Poser: Not just your average band/synchronized swimming team

Roaring Fork Valley-based band Poser will play at Music on the Mountain this Saturday, June 7th.

Poser is made up of Matt Harrington (lead vocals and rhythm guitar),  Mark Pearson (bass guitar and background vocals), Michael Miller (keyboards and background vocals), Paul Buechler (lead guitar), and Mike Luciano (drums). It’s the band’s first time playing Music on the Mountain, so to get to know them a little better we asked the lead singer, Matt Harrington, for some details about the band.

NJ: How did Poser come into existence?
MH: I formed the band in the late 1980′s when I lived in Aspen. My former wife was working at a flower shop, and the husband of a gal she was working with also played guitar. His name was Steve. We got together with the intentions of learning every Beatles song written and became the best of friends. A band slowly developed over the years and had Steve not passed away 10 years ago, we would have been playing together for over 25 years.

NJ: What does Poser do in their spare time?
MH: When Poser is not performing the hits of rock ‘n’ roll legends, we all participate in a men’s synchronized swimming team. We compete around the world at public swimming pools and have won several competitions.  In honor of Ester Williams, the queen of synchronized swimming, my favorite formation is a Daisy. Mark, Paul, Michael and I form the daisy petals, while my drummer, Mike Luciano, takes the position of the center where he spurts water from his mouth. It truly is an incredible sight to witness.

NJ: Can you describe the band’s style (onstage, not in the pool)?
MH: We’re strictly a rock and roll cover band. To be honest, I couldn’t write a song if my life depended on it and I greatly admire those who can. I love playing the Beatles, probably due to the fact that it’s where it all began with my friend Steve. Although we only do covers, we pride ourselves on playing them our way, and making it ours.

Poser takes the Music on the Mountain stage Saturday, June 7th at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park

NJ: What type of music do you like to play?
MH: The thing about Poser is our diverse selection of music that everyone is familiar with. From Bruce Springsteen to Hank Williams, if it’s a song we like, we do it. As a younger musician, I focused on songs that I thought people wanted to hear. As time progressed, I learned that if it was a song that I liked, I would play it well for the simple reason that I liked it. The advice I give to up and coming bands is: “Do what you like to do and, if you play what you believe, you will play it well!

NJ: Can you share a funny or memorable moment that has happened to Poser?
MH: We played our first gig around 1986, at the Red Onion in Aspen.  The owner was not at all interested in having live music, but I managed to bully my way in.  He agreed to pay us $200, which was great. The problem was, we invited all of our friends, bought drinks for them all night, and by the end of the evening our bar tab was about $11.00 more than what we were getting paid. A scene right out of the Blues Brothers!

I have been blessed over the past 30 years of playing with my best friends, and the “Stories from the Road” would make a good book and an even better movie!

NJ: Who are your musical influences?
MH: I grew up in New Jersey, in a musical family. At the age of 8, I played in my Uncle Billy’s country band.  There I was introduced to songs by Hank Williams, Chet Atkins, Roger Miller and the like. I have always been receptive to all music, but my main musical influences are Ray Charles, Bruce Springsteen, and of course, the Beatles.

NJ: What is your favorite venue in the Roaring Fork Valley so far?
MH: We play for a group of sculptors from all over the world that camp in the woods for a week while they’re learning to sculpt marble. Great people, a magical setting, and after living in a tent for a week, these artists are starved for entertainment to the point where they start dancing while we’re tuning our guitars!

NJ: So are you looking forward to your show this weekend at the Caverns?
MH: We’re very excited to play at Glenwood Caverns. I was hooked last year when I saw the Beatles tribute band Doctor Robert play. Great stage, great food, great fun, and cold beer at a reasonable price: doesn’t get much better!

The music starts at 6pm, and Can for a Tram starts at 4pm. Bring at least one can of food for a free tram ride to the top. The Lookout Grille and Snack Shack will be open for dinner, snacks and refreshments, including drink specials on select wine, beer and well drinks. Rides and attractions will be open until dusk. See you on Saturday!

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Night Plane lands at Music on the Mountain on Saturday

Night Plane performs a free concert this Saturday at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park

Night Plane will take the stage for a third year this Saturday at Music on the Mountain, Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park’s ongoing free concert series. Singer-songwriters Jimmy Dykann and Haden Gregg are longtime Roaring Fork Valley locals and, together with John Zajicek, the acoustic trio have become area favorites.

