Eco Lounge Concert

Eco Lounge Concert
• Series lures eclectic fans• written by Barbara Lawlor •
Wild Bear Mountain Ecology Center is not just about bugs and fish and outdoor experiential education. The ecology center has evolved to include art and music and healthy, family-oriented community events. Even as our environment spreads its wings adapting to growth and change, Wild Bear  has been open to expanding ways to bring our Ned neighborhood together to welcome new experiences and audiences.
On Sunday, March 30, Taarka and the Matt Flinner Trio entertained a full house in the Wild Bear Eco-Lounge. The audience consisted of locals and home concert enthusiasts, spillover from Greg Ching’s Aspen Meadow presentations.
Before the performance, folks enjoyed a pot luck offering of yummy dishes and conversations with fellow music lovers. When the lights dimmed, the audience was seated in the lounge, the musicians on a small stage with an art covered background emphasizing the sophisticated yet lively blend of instrument and voice.
For the past 15 years, Greg Ching has been hosting the Aspen Meadows Home Concert in his living room, inviting local and nationally known musicians to play in a more relaxed intimate setting while they are touring the country. The concerts have gained in popularity for both the audience and the musicians and there is a waiting list of entertainers to be included on the schedule.
Last summer, Wild Bear added another shopping center bay to its mountain ecology site, intending it to be an art gallery and music venue. The eco-lounge opened in June with Molly’s Revenge, a Celtic band, a fundraiser for the Carousel of Happiness.
The Nederland community knew a good thing when they heard it. Ching says, “We were trying to have a venue somewhere between the house concerts and the theater. Boulder County allows me only 12 concerts a year and I have limited space. This new venue makes room in my house concerts for new artists and the older musicians can graduate to the eco-lounge.”
Last Halloween, Eliza Gilkyson and Nick Forster packed the house which holds 75 people and Dreves and Ching knew they had a found a way to sustain the lounge and bring in a whole new population to Wild Bear.
Since then the eco-lounge has had two fundraisers for the Jamestown flood victims, including a concert by Jamestown musicians, a Peter Mayer concert and a concert by local Darryl Purpose. Some of the funds raised by the concerts have going and are going to purchase sound and lighting equipment so Ching does not have to transport the gear from his home to the center.
On Saturday, May 17 Katie Curtis, Karryl Purpose and Liz Barnez will perform and sometime in June there will be a Wild Bear 20th anniversary fundraiser concert.
Ching says he will not be running home concerts forever and now is the time to train the Wild Bear staff to continue what he began. “The popularity of these concerts is a good sign that Nederland is building a national music reputation,” he says.
After last Sunday’s concert, the audience had a chance to chat with the musicians as well as purchase CDs of their work. It has been less than a year since the WB Eco-Lounge opened its doors and there is no doubt that the venue will be used by renowned and local musicians and artists looking for a home away from home.

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Barbara Lawlor

Barbara is a reporter for The Mountain-Ear.