(Here is the original edit of my Farewell to Fort Collins "Soapbox" Article for the Fort Collins Coloradoan. You can read the shorter, Soapbox edit here. If you'd like to explore making a living in music, come to the workshop I'm hosting Dick Weissman on February 1, 2014. More info here.)
When we moved
to Fort Collins, about 40,000 citizens ago, I had no idea what I was going to
do with my time and skills, other
than parent our two children.
After a dozen years of serving as a pastor in the innercity of Kansas
City, I was exhausted and ready for a change, and I was feeling a vocational
tug in the direction of music. To
be honest, this was the tug that had been there since my earliest memories as a
child. I didn't know exactly how
to go about starting such a career, although I felt confident in both my
performing and teaching abilities since music had been a key organizing tool
for our multi-ethnic congregation in Missouri.
story I like to tell is this: I threw every line into the water and pulled on
the ones that bit.
special music for worship at an ecumenical set of congregations, I gave
programs for Church Women's
United, the CSU Women's Association, Rotary and Kiwanis. I contacted the local funeral homes and
provided music for several funeral and memorial services. I led music for Brownie and
Girl Scout Day Camp at Lee Martinez park for two years.
I walked a
block from my house to meet Russ Hopkins at KIVA studio, and he became my
recording engineer, mentor, co-producer and peer. With him I recorded and produced many records which have gone
on to win awards and acclaim and continue to find the ears of appreciative
I went weekly
to the Bluegrass jam at Avogadro's Number on Wednesdays, and was warmly
welcomed into the experience of learning, playing and sharing music by
ear. I played the weekly Open Mics
at Avo's and Lucky Joe's, and several others as they cropped up around
town. I auditioned to play at
Barnes and Noble, and landed a Wednesday lunch-time gig at Deja Vu (at the
time, the oldest continuously running coffeehouse in town) that lasted for 10
for the accompanist job for the Rainbow Chorus, and didn't get it. But I filled in when they needed a sub
and then was commissioned by them to create and arrange a suite of songs for
their millennium concert and recording.
Noontime Notes in Oak Street plaza and on the Old Town stage, all the stages at
the Lincoln Center, the Fort Collins Museum in both of its locations, several
locations on the CSU campus, Walrus, Ben and Jerry's, Stone Lion and Starry
Night for First Night, and most Old Town street corners with Streetmosphere and
countless weddings all across the Front Range.
I was the
guitarist for Agua de Vida Luterana, the Music Director of First Presbyterian
Church in Loveland, the choir accompanist for Westminster Presbyterian Church
in Fort Collins and the Director of Music for the Lutheran Campus Ministry at
CSU. I have been a Substitute
Teacher and para-professional in the Poudre School District at Lincoln (then-)
Junior High. I have taught well
over a hundred students in my private music studio and have watched some of
them go on to music careers, while others enrich their lives with their musical
I started and
ran the Colorado Dulcimer Festival located here in Fort Collins for 10 years
and have passed the mantle of leadership on to an able and dedicated crew who
are preparing for the 11th one next Feb 7-8. (coloradodulcimerfestival.com)
it turns out, was the perfect location for me to root and expand a new career
that has taken me to perform and teach across the USA, Canada, Mexico, England,
Scotland and Germany.
And now It is
time for us to pull up the tent stakes and move.
Connie Winter-Eulberg, has been pastor of the Lutheran Campus Ministry at CSU
since 1997, and has accepted a call to become the pastor of St. Andrew's
Lutheran Church on San Mateo, California.
So that means it is time for me to re-establish Owl Mountain Music in a
new nest. But I want to express my
deep gratitude and appreciation for all that the citizens and community of Fort
Collins has meant to us. I will be
back, and in fact have some events already planned early in 2014, so I look
forward to seeing many of you then.
If you would
like to bid us farewell, come on by our Bon Voyage Hootenany at the Community
Creative Center at 200 S. Matthews In Fort Collins on Saturday, Dec. 14th from
6:45 to 8:45 pm.
I am a full-time musician and music educator. "But can you make a living doing that?" is a question I am often asked. My response: "putting all the little pieces together can make a solid whole." The moving in and out of my home location, balancing the rhythms of performing and teaching, public and private life are the themes of these reflections. If you prefer a poetic exploration, you can visit my poetry blog: http://www.steveeulberg.blogspot.com