Night Plane has been in existence since 1979. Throughout the decades, the band has played alongside John Denver, Jimmy Buffett, and many other noted musicians who came through the Roaring Fork Valley. Night Plane plays rock and blues classics, but they also write and perform a lot of original material.

The band recorded two albums together. In 2013 Night Plane re-released their debut album, Night Plane, on vinyl. The album includes four new original songs, which concert-goers will hopefully hear them play at the concert on Saturday.

The Park will be open with rides and attractions, including the new Glenwood Canyon Flyer. The Lookout Grille and Snack Shack will be open for dinner, snacks and refreshments, including drink specials on select wine, beer and well drinks. We hope to see you there!

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Music on the Mountain kick-off party: good times, new thrills

On Friday, Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park kicked off its summer concert series with Doctor Robert. The energetic band performed a wide selection of Beatles tunes for the crowd, some of whom were dressed up as characters from Beatles songs!

The NEW Glenwood Canyon Flyer

Friday park-goers were able to be some of the first people to ride the Glenwood Canyon Flyer, a thrill ride that swings you up and around the edge of Glenwood Canyon, high above the Colorado River. A lot of people commented that it felt like they were flying, so the name of the ride is perfect! Check out the video to see what the Flyer is all about.

It was fun for a good cause. Can for a Tram collected a good supply of canned goods and other non-perishable foods to donate to Lift-Up. People who brought at least one can of food got a free tram ride to the top. Guess how many cans were donated and you could win a pair of Funday Passes! Go to the Glenwood Caverns Facebook page and look for the “Tuesday Trivia Contest” to post your guess.

If you were at the kick-off party, share in the comments below your favorite part of the day! For a schedule of the concert series and more information, visit Music on the Mountain.

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Music on the Mountain returns Friday, May 23 with Doctor Robert

The popular Music on the Mountain series returns this Friday, May 23 to Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park!

The Beatles tribute band Doctor Robert will play the kick-off concert for a second year; their performance last year was a huge hit with audience members of all ages.

The band is based out of Crested Butte and frequently tours around Colorado. “We’ve had a fantastic year since playing the Glenwood Caverns,” says band member Kevin Reinert. “We’ve been invited to play a lot of high profile shows, including summer music concerts in Basalt, Winter Park, Redstone, and Arvada. We’re also headlining the evening entertainment for the Fourth of July in Aspen.

“We’re playing a lot of new venues around the state, such as Dickens Opera House in Longmont, I Bar Ranch in Gunnison, and The Red Room in Manitou Springs.”

Doctor Robert plays free concert at Glenwood Caverns this Friday, May 23

Doctor Robert has a huge selection of Beatles songs in their repertoire. “We’re up to 112 Beatles songs in our live catalog. Every song we learn becomes our new favorite, so look for more songs to be added to our live rotation,” says Reinert.  The large selection means the band can tailor every song to the crowd’s mood. Get ready to kick up your heels, as this band got the partiers dancing last year!

“We’ve had nothing but positive feedback since we started this project in 2010, and every year brings new and exciting opportunities. We’re looking forward to kicking off another summer of outdoor music at Glenwood Caverns this weekend!” exclaims Reinert.

The free show starts at 6pm, and Can for a Tram starts at 4pm. Bring a can (or more) of food to donate to Lift-Up and get a free tram ride.

Rides and attractions will be open, and drink specials are available. Hope to see you there!

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Partnership with Colorado Mountain College adds educational value to Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park

Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park is collaborating on an exciting project with Colorado Mountain College. In the next few months, the park will install a series of interpretive geology and biology panels, highlighting the natural wonders of the area.

Steve Beckley, who owns Glenwood Caverns with his wife Jeannie, is very pleased to be teaming up with the college. “We love to work with CMC. They are very professional and build a great product!” he says.

Garry Zabel, professor emeritus at CMC, has been instrumental in the creation of the geology panels. Zabel spent 29 years at the Spring Valley Campus as a professor of geology and math. Though retired, he continues to lead very popular field trips to study the geology of the Grand Canyon.

With a chuckle, Zabel credits his granddaughter with the initial creation of the geology panels: Zabel borrowed her colored pencils to create his sketches that were later turned into artwork for the panels. The sketches reveal the underlying geology of the entire Glenwood Springs valley as seen from the south side of the park (they will be installed on the Visitor Center Observation Deck and the Viewing Deck near the Giant Canyon Swing). Each layer of rock is labeled and detailed, and call-out points present interesting facts about the geological history of the area.

