Maggie's Minute: An Update, July 10

Maggie's Minute: A Colorado Humanities Update

July 10, 2013

For spacious skies!

A July sky in Colorado is like no other, whether filled with the thunder of lightning bolts and firecrackers or resplendent in blues as far as the eye can see.  Many of us know that it was the awe-inspiring view from Colorado's Pikes Peak of beautiful skies and rolling plains that inspired Katherine Lee Bates. Her visit to the Peak in July 22, 1893, during a summer teaching sojourn at Colorado College reaches down through history to inspire us today.  She wrote a poem upon returning to her room at the Antlers Hotel that invoked appreciation of our natural surroundings and remarkable landscapes, and framed a call for thoughtful and responsible citizenship.  Her words "till all success be nobleness " and "selfish gain no longer stain the banner of the free" still resonate.  First published as "America" in 1895 to celebrate July 4th, the poem was later set to music by another easterner, Samuel A. Ward, and published in 1910 as "America the Beautiful."  Giving "The Star Spangled Banner" a run for its money, it has since been sung by Marian Anderson, Beyonce, Ray Charles, Elvis, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Vince Gill, Faith Hill, Norah Jones, Alicia Keys, Brenda Lee, Little Richard, Reba MacIntyre, Hayley Mills, Keb' Mo', Willie Nelson, Charlie Rich, Kenny Rogers, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Pete Seeger, Frank Sinatra, Barbara Streisand, Neil Young and countless others-not to mention Alvin and the Chipmunks.  Most likely, it's been sung by all of us.  Powerful and heart-felt, "America the Beautiful" is a tribute to compassion, hope and purpose.

Exploring boundaries is the job of all great thinkers and doers, going beyond the consideration of the lines on a map to the examination of the confines of the mind, of belief, culture, science and ethics.  How, when and if to push them requires insight and resolve.  "Exploring Boundaries" is also the theme of this year's High Plains Chautauqua, Tuesday, Aug. 6-Saturday, Aug. 10.  All of us great thinkers and doers among the audience will benefit from the scholarly expertise and dynamic performances of eight professional Chautauquans as they bring us face-to-face with Andrew Carnegie, Amelia Earhart, Thomas Jefferson, Carl Jung, Francisco Pizzaro, Mary Shelley and Booker T. Washington.  One of our Young Chautauqua program alumnae, we're proud to say, will likewise give a brilliant presentation, returning to Greeley to portray Margaret Mead.  42 current Young Chautauqua students from Weld County will appear under the big tent, too, to stretch their wings with a myriad of interesting characters, from Susan B. Anthony and Lucille Ball to Neil Armstrong, Bob Marley and Leonardo Da Vinci.  Additionally, the week will offer adult programs such as "Crossing the Divide of Race," "A Conversation with Orsen Welles" and "WASPs-Fly Girls of World War II," as well as youth programs such as "If You Were a Millionaire" and "A Belly Whopper, a Roller Coaster, and a Yellow Canary."  Volunteer opportunities abound!  High Plains Chautauqua embodies the traveling Chautauqua tradition of family and community get-together, entertainment and discussion-a favorite summertime event for thousands.

Another Chautauqua festival is making its debut this summer, and, being held now in Aspen through Friday, July 12, is aptly named Chautauqua Aspen: Engage-Inspire-Entertain.  We're pleased to be a part of this Aspen Historical Society event.  The festival begins each day with a "Morning Repose," and offers films, talks, Chautauqua presentations, keynote conversations and music on the lawn.

Speaking of hope and purpose, Journey Stories, our Museum on Main Street program in partnership with the Smithsonian Institution, is in Aspen now, at the Aspen Fire Station Museum, but ends today, Wednesday, July 10.  If you haven't seen the exhibit hosted by the Aspen Historical Society, stop by until 5 pm.

After leaving Aspen, Journey Stories continues to tour the state, hosted next by the Hayden Heritage Center Friday, July 19-Saturday, Aug. 24.  The exhibit's Hayden opening on Friday will be highlighted by ribbon-cutting and a Hayden Chamber mixer at the Center from 4-7 pm.  More Center activities throughout the following weeks related to the exhibit include a pioneer picnic, Paleo journey walk, car show, street festival and airport tour-the Center is welcoming volunteers to help with Journey Stories events and to serve as docents.  Four additional sites in Colorado will be stops for Journey Stories, from August 2013 to March 18, 2014: the AR Mitchell Museum (Trinidad), the Overland Train Museum (Sterling), the Platteville Library (Platteville), and The Animas Museum (Durango).

Announcing the completion of 28 training institutes in our 2012-2013 Motheread/Fatheread Colorado program!  Helping to develop a robust force for early childhood and family literacy, our institutes brought together hundreds of educators throughout Colorado.  One-third of them have already begun their cycles of Motheread and Teacheread classes and Story Exploring reading sessions for children, parents, childcare providers and others who work with children.  Having so far provided for more than 9,000 children's books of the select titles that accompany our Motheread curriculum, we're looking forward to the upcoming weeks as we continue to bring more children's books into our communities, and we finish preparations for next year's program (to begin in August in Ft. Morgan).

You can help Motheread/Fatheread Colorado's efforts and become a big part of its success, too, by securing a Colorado Humanities membership now.  Indeed, you can be a big part of ALL our program success by becoming a member-we have many levels that you can consider to make your best choice.

Till paths be wrought through wilds of thought,

Maggie Coval, Executive Director

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