself.   Let these images inspire you to visit the famous Saguaro soon; they live no where else on this planet!

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Families catch the last rays of the day

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Cholla cactus blossoms

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Clarissa runs

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More Cholla cactus blossoms

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Golden land

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sunset

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sillouettes

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Good night!  Buenas Noches!  Bon Soir!

Visiting 1000’s at the Botanical Gardens

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Checking out the most delicate of trees — photos by Rene Sioui LaBelle and Clarissa Rizal — copyright March 2016

Nature naturally inspires the human being to become more than cave folk, huddlums and geeks.  The Great Creator God wanted to speed up all of creativity because God was impatient to experience more of what is and will become and needed more “hands” so voile’, humans were born!   Everything we create is God-born and bred, even our messes, catastrophes, and you name it, violent.  Nature is consistently violated, yet nature too is violent.   Nature and God work hand in hand; we have one born of another, the Great Creator.  The duality of the glorified magnificence and the degenerating demise of Nature, mankind and all of creation is the IS.   Let’s experiment with our perceptions:  The eyes in which we see our Creator are the same eyes our Creator sees us.  If we were to think this upon everything we see, then how would we be perceived by every plant, bug, animal, human and the Creator?

The following photographs are mine and Rene’s photos taken during our day trip to the Botanical Gardens in Phoenix, Arizona.  As we saw all that we saw, how was it for the rest of this creation to see us?

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Artists-in-Residence Have Officially Landed in Tulsa

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Nine of the 12 chosen for the inaugural Tulsa Artists Fellowships during a reception at 108 Contemporary in the Brady District in Tulsa, OK, Jan. 8, 2016. (front, from left) Molly Dilworth, Chris Ramsay, Alice Leora Briggs, Nick Vaughan (back, from left) Clarissa Rizal, Eric Sall, Akiko Jackson, Rena Detrixhe and Crystal Z. Campbell. Not pictured are Gary Kachadourian, Monty Little and Nathan Young. Photo courtesy: Michael Wyke/Tulsa World

Now that we have been caught on camera and advertised in the local newspaper “Tulsa World”, everyone can agree that we have officially landed in Tulsa!  Click here to read about the inaugural Tulsa Artist Residency 2016

Checking Out the Philbrook Museum

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We rode the trolley to the Phibrook Museum

Only recently in the past few years have I come to appreciate museums.  We must understand that I was not born to a culture who kept old objects staging stagnant in an old building.  In fact, when I was a child, I literally thought museums were haunted houses.  They were dark, windowless, lifeless nooks and crannies where all the objects collected dust which made the pieces even look older and scarier!

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The ceiling of the Philbrook entry

Fortunately, with every generation of new directors and curators, we have evolved to where we are today with museums being much more active, inviting locals and visitors alike to partake in rotating exhibits and special events in spaces that have included much more light!

The Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa, Oklahoma is an art museum housed in part in a 1920s villa, situated on 23 acres of formal and informal gardens.  The original structure is the former home of Oklahoma oil pioneer Waite Phillips and his wife Genevieve (Elliott) Phillips.

The museum opened October 25, 1939. It was known as the Philbrook Art Center until 1987, when the name was changed to Philbrook Museum of Art.[2] The collection housed at the Philbrook Museum of Art includes works fromGiovanni Bellini,[3] William-Adolphe Bouguereau, William Merritt Chase, Leonardo Drew, Arturo Herrera, Charles Loloma,Maria Martinez, Thomas Moran, Pablo Picasso, Fritz Scholder, Tanzio da Varallo, Rachel Whiteread, and Andrew Wyeth. A satellite facility, Philbrook Downtown, opened on June 14, 2013 in Tulsa’s Brady Arts District.

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Curator of Modern Art at the Philbrook, Sienna Brown, introduces the “Camoflauge” hand-silkscreened prints by Andy Warhol

The Philbrook Museum is beautiful.  How come; did anyone warn me about its beauty?  I don’t remember.  The history of this museum is just as fascinating as the Gilcrease Museum here in Tulsa too (of which I will include a blog post about when I go visit the Gilcrease (http://www.legendsofamerica.com/ok-gilcreasemuseum.html).

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The outdoor garden of the Philbrook Museum, Tulsa, OK — the fountains were fantastic!