One of the geology panels that will be installed at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park in the coming months.

Panels that feature the Grand Hogback, Glenwood Canyon and Mt. Sopris are also being developed. Additionally, a series of artist’s renderings and descriptions of the local flora and fauna will be placed along the Nature Trail, which leads up to the Cliffhanger Roller Coaster.

Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park is committed to to the educational component of the park. From a scientific standpoint, Iron Mountain and Glenwood Springs are very distinct and the Beckleys are anxious to share some of the fascinating information behind the area’s beauty.

One of the signs that will be placed along the Nature Trail features the Colorado Pinyon Pine and Pinyon Jay.

“The geology of the surrounding area is stunning and unique,” points out Beth Zukowski, marketing specialist at CMC. “Geologists from all over the world visit Glenwood Canyon and the nearby edge of the Colorado Plateau to study its formations. Doing so helps them interpret the geologic history of other areas, notably the Grand Canyon. ”

Both Zukowski and Beckley agree that the main goal is for visitors to find added value in their time at the Caverns. “The new panels will heighten our guests’ awareness about all the wonderful natural features in the park,” says Beckley. Adds Zukowski, “We believe that the interpretive sign project will bring added educational value to the visitors of Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. We hope that novices and experts alike will be able to discover something new from these signs!”

To learn more about Garry Zabel’s upcoming field trip course to Moab, go here. There are still spots available! For Glenwood Caverns’ winter and springtime hours, and other park information, visit park info.

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Help name our new ride and you could win!

Glenwood Caverns Naming ContestThere’s a new attraction coming to Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park this spring that will swing you up, up, up, around and around, and out over Glenwood Canyon. We need your help in coming up with a name for it, so we’re holding a contest on our Facebook page.

The grand prize, valued at almost $500, includes eight Funday Passes, each of which offers unlimited turns on all of the park’s rides, plus four souvenir cups and four t-shirts. The passes can be used one or two at a time, for two days at the park for a family of four, or for one party of eight. To enter the contest, post your entries at Facebook.com/GlenwoodCaverns by midnight on Friday, Feb. 14.

“The Giant Canyon Swing and Cliffhanger Roller Coaster have been so popular with our guests, we want to offer them another way to experience the thrill of our location overlooking Glenwood Canyon,” said Steve Beckley, who owns Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park with his wife Jeanne. “The new ride does just that, and because our guests and fans have been so supportive over the years, we’d like their help in coming up with a name for it. Our hope is to find a name that reflects the excitement of soaring out over the canyon.”

Located on the edge of Glenwood Canyon between the Giant Canyon Swing and the Cliffhanger Roller Coaster, the ride will swing riders out approximately 1,400 feet above the Colorado River. The swing, which is under construction in Venice, Italy, will resemble a large tree with a brown trunk and green foliage at the top. Upon completion in early April, it will travel by ship to the U.S. for installation and will be open to the public in May.

Contest entries may also be emailed to cavegirl (at) glenwoodcaverns (dot) com or submitted via Twitter tagged with @GlenwoodCaverns by midnight on Feb. 14. After the names are collected, the park’s management team will select 10 finalists. Those 10 will be posted on Facebook so that fans can vote for their favorites through Feb. 26. The winner will be selected by the park and announced on or about Mar. 5. Individuals may submit more than one entry. In the event that the winning name is submitted by more than one person, the first person to submit it will be deemed the winner.

Time to get those thinking caps on!

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School Programs Combine Fun, Adventure and Learning

Teachers, educators, parents, students…looking for a new field trip? Ready for a break from the classroom? Want geology, science and history lessons to come alive before your eyes? Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park offers school programs that will both educate and entertain.

Schools visiting the park get to explore the caves with guides who can keep the students interested by tailoring the experience to the age group. Kids also participate in an educational activity (gemstone panning for younger kids and a cave science lesson for older kids). They can also enjoy the rides and attractions, such as the alpine coaster and laser tag, for a special  half-price school rate.

The school group program is available throughout the school year–if you feel like your class could use an adventure during the long winter months, Glenwood Caverns is ready to welcome you.

Vicki Douglas, a second grade teacher at Parkview Elementary in Rangeley, CO, has taken her class to the Park for the past several years. Here is what she had to say about the experience:

“The kids and adults love the trip. Most of the kids have never ridden on a tram so that experience is fun to witness on the way up to the caverns.

