Music in the Courtyard 2015
A Golden Hour Tradition
by Terry Allen
August 17, 2015
Sukey Hohl hosted the first Music in the Courtyard series in 2011. "Our motivation in creating the series was to utilize the beautiful space that was created with construction of the new addition in 2009," said Sukey.
Since then, Juli Winthers as Adult Programing Coordinator for the Library has hosted the event. In 2011 there were three Thursday evening presentations and this year there were eleven. "We felt it was important to showcase local acoustic talent in a space where we could enjoy the lingering rays of summer, and each other," said Juli.
Bob McCarty was a featured performer the first year, and performed in this seasonís final offering, with Karin Loya and Sue Briggs-Stanfill. Bob plays a 1950 Martin 0018 parlour guitar. He bought it for $150 at college in 1975. "Itís a pretty hard guitar to play," said Bob. "It suits me, though. I love the tone. But after about an hour my fingers get too sore to play anymore. My favorite place to play is in front of my fireplace on a winters evening," he said.
Karin Loya who plays the cello, worked for NASA in Maryland for 30 years, but also has deep roots in our community. "My grandparents were immigrant coal miners who settled in Rock Springs," said Karin. "My father was a fine violinist and the only kid from Wyoming who gained a place in the National Youth Symphony in 1927 and 1928."
Karin also plays a rare vintage instrument. "I told my luthier I was looking for a cello I could leave out here," she said. "He showed me a German made 1950ís era cello that was slated for destruction. I really liked the look of the rich wood, so I asked him to restore it for me. He also happened to have a 100 year old bow and he restored that for me as well; and those are the instruments you hear me play," she said.
Sue Briggs-Stanfill comes from a 100+ year old ranching family and remembers always singing as a child. "I just always loved singing," she said. "It came very easily to me, probably because it made me feel good to be able to do it. It just became part of me. I did have a teacher in elementary school and another one in college that encouraged me to sing. I consider my voice a gift. My goal when I sing in public is to be able to touch someone elseís heart," Sue said.
Golden sunlight and a warm breeze washed over the trio of old friends as they performed a piece by a Spanish composer. Cody and Wyatt Sims sat at their Grandmother Kristyís feet and kept time by clapping quietly and conducting with outstretched arms. Larry Phillips (also a first year performer) in his signature Hawaiian shirt, reclined with closed eyes as the music swept over him. Rosy-cheeked and smiling Floyd Briggs never seemed to take his eyes off his daughter and friends as they performed.
As elegantly presented as the events have always been, Juli sometimes wondered if she could pull off a full schedule. "Every year around January, Iíd start to get nervous," she said. "I wondered if Iíd be able to schedule a variety of acoustic music."
What is Juli most pleased with during her years as coordinator? "I am really happy the library was able to give new artists a launching pad in a family friendly environment," she said.
As you may have heard, Juli Winthers is moving to Darby, Montana where her husband Eric will be the new District Ranger. So, the library will be looking for a new host for next yearís Music in the Courtyard series.