Before closing the door on 2015, Swallow Hill Music staffers weighed in with their favorite moments of the year. From concerts to the classroom, these memories show why Swallow Hill Music holds a unique spot in Denver’s music community.

Thank you for being part of that community, we are excited for 2016!

“For me, it’s definitely the final performance at the Swallow Hill Music Kids Camp in Crested Butte. For four days a group of teachers worked with kids ages 7-14, teaching them how to play bluegrass music. The kids performed songs they wrote, including “Rider, the Slow Outlaw,” played a traditional song with their band for the week, and the concert concluded with a mega-jam of “Rabbit in the Log.”“(Video of their dress rehearsal below) – Lindsay Taylor, Marketing Director

“When Ziggy Marley brought his sons up on stage with him at Denver Botanic Gardens, and the little one danced his heart out while the older one wailed perfect time on a cymbal at the front of the stage. And really the best part was watching our 30 year old box office manager, who had a similar mop of hair at the time, imitate the kids after the show because he thought it was an awesome moment.” – Hanna Ackerman, Associate Concert Director

“Abigail Washburn and Bela Fleck brought their two-year-old son, Juno, with them on tour. They gave a shout-out to him at the concert at the Botanic Gardens and he gave a huge wave to the crowd. It was so precious and touching to see them just as a regular family.” – Meg Ivey Yon, Associate Marketing Director

“I had two best moments. They were both filled with high energy and good vibes:

The first was at the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities when Big Bad Voodoo Daddy played. They had the crowd dancing everywhere and it was a joy to hear the band and watch the swing dancers doing their thing up top.

The second was Black Violin’s show at Daniels Hall that attracted people from all walks of life. Black, white, Latino, old, young, and kids. They spoke directly to the kids at one point and encouraged them to make whatever they do in life be something that hasn’t been done before.” – Ronda Loredo, Accounting Specialist

“One of the things I love most about Swallow Hill concerts and our shows at Denver Botanic Gardens is being introduced to up-and-coming acts as they open for the headliner. My favorite one this year was Johnnyswim, who opened for Ry Cooder, Sharon White and Ricky Skaggs at the Gardens. I’ve been listening to them consistently ever since. I especially enjoyed “Take the World”” – Deidre Hamilton, Director of Development

“Folks may not know that many nights we have the best show in Denver. We are like finding that great bottle of wine.

Harry Tuft’s 80th Birthday party was just one example of a great Swallow Hill Music moment, a great gathering of community. The monthly Hootenanny is a special feature and example of our community. It’s an open invitation for our community to play what they’ve learned, it completes the circle. Every month is unique and heartfelt.

A 10-year-old student waiting on her mom, who was talking to a teacher. The daughter heard the music in Daniels Hall pre-sound check. I asked if she would like to see the band do sound check. By the time the mom came to get the girl, the girl was up on the stage singing and dancing with the band. Mom was amazed – band thought it was great.

Lloyd Cole was performing. Brian Hunter (Swallow Hill Music’s Sound Engineer) informed me this man and son were waiting to see Lloyd. The son had been named Lloyd after his parents had seen a Lloyd Cole show years ago. The man’s wife had passed in the previous year and he wanted to see his show at Swallow Hill. I got an OK from Mr. Cole and brought them back to meet him and tell their story.” – Richard Montgomery, Concert Production Organization and Management

“The naming of the Quinlan Cafe earlier this Fall was one of my favorite moments at Swallow Hill Music. Swallow Hill Music brings people together who have shared values and a desire to build community through music and philanthropy. And that evening brought people together to celebrate the legacy of Jeff Quinlan – who found joy and association here.

Swallow Hill Music has a rich history – from amazing musicians gracing our stages, to every student and teacher who has explored experiential learning, to every concertgoer, member and donor – and the naming ceremony was a powerful moment in time. For more than three decades we have grown and benefited through the gifts of time, treasure and talent from people throughout our community. Jeff’s contributions have created a wonderful legacy for our community – adding his name to the Cafe was a perfect tribute and marvelous addition to our two other performance spaces, Daniels Hall and Tuft Theater. – Paul Lhevine, Chief Executive Officer

“My office shares a wall with a classroom, and late in the afternoon I get to hear a lot of amazing and inspiring practices and performances.

Daniels Hall at Swallow Hill Music

Daniels Hall is packed and all decked out before John Hiatt’s solo performance in November. Photo by Scott McCormick

One that sticks with me from earlier this fall was when a group of teens were discussing what “emo” is as they tuned their acoustic guitars before class. The teacher walked in, and after some good-natured sarcastic banter they launched into Jimmy Eat World’s “The Middle.” It was a perfect, heartfelt moment exemplary of what happens at Swallow Hill Music countless times throughout the year. You go kids.

The other moment that comes to mind for me is from the night of our fall fundraiser. While John Hiatt played an intimate, sold out solo show in Daniels Hall, two students showed up, guitars in hand for our jam in the Quinlan Cafe. Only they hadn’t realized the jam was canceled due to the fundraiser.

Rather than ask them to return another time, several of us invited them into Tuft Theater where we were hanging out during Hiatt’s show, and we worked our way through the Swallow Hill Music singalong/jam songbook with them. There were ukes and guitars and banjos and a lot of laughter. I don’t know too many places in Denver, or the country for that matter, where all of this happens under the same roof at the same time, a classic Swallow Hill moment.” – Barry Osborne, Marketing Manager