The guides we have had in the past have done an incredible job explaining everything on a 2nd grade level but making it interesting for the sponsors.

Parkview Elementary students panning for gemstones

With a little prepping before making the trip the students learn so much about rocks, minerals and gems.  Speaking of gems….the kids’ favorite part is always panning for gems!  That addition to the park has really made a difference since the kids get to take home a prized souvenir.

Second graders enjoying the giant sandbox

As a teacher, my favorite part is the ease in planning the trip. I like the picnic area to eat sack lunches and the friendly staff. We are always made to feel welcome and the day is well organized. Even when we have brought two classes at once it was easy to split the group and keep everyone engaged while waiting their turn.

The giant sand box area is wonderful. The kids can unwind while waiting for the other groups to finish the tours.

This helps wear them out for the bus ride home!”

Group photo on the big chair!

The school groups program really is a great experience for students and adults alike. Having fun and learning while you’re at it…what’s better than that? For more information, visit http://glenwoodcaverns.com/school-programs.html

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Nancy Heard: “We are constantly moving forward”

Ask Nancy Heard, Mountain Operations Manager at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, what she likes to do in her free time and she will respond, “think about the Caverns!” That mind-set and dedication are part of what makes her such an integral part of the Glenwood Caverns team.

Nancy has been with the Caverns since 2008; she started on April Fool’s Day! She is responsible for overseeing attractions, cave tours, and maintenance. “The best part about the job is the variety,” says Nancy. “I get time in the field and time at my desk. I truly enjoy the contact with the guests. Guests are so blown away with even the most simple of courtesies when extended genuinely, and I find that so rewarding.

“There is never a dull moment!” she adds. “We are constantly moving forward.”

Nancy Heard, Mountain Operations manager, at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park (that's the Cliffhanger roller coaster in the background).

Nancy moved from her hometown in Michigan to Denver in 1985, fresh out of college. “I worked for Martin Marietta Aerospace. I started in the engineering department and ended my tenure with the corporate training department, where I taught computer-aided design to other engineers.”

While at Martin Marietta, she earned an MBA from the University of Colorado and moved to Aspen. For the next 16 years she worked at Aspen Skiing Co., first as lift operations manager at Snowmass and then as General Manager of the mountain photography division.

Nancy lives in Basalt with her husband (“Jimbo”) and two teenage girls, Mackenzie and Nicolette. Besides thinking about the Caverns in her free time, she can be found swimming at the Hot Springs Pool or biking the Rio Grand Trail.

Throughout her years at the Caverns, there is one very memorable day that sticks out in Nancy’s mind. “We made special accommodations to provide the opportunity for a 4 year old child with disabilities to ride the Alpine Coaster. She didn’t have any limbs. Several of us put our heads together and came up with a solution to attach her to her dad using climbing harnesses. It was a very special time for the girl and the parents were so grateful. They said that this would likely be the only roller coaster their daughter would ever be able to ride. It was very touching,” Nancy reflects.

Another significant day was the opening of the Cliffhanger roller coaster. “I was involved start to finish on that ride,” says Nancy. “I worked with the broker to negotiate the price; I flew to Missouri to inspect it; I organized the shipping and installation; I oversaw the refurbishment of the ride and the final inspection and commissioning of the ride. It was a proud day when the Cliffhanger opened to the public!”

For Nancy, working at the Caverns has been a unique experience. “Glenwood Caverns is different because of the ownership. Steve and Jeannie Beckley are wonderful people. They are very involved in the Caverns. They truly care about the product and the employees. When a decision is being considered, Steve asks, ‘what is best for the guest?’ and the decision usually becomes obvious. Steve has a way of bringing us all back to center when asking this question.”

Nancy’s favorite part of the Adventure Park is the Nature Trail. “It is a beautiful trail, and it offers so much opportunity for development. I enjoy the constant brainstorming process of ‘what should we do next?’”

“What should we do next” is a motto that makes Glenwood Caverns the dynamic, ever-growing place that it is. Nancy and the rest of the Glenwood Caverns staff are excited about the future of the park, and they hope you are, too!

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Creepy Cocktails & Little Goblins at The Lookout Grille

The Candy Corn, one of many Halloween themed drinks at The Lookout Grille

Halloween is almost here and if you’re not already in the mood for spooky fun, The Lookout Grille at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park is offering some frightfully delicious drinks to get you ready!

