Santa Fe: It’s Summer-Sensational

Seven weeks of spring, and already I’m yearning for the next season. Impatient, I know. That’s part of spring, though, that anticipatory feeling that bids you to hop out of bed every morning, brain bursting with ideas. I’m grateful the days are getting longer, because my list of this year’s what-to-do is getting longer too!

St. John’s Music on the Hill is a Santa Fe thrill. (Photo credit: St. John’s College)
St. John’s Music on the Hill is a Santa Fe thrill. (Photo credit: St. John’s College)

The Hills are Alive with the Sound of Music

It’s possible – Rodgers and Hammerstein might get jazzed up or Latin-inflected, but you’ll have to set aside Wednesday evenings to find out. From 6-8pm, June 11 through July 25, St. John’s College’s hosts Music on the Hill, and this ever-so-pleasant way to enjoy Santa Fe skies with a musical backdrop is an ever-so-popular midweek outing.

Six concerts (none on July 2) in this ninth season offer great sounds on the grassy lawn, and you can either bring a picnic or feed the family via Walter Burke Catering at the venue. Parking is limited, so take the free shuttle and settle without a hassle.

 

 

 

Strike Up the Band (Stand)

Carve a spot in the crowd at a Santa Fe Bandstand Concert.
Carve a spot in the crowd at a Santa Fe Bandstand Concert.

I’m an aficionado of public spaces like our beautiful Plaza, and when free entertainment is part of the scene, I am so there, especially for the Santa Fe Bandstand Concerts. What could be better than totally free music in the heart of town as the City Different invites us all to Tune into Santa Fe? Nightly performances June 23–August 28 bring time-tested favorites such as Joe King Carrasco and local legends like the Santa Fe Chiles Dixie Jazz Band; some of the 2014 New Mexico Music Awards finalists are also on the bill.

Picnic blanket or a pair of chairs; choose your seating on the Santa Fe Plaza for a Bandstand Concert.
Picnic blanket or a pair of chairs; choose your seating on the Santa Fe Plaza for a Bandstand Concert.

Absolutely my favorite summer party, the Bandstand concerts let locals mingle with neighbors who hibernate in winter, and visitors get that insider’s intro to Santa Fe’s resident talents. All you need is a picnic blanket, a nosh, and a swing partner.

Sultry Singing, Stravinsky, and Sun Yat-Sen

It could only be the Santa Fe Opera! Anyone who knows me knows I can’t wait to see the sun set over the stunning Crosby Theatre. Although each two-month season presents repeat pleasures, there’s always a thoughtful new repertoire. It’s true again, with six all-new productions, including one double-the-treat double-bill.

Sit, settle, and let the sun set before you’re swept away by the music at the Santa Fe Opera.
Sit, settle, and let the sun set before you’re swept away by the music at the Santa Fe Opera.

Seductive solos start June 27 with Bizet’s Carmen, a sell-out whenever the sets go up and the lights go down. Laughter follows tragedy with Donizetti’s Don Pasquale, sure to offer stupendous comic relief. Beethoven’s only opera, Fidelio, a mighty tale employing a ton of talent, brings new Chief Conductor Harry Bicket to the podium. The aforementioned double-header pairs Mozart’s witty opera, The Impresario, with Stravinsky’s exquisite one-act Le Rossignol. SFO’s annual mission of presenting premieres is completed with the U.S. debut of Huang Ro’s Dr. Sun Yat-Sen, a mix of classical and folk styles from East and West.

The Strings are the Thing

Classical music has deep roots in Santa Fe, and I assure you it doesn’t stop with opera. Now in its 42nd season, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival is the epitome of a summer music must-do. Brahms, Handel, Mozart – you’ll hear music from all the masters, with concerts almost nightly from July 22 through August 25. And the weekly noon-time offerings are my special secret for a musical lunchtime escape.

Sit, settle, and let the sun set before you’re swept away by the music at the Santa Fe Opera.
Bravura “bowmanship” is at its best at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. (Photo Credit: Santa Fe Reporter)

Performers are top of the line, with a mix of professional chamber ensembles like the Orion String Quartet, and a gathering of talents brought together to play specific concerts. Faithful piano lovers are rewarded with Yefim Bronfman and Joseph Kalichstein taking to the keys. And personally, I’m psyched that new music is on the scene at a concert of new works by young composers, performed by the Flux Quartet.

Get the Scents and Sights of the Santa Fe Scenery

Whew, let me catch my breath from singing Santa Fe’s musical praises and head outdoors! Santa Feans spend mucho tiempo en el campo, meaning we cherish summer outside. My choice for country charm is El Rancho de las Golondrinas, the 200-acre history museum south of town. From May through October, weekend events reveal the unique culture and traditions of New Mexico. Golondrinas embraces its educational mission seriously, but always makes it fun and fascinating.

El Rancho de las Golondrinas is the essence of all things New Mexico.
El Rancho de las Golondrinas is the essence of all things New Mexico.

Once summer is officially here, fresh herbs grace the stalls at the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market, and summer scents rule at Golondrinas’ June 21–22 Herb and Lavender Fair.  You’ll come away with fresh ideas for a home herb garden via tips from professional cultivators. Just walking the grounds is a distinct pleasure; you can discover how an acequia (New Mexico’s fabled watering system) works or learn about traditional village life. An integral part of my summer activities, a jaunt to El Rancho is my way of re-visiting New Mexico’s historic heritage.

In New Mexico, where water is precious, an acequia gate controls the flow.
In New Mexico, where water is precious, an acequia gate controls the flow.

Taking Pride in Santa Fe

Santa Fe is known for warmth and welcome, extended to the LGBTQ community long before there was an acronym. Many global cultures are home to individuals with diverse gender identities, and New Mexico is no exception. Santa Fe is doing a brisk business in gay weddings, and that’s a source of pride for the City Different.

Santa Fe shows its pride of place at the June Pride parade.
Santa Fe shows its pride of place at the June Pride parade.

 

 

 

 

 

We celebrate our equality activists at Santa Fe Pride on June 28. This annual event, organized by the Santa Fe Human Rights Alliance, opens with a colorful parade from the Roundhouse, our State Capitol building, to the Railyard, ending with food, fun, and all-day entertainment. I’m planning on breakfast at the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market, before grabbing curbside space for parade viewing. Bring a parasol or wear a hat and sunscreen if you plan to stay all day.

Why Wine? Why Not?

If you crave the whisper of terroir from wine, note that New Mexico is the nation’s oldest wine-growing region. Long before the union of states, settlers tended vines and crushed grapes in the Land of Enchantment. When summer ends, we welcome fall at the Santa Fe Wine and Chile Festival, but we also save a slice of the July 4th weekend for the Santa Fe Wine Festival.

Get a taste of Santa Fe and New Mexico wines this summer. (Photo Credit: Santa Fe Wine Festival)
Get a taste of Santa Fe and New Mexico wines this summer. (Photo Credit: Santa Fe Wine Festival)

At 21 years, the Wine Festival is “old enough to drink,” as the organizers cleverly put it, and there’s plenty to sniff before sampling. Vintners from all over the state will pour their best for our appraisal, and there will be food – look for me at Roque’s Carnitas. The roster of arts, crafts and unique products is too long to list; suffice it to say, there will be no lack of entertainment!

 

Read It Here Now, Relax Here Later

So what ARE you doing this summer? If you’re craving a unique summer adventure, then Santa Fe should surely be on your itinerary. Slip some of our signature events into your vacation, and you won’t be disappointed. And check back next week for the rest of my round-up … you didn’t think this was everything, did you? Oh, no, the fun here lasts all summer!

 

 

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