I am always fascinated by the design of buildings.  I especially enjoy old architecture influenced by Europe, especially Italy.  Instead of posting photos of some of the beautiful art in the Philbrook Collection, I have posted a few shots of this building.  You must visit the collection of art in the Philbrook.

Click here to read about the fascinating history of the Philbrook Museum

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The Italian-style architecture of the Philbrook

In the near future, I intend on doing a couple of presentations/demonstrations in Chilkat weaving both at the Gilcrease and at the Philbrook.  I just have to get settled into the vibe of Tulsa, talk to the directors, and set the date(s).

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Christina Burke explains the old dance floor that changed colors every few seconds in the Philbrook Museum

Notice the dance floor colors in these three photos.  Golly, I’d love to design and build a home/studio/ballroom that has a dance floor with changing colors!

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Making That Move

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The U-Haul was packed by a team of movers under the guidance of musician Eric Wade (the tall one)…

It’s not a rumor; I am moving to Tulsa, Oklahoma for a “job” for the entire year of 2016.   Selected as 1 of 12 inaugural artists from across the nation, the newly-formed Tulsa Artist Residency provides me a one-bedroom apartment which also serves as my studio and TAR provides me a monthly stipend that pretty much pays all my personal bills.  I call TAR my modern-day “sugar daddy” — total support while I do my art and living my life!

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With a landmark like this, know we’re in Texas !

Yes, I actually hired movers to pack my U-Haul for me; this is the very first time I’ve ever hired help to do the heavy lifting.  All the times I have moved across this continent and have never thought of hiring out.  Being too old to move heavy objects is what got my mind to think properly:  hire someone else to do the heavy work!

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The contractors did not have the elevator completely installed yet, so the movers hauled everything up two flights of stairs…!

These three guys at “Two Guys and a Truck” were my movers.  Very professional, efficient and cordial; check them out on Facebook!  Left to Right:  Jacob, Jerry, and Cory…

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“Two Guys & A Truck” Moving Company — The owner Jerry (Center) with his two guys Jacob (L) and Cory (R) — For a tip, I gave them each one of my prints of their choosing…!

I’ve officially landed in Tulsa!

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“Two Men and a Truck” — Tulsa, Oklahoma—The three guys took 3.5 hours to unload…!

 

Grandma Leaves Home at 60

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The beginning of a White Christmas

Carefully

She places white teacups into incubation

For two

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Good omen: A single raven flies over the house towards me as I snap this shot

22 years I have lived and worked in this home away from home.   The U-Haul is packed.  Getting the last remnants of possessions tucked into the cabby.  Cleaning up the studio that will be used by my daughter and her husband.  I leave this studio with no intentions of ever living here again.  I go to Tulsa for at least a year to live and work being totally supported by the Tulsa Artist Residency program.  Like awesome Alaska, it is not easy to leave beautiful Colorado.  The hardest part is leaving behind my young grand-daughters and my kids.

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Clarissa’s favorite trellised walkway

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Clarissa’s Winter Wonderland

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Clarissa’s Colorado Studio out back has served her well especially for the past 4.5 years

 

The View Out Back

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From the back yard Looking North to the San Juan Mountains first hard frost, Pagosa Springs, Colorado – October 2015

Every day (that I am not in Alaska), the past 22 years I look to these Mountains out back.

I look at them as if they will move.

In a way they do move.

They move me.

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First snow of the year, the view out back looking North to the San Juan Mountains, Pagosa Springs, Colorado – moving into December 2015

Hard to imagine living anywhere without the mountains.  I am about to do that for at least a year in Oklahoma.  How will I manage without these pillars of grounded strength?  We’ll see….

 

“Rock the Cradle” Concert for Pagosa Charter School

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“Rock the Cradle” Poster design and layout by Ursala Hudson – painting by Ursala and her dad, Bill Hudson

Last year in 2014, my daughter Ursala Hudson decided a charter school in Pagosa Springs, Colorado was a necessary addition to the community, especially now that she had two little girls of her own and was thinking into the future about their educational experience.