For ghouls and goblins over the age of 21, there are a variety of decadent Creepy Cocktails guaranteed to leave you screaming for more. Try the Witches Brew: rum, apple cider, grape goo, and gummy worms. Or the Pina Ghoulada, made with raspberry blood! The Ghost Buster is a martini-style drink with raspberry vodka, melon liquor, irish cream liqueur and sprite.

For hair-raising drinks that are kid friendly, the Lookout Grille offers the Little Goblins menu, with such concoctions as Swamp Juice, made with lemonade, sprite, lime goo, garnished with a gummy fish and gummy worm. The Candy Corn is a popular drink made with orange juice, grenadine, whipped cream and candy corns. Ogre Eye Stew is hot chocolate with whipped cream and marshmallow eyes!

The Halloween drinks are the brainchild of staffer Amanda Alberico and her co-workers at the Grille.  “We have fun drinks for Christmas and we thought, ‘why not do it for Halloween too?’” says Amanda. They found a few recipes online and made a lot of their own tweaks for unique creations. Her favorite is the Rotten Apple, with apple cider, grape goo, and gummy worms. “For the adult drinks, we had to test out a lot of different combinations,” she says. It’s a rough job, but someone’s got to do it…

Take Amanda’s advice to “come and enjoy our fun creepy cocktails!” Besides scary sipping, the Lookout Grille offers select wine, beer, and a variety of other beverages. For dining options, you can’t go wrong with Colorado hormone free hamburgers, fresh wraps, salads, sandwiches, a great kids’ menu and more.

Visit park info for more information and seasonal hours. Hope to see you there sooooon! Boo!

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Aspen Leaf Jewelry and Ornaments at The General Store

Aspen trees are a quintessential part of Colorado. We Coloradoans take pride in the abundance of aspen groves that populate the state, especially in the summer and fall when their beauty is in full force.

As winter approaches, we’ll say goodbye to the trees brimming with colorful leaves for the time being. However, The General Store gift shop at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park offers a way to hold onto the beauty of the aspen leaf…permanently.

Rocky Mountain Leaf Company, based out of Littleton, Colorado, offers one-of-a kind, gorgeous jewelry and ornaments made from real, hand-collected aspen leaves.

Silver, copper and gold plated aspen leaf ornaments. Rocky Mountain Leaf Company hand-selects each leaf, available for purchase at The General Store at Glenwood Caverns.

The business was started in Aspen in 1974. Liz Meyer has owned it for the past five years. She started out on the sales team, but ended up purchasing the company from the original owner. It’s always been something of a family endeavor–her youngest daughter used to help out producing the artwork. Now her oldest daughter and husband are part of the team, along with two other employees.

“We go out every summer and fall and collect leaves. We usually collect about 100,000 a year,” says Meyer. “We are very careful not to hurt the trees!” The company has some property off of Route 285 where they collect the majority of the leaves. Who gets the task of leaf-collecting? “Whoever I can get to do it!” laughs Meyer. “It can definitely be dirty, and buggy!”

The leaves, individually chosen for shape and size, are then brought back and placed in phone books to flatten and dry out. They are then re-sorted to weed out any misshapen, undersized, or bug-bitten leaves.

Only the best of the best make it to the next step, an acid bath, which washes away everything but the veiny structure of the leaf. The veins get coated in copper and are then electroplated with 24k gold, fine silver (a softer, more pure form than sterling silver) or iridescent copper. The pieces created by this method are “lace” styles, because  the intricate patterns of the veins resemble lace. Some leaves are left out of the acid bath, creating the “solid” style pieces–whole leaves plated in metal.

The last step is to create the actual jewelry and ornaments–attaching chains for necklaces, loops for ornaments, and so on. Rocky Mountain Leaf Company offers a wide variety of products–necklaces, earrings, magnets, charms, and more. You can view the pieces at the company’s website.

“Every one really is individual and unique,” Meyer says. Of the roughly 100,000 leaves collected, the company will sell nearly all of them. The ornaments are probably the most popular offering , says Meyer, and the 24k gold pieces are the most sought after plating. “People associate the gold with the golden color of the aspen leaves.”

“It’s a great item for visitors; they can bring home a little piece of Colorado with them,” Meyer points out. The jewelry and ornaments make great gifts for visitors and locals alike!

Visit The General Store at Glenwood Caverns to see for yourself the unique creations of the Rocky Mountain Leaf Company! For hours and more information, visit park info.

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