Red Rocks Amphitheatre Celebrates 80th Anniversary Season With Pandemic Tribute from Caring Coloradans

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Performers included firefighters and first responders who played their bagpipes and drums for communities across the state and an ICU nurse whose voice was the sound of caring during the pandemic.

Raditya “Rad” Muljadi is an 11-year-old fifth-grader from Parker, CO. His performance at Red Rocks was a showstopper, as he wowed and inspired the crowd of 2,500 attendees.

For more than eight decades, Red Rocks has hosted the biggest acts in music history, but few performances had more heart on stage than what we saw tonight.

Colorado’s iconic Red Rocks Amphitheatre paid tribute to its 80th Anniversary season on April 28, not with one of the venue’s usual platinum-selling headliners, but with a roster of acts that performed throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for those in nursing homes, intensive care units, churches and front yards.

Among those performing were firefighters and first responders who played their bagpipes and drums for communities across the state and an ICU nurse whose voice was the sound of caring during the pandemic.

Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock welcomed the crowd of 2,500 in recognition of the historic venue’s 80th anniversary. Additionally, the event featured an “8 o’clock howl,” a literal howl from all 2,500 people in the venue. The howl was led by the Denver couple who spurred the vocal thank-you ritual last year in appreciation of frontline workers.

“For more than eight decades, Red Rocks has hosted the biggest acts in music history, but few performances had more heart on stage than what we saw tonight,” said Ginger White, executive director of Denver Arts & Venues, the city agency that operates the venue. “There are so many caring musicians who lifted our spirits in surprising ways throughout the pandemic, and we wanted to thank them all with the representatives in this show.”

A number of seats were filled by frontline workers including those who work in grocery stores, public safety and COVID-prevention services. Tickets to the concert sold for 80 cents (the cost of a show at Red Rocks in 1941) in honor of the venue’s 80th anniversary.

Artists were selected based on recommendations from music and news journalists, whose coverage of these musicians put a spotlight on their musical notes from across Colorado. Performers included:

  • Colorado Emerald Society Pipes and Drums – These fire fighters and first responders performed nightly across Colorado communities.
  • Raditya “Rad” Muljadi – This 11-year-old fifth grader from Parker dazzled online fans with his concerts for charity.
  • Emily Worthem – This Denver ICU nurse sang to her patients and hospital staff throughout the pandemic.
  • Longmont High School Drumline – The nationally-ranked group was forced to compete at nationals online because of the pandemic.
  • D’Evelyn Jr-Sr High School Marching Band – Substituted a Presidential Inauguration performance for online participation in the “Parade Across America” on Inauguration Day.
  • JoFoKe, Shane Endsley, Adam Waite – The trio’s online performances showcased a star-studded career in jazz, sacred music and Dove Award-winning vocals.
  • Rico Jones – The saxophonist’s front porch performances were like many that turned into joyous neighborhood concerts.
  • Colorado Conservancy for the Jazz Arts – The kids of the CCJA went from front porches to the Red Rocks stage.
  • Brice Maiurro/Shelsea Ochoa – This couple’s Facebook group popularized the howl and grew to 600,000 members from 100 countries.

About Denver Arts & Venues
Denver Arts & Venues’ mission is to amplify Denver’s quality of life and economic vitality through premier public venues, arts and entertainment opportunities. Arts & Venues is the City and County of Denver agency responsible for operating some of the region’s most renowned facilities, including Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre, the Denver Performing Arts Complex, Colorado Convention Center, Denver Coliseum and McNichols Civic Center Building. Arts & Venues also oversees the Denver Public Art Program, Create Denver, SCFD Tier III granting process, Arts Education Fund and other entertainment and cultural events such as the Five Points Jazz Festival, Urban Arts Fund, P.S. You Are Here and implementation of IMAGINE 2020: Denver’s Cultural Plan. Denver Arts & Venues is committed to diversity, equity and inclusiveness in all our programs, initiatives and decision-making processes. 
http://www.ArtsandVenues.com

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Ben Heinemann
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