 

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During concert practice, Clarissa’s granddaughter Simone Haas takes her first shot at the microphone with the support of singer Jen Toggle

Ursala was home-schooled until she was 9 years old; by 8th grade she was President of her class; before she graduated she already started her own web design business.  It was only befitting she formed a Board of Directors, drafted up her outline, and submitted their application to the Colorado Department of Education with the hopes that they had met all their requirements and the DOE was inspired to assist her and a small group of other interested parents to begin their path towards the creation of this endeavor.  A few months later, they received affirmation of a three-year grant for research to visit other Charter schools in Colorado, and to help get their own act together to open Pagosa’s own charter school in the Fall of 2017!

This past spring, Ursala had mentioned to me that she and her dad were thinking of doing an awareness concert sometime this Fall for the charter school.  She asked if I wanted to re-write a cover tune and would I be willing to perform it.  I asked her what kind of re-write to what kind of song and before she could answer, I gave her an example and began to sing other words to the famous Beatle song “Hey Jude”….It began like this: “Hey Blue, don’t make it red, take a sad song and make it yellow…remember, the world was meant to be green, so we could be, completely mellow…”

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A lemonade stand provided refreshments for concert-goers

The “Rock the Cradle” concert was held Saturday, November 14th at the Pagosa Center for the Arts; it was a benefit for the Pagosa Charter School to bring awareness to the community of Pagosa Springs that this school is in the formation process!

Big thanks to the Pagosa Center for the Arts for generously donating their space for this concert!

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Pagosa Springs Charter School Board of Directors at the admissions table:  Ursala Hudson, Megan Riddle and Laura Hamilton

The benefit concert was produced and directed by Ursala and her father, Bill Hudson.  They gathered together a group of volunteers and put together a band of local musicians to play for free:  guitarists included Steve Sarkis, Steve Summers, Greg Millioto, and Bill Hudson; drummer D.C. Duncan, key board Venita Burch, and bass player Jarrett Hebert.  Lead and back up singers included Lisa Saunders, Jen Toggle, Chris Haas, Greg Millioto, Bill Hudson, D.C. Duncan, Geoffrey Andrews, Ursala Hudson, Jen Sarkis and Clarissa Rizal.

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In the audience, Jen Sarkis and Drie Young with their baby boys Shaydon and Wyatt

The concert was a huge success, standing room only, unfortunately, people were turned away at the door!   On behalf of my daughter, Ursala Hudson and the Pagosa Springs Charter School Board of Directors, thank you to all who came to the concert!  Truly, the support is appreciated!

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Chris Haas, Ursala Hudson, Jen Toggle, Geoffrey Andrews and Lisa Saunders

About the Pagosa Charter School:

“The Pagosa Charter Initiative is a non-profit group dedicated to providing a public elementary school option to families in Pagosa Springs, Colorado.

Our vision is to form a school that will foster creative, self-sufficient children with inquisitive minds. We are committed to providing an alternative learning environment that nurtures and engages our community’s children through outdoor education, hands-on projects, and community involvement, while continuing to align with state educational standards.

We believe that exploring subjects through participation in natural environments not only strengthens student achievement, but also inevitably supports community vitality and healthy environments. The opportunity to observe, solve problems, and participate in real-life scenarios fosters life-long learners who are socially responsible, and have a strong sense of purpose. Click here to read our core values.

The group was formed in December of 2014 by several dedicated individuals wanting to invest in our community and children through education. Please contact us if you are interested in helping out, and/or join our mailing list to keep up-to-date with our progress.”

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4 Guitarists and the drummer, L to R: Bill Hudson, Steven Summers, Greg Millioto, Steve Sarkis and D.C. Duncan

For more information on the Pagosa Charter School, check out their website at:  http://pagosacharterschool.com/

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Check out the stature of these guitarists…LOL…!

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The familiar audience of little people!!!

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Bill Hudson, Jarrett Heber, Jen Toggle, Ursala Hudson and Jen Sarkis

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Greg Millioto on lead guitar, D.C. on drums — doesn’t get any better than that in this town of Pagosa Springs

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Professional singers Lisa Saunders and Geoffrey Andrews sing a most recent Disney duet “A Whole New World”

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Chris, Jenn, Ursala, Jeff

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Big sister Amelie Haas hugs her Simone during a break between songs

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Check out this passion and fun of singing and performing…!

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Brothers Ross and D.C. Duncan perform a poetry skit

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Clarissa’s youngest daughter, Ursala Hudson, President of the Pagosa Charter School