‘Traveling’ through music with Colin ross and Mig O’Hara
For the Nevada Appeal
Mile High Jazz Band Association presents an evening of music with Colin Ross and Mig O’Hara at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, at Sarah Winnemucca Hall in the Aspen Building at Western Nevada College, 2201 W. College Pkwy., Carson City.
An area favorite, Ross and his partner O’Hara, will treat concert-goers to an evening that features both diverse music and instruments, this ahead of the anticipated release of his latest CD, “Traveling,” due out in late Spring
“Traveling is an instrumental CD with my band and is a culmination of several years of playing together,” he said, noting the cover art is by Topaz artist Sharon Maczko, whose work is a combination of photorealism and surrealism in watercolor.
For the Carson City performance, this talented multi-instrumentalist will be playing several instruments, among them a grand piano, several different acoustic guitars and mandolin. O’Hara will join him with her smoky, sultry vocals and some guitar, as well.
“Besides our own music, we’ll likely do some Duke Ellington, Muddy Waters, Ella Fitzgerald and Billy Holiday; music from the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s,” Ross said. “We try to choose really cool songs and some of our own, which have been influenced by so many of these great musicians.
Ross, who graduated with honors in classical piano, said “that plus $1.75 will get you a cup of coffee,” in the music industry.
“I never really saw myself as a classical pianist, but rather pursued other styles of music,” he said.
His strength for playing by ear has allowed him to be more creative and adaptive in his musical expression, and by pursuing his passion for all kinds of music – swing, jazz, blues and more – Ross has succeeded in making a living doing what he loves.
And while marketing himself could be a full-time job, Ross is very clear that first he is an artist.
“To be an artist is what’s most important and I still practice every day,” he said.
Today, he serves as Artist in Residence for The Renown Foundation, playing in the skilled nursing, oncology and pediatric departments at Renown Medical Center.
“My role is (by playing music) to make it more comfortable for the patients,” he said. “I see it as making someone’s afternoon better.”
In addition, when he visits a community for a planned concert, he also performs or gives workshops at area senior centers, nursing homes and schools ahead of the show.
“I do mostly K-12 school assemblies and workshops, which means we’re typically in a community one to three days,” he said. “It’s so cool to be taken seriously as an artist; it’s allowed me to meet a lot of amazing people, who are usually at the top in their community and who are intellectual and involved.”
As for the school programs, Ross has a special place in his heart for these, due in part to his own childhood.
“First, we know how important music is in quantitative ways … to children’s (academic) development; we know the studies and still ignore the science,” he said. “I like to think of myself as the guy who’s getting those kids out of class, because I was that kid – the one who was so bored with school and didn’t want to be there.
“I remember every school assembly we ever had, where we got to be a part of something different.”
Ross and O’Hara’s show is suitable for all ages with every musical taste represented, said Elinor Bugli, of Mile High Jazz Band Association.
“Every show is a different experience because they know so much and they are an area favorite.”
Tickets cost $15 general admission and $12 for seniors, students, and MHJB Association members, and $5 for age 18 and younger. Tickets are available at Play Your Own Music in the Carson Mall, online at ActivityTickets.com, and at the door. For more information, call MHJB at 775-883-4154, or visit milehighjazz.com. For more information about Ross, visit colinrossmusic.com. To view Maczko’s work, visit renownhealthonline.com/art or write her at firstname.lastname@example.org.