Most kids love being outdoors on their Vail Valley summer vacations. But when they’re ready for a break from riding their bike, kicking a soccer ball, padding a high-country trail or touching the sky on a trampoline, a wealth of arts opportunities awaits them. Local arts offerings include a wide spectrum of participatory activities and spectator events geared toward young residents and visitors—at a level of quality that could prompt even the most contented mom or dad to yearn to be a kid again.
All the Valley's a Stage
Youngsters with a penchant for drama should consider the Missoula Children’s Theater’s weeklong theater camp, which returns to Minturn in August with The Princess and the Pea as its feature. Tryouts will be held Monday afternoon, August 2, at the Minturn Town Hall, with two free performances on Saturday, August 7, at the town’s outdoor amphitheater along the Eagle River. The project is supported by the Minturn Community Fund and the town of Minturn.
In its 17th year, the Children’s Theatre School’s Summer Theatre Workshop again prepares a theater adventure for children ages 8 to 15 in the Vail Valley (covering the area from East Vail to Dotsero; firstname.lastname@example.org). Four weeks of intensive acting, improvisation, singing and dance training will take the children and their audiences to Neverland as they tell the magical, musical story of Peter Pan on July 19 and 22. Under the direction of Gretta Assaly of Milwaukee, more than 50 young thespians will attend this year’s workshop.
West Side Story, the 2010 presentation of the Vail Performing Arts Academy, has an intensive rehearsal process geared toward high school students, although the academy is open to children ages 8 to 18 on a first-come, first-served basis. Rehearsals for West Side Story begin July 26, and performances run August 21–23. “Our artistic director Colin Miering was in Thriller on Broadway and is a ballroom dance champion,” enthuses founder and executive producer Annah Scully. “He’s just from heaven.”
The discipline of dance at the Vail Valley Academy of Dance keeps young people on their feet and moving to music during the academy’s three-week summer session. Many former students have gone on to join major ballet companies around the world.
Ready, Set, Read!
Help your child nurture his or her inner reader at the summer reading programs of Eagle County libraries and the Town of Vail Public Library. Puppet shows and animal visits help enliven local libraries throughout the year, and area branches have children’s rooms stacked with books, games, videos and recorded books.
This local institution starts the summer’s arts slate off with a bang: a free outdoor workshop led by Yo-Yo Ma. (Yes, that Yo-Yo Ma.) The renowned concert cellist, who headlines the opening concert of Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival’s 23rd summer season on June 25, has agreed to launch Bravo!’s Imagination Celebration by working the following morning with young people at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater in Vail Village’s Ford Park. Later in the day, young piano student and part-time local Katherine Bellino performs Camille Saint-Saëns’s “The Swan” from Carnival of the Animals with Ma. And Ben West and Jeremiah Johnston, alumni of Bravo!’s Very Young Composers Project, are working with Jon Deak of the New York Philharmonic and assistant Bill Gordh to create an original piece of music based upon Native American folklore that will debut at Imagination Celebration with Ma on cello and Bravo! artistic director Eugenia Zukerman on flute.
Bravo!’s intimate approach to music education continues throughout the summer in many forms. The festival sponsors an instrument petting zoo at the Ford Amphitheater and Vail Village’s Sunday Farmers Market from June 20 to 25. The “animals” provide a hands-on experience in a five-appearance traveling exhibition. Live@the Library, also backed by Bravo!, is an interactive program running July 13–29 that is geared toward introducing kids ages 3 to 7 to some of Bravo!’s acclaimed musicians and their instruments. And all children up to age 12 can enjoy complimentary lawn seating for concerts of the Dallas Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the New York Philharmonic, each of which has a summer residency in Vail.
Bravo! also hosts the Breckenridge-based National Repertory Orchestra, which, under the direction of Carl Topilow, presents its annual Family Concert on July 15 in an informal introduction to orchestral music. This year’s morning concert at the Ford Amphitheater features music from the Wild West.
The magic of make-believe comes to life at the Beaver Creek Children’s Theatre Company, whose multiday workshops in July and August help kids ages 5 to 12 enact poetry, fairy tales and folktales. Participants create their own stories and characters, practice animation and projection, and present a public show on Beaver Creek’s plaza. And don’t forget to visit the Children’s Museum while you’re there.