Arvada Center Blog

7 Arvada Center classes you’ll fall for this season

7 Arvada Center classes you’ll FALL for this season

By Leslie Simon & Amberle N.

All photos in this blog post by Matt Gale Photography 2019


Classes for adults

1. The Cup Challenge

Monday, November 25 – December 16, 1:00 – 4:00 pm, 4 weeks

This workshop focuses on the endless design possibilities of the thrown cup. Students are challenged to develop ideas for form, function and surface, and create 20 unique cups from clay.

2. Hot Class Pumpkins

Saturday, October 5, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm / Saturday, October 19, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm

Held at The Furnace, A Glassworks

Celebrate autumn in this class where you make your own glass pumpkin while working with professional glass artists. Color and sculpt your creation to your desire, no prior experience necessary.

Classes for adults and children

  1. Caricature Workshop

Saturday, November 2, 9:00 am – 3:00 pm, One-day workshop, ages 14-adult

Join us in this one-day workshop, conducted by caricature artist and illustrator, Jason Sauer and learn how a professional caricature artist draws those funny pictures of people!

  1. Wearable Technology for Costumes

Wednesday, October 2 – October 23, 5:30 – 7:30 pm, 4 weeks, ages 12-adult

Students design and fabricate wearable technology components for their favorite Cosplay or Halloween costumes learning how to make costumes come to life with light and sound.

  1. Teen/Adult Contemporary Dance

Monday, November 4 – January 20, 6:30 – 7:30 pm, ages 14-adult

A fusion of lyrical, jazz, hip hop, modern, and ballet, Contemporary Dance allows students to explore organic powerful and emotional movement.  For teens and adults with just a year or more of any style dance training.

Classes for children

  1. Theatre Explorers

Sunday, September 15 – November 17, 1:30 – 2:30 pm, 10 weeks, ages 4-6

A great beginning class for creative kids to discover theatre. Students are led on an imaginative journey each week, creating environments and characters.


  1. Cartooning: Anime and Manga

Tuesday, September 10—November 12, 4:00—5:30 pm, 10 weeks, ages 9—15

In this class, students delve into the world of sequential art and animation, bringing life to their own ideas and stories through the art of Japanese cartooning.

The Making of Bright Star

The Making of Bright Star

By Amberle N.

The story of the musical Bright Star begins with garlic crackers. 

Steve Martin met a rather shy Edie Brickell at a dinner party and offered her some, causing the renowned comedian and the indie music legend to become fast friends that night. Such a small story of breaking the ice set the stage for their friendship. In 2011, after listening to Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers’ album Rare Bird Alert, Brickell praised his songs and proposed writing music together. As Martin would admit to Stephen Colbert – though he’d written songs on his own and played banjo for other people’s songs – he had no idea how to write a song with another person from scratch but he went ahead and said yes. 

Martin and Brickell

Their musical partnership resulted in the 2013 album Love Has Come For You. In 2014, the title song won the Grammy for Best American Roots Song – a vindication of Martin’s musical talent with the banjo and Brickell’s return to the music scene after a long hiatus.

The idea for the musical came while Brickell and Martin were composing the album. One of the banjo compositions they created inspired the writing of a “train song,” and Brickell’s curiosity led her to discover a fantastic event in the history of the Iron Mountain Railroad. The traditional folksong “The Iron Mountain Baby” inspired Bright Star and forms the core of its narrative – an ideal story for the event of a lifetime.

Describing her appreciation of the Iron Mountain Baby to CBS, Brickell said “I love miracles and I read that story and said, it’s such a beautiful miracle and it’s so weird that anybody can do such a thing. And it just did – it sparked my imagination.” 

“So Familiar” Album Cover

The songs of Love Has Come For You are themselves a set of tiny stories, some funny and some serious. The album’s songs heavily inspired Bright Star, capturing the adventuresome highs and lows of the setting and serving as a point around which many characters were crafted. 

In a 2016 interview with Steven Colbert, Brickell described her experience of Bright Star’s lyrics as “singing a character’s heart,” in terms of who they are and how they feel. Martin sent her banjo compositions and she would sing to them until a song solidified, and that spirit carried into Bright Star as the two of them composed songs around the characters.

One of the first lines from the musical is, “If you knew my story, you’d have a good story to tell,” and the entire narrative occurs as a deeper look into the lives of characters who are stepping out of a background role as writers for others to tell their own story. It’s a story that does the work of paying attention to love, and the musical carries a sweetness that is rooted in tradition and the optimism of post-war America.

Bright Star plays at the Center from September 6 – 29.

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Five fun facts about Justin Hayward

Five fun facts about Justin Hayward

by Leslie Simon

Justin Hayward of The Moody Blues is an enduring talent that has helped to define the times in which he worked. At 17, he answered an ad in Melody Maker Magazine, successfully auditioning for UK Rock hero Marty Wilde and immediately hitting his stride writing classics such as “Nights in White Satin” and “Fly Me High.” The Moody Blues may be a household name – but did you know these five facts about Justin?

1. His musical career kicked off by answering an ad in popular UK rock magazine Melody Maker. After auditioning for acclaimed UK rock hero Marty Wilde, 17-year-old Justin landed a position in Marty’s band The Wilde Three. While on tour, Justin shared a room with a stand-up comic who started the day “with a stiff drink”.

2. In the 1970s, The Moody Blues (or as Justin affectionately calls them “The Moodies”), played Madison Square Garden twice in one day. They were given the “Golden Ticket” award for selling the most seats.

3. When he came to America, one of the first things Justin did was visit Lubbock, TX, the home of his musical idol Buddy Holly.

4. Justin still uses the 1965 Fender Sunburst Telecaster guitar that he played on the first two Moody Blues albums.

5. The song “Nights in White Satin” was intended to have the double entendre of “Knights in White Satin,” with the band even going so far as to have a knight on the album artwork.


Justin Hayward performs at the Center on August 14 as part of his “All The Way” tour.

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Five things you didn’t realize you knew about Felix Cavaliere

Five things you didn’t realize you knew about Felix Cavaliere

By Leslie Simon

While his name might not ring a bell, the music that he has created over the past six decades certainly does. Felix Cavaliere’s Rascals will take the Arvada Center Outdoor Amphitheatre stage on August 17th, and we can’t wait to get to “Groovin’” with him. Here are five things you didn’t even realize you already knew about Felix Cavaliere. Grab your tickets and get ready to sing along to some classic 1960s tunes that you know and love.

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1. Felix Cavaliere was a member of Joey Dee and the Starliters when they had their million-record-selling hit “Peppermint Twist.”

They were the house band for the popular Times Square rock-and-roll hangout turned celeb-filled discotheque, the Mafia-run Peppermint Lounge in Manhattan. The club became a launchpad for the dance craze “The Twist.” Since The Twist was a dance where the partners didn’t touch, women no longer had to have a man leading them, and this helped set the tone for the upheavals of social mores in the 1960s.

2. Felix sang and played the Hammond B-3 organ in the seminal 1960s band The Rascals, with Atlantic Records changing their name to The Young Rascals from 1965-1968.

He was one of the early “blue-eyed soul” performers, taking his musical inspirations from R&B and soul music, and artists like Sam Cooke and Ray Charles. The Rascals had their big break when Sid Bernstein, famous for bringing The Beatles to America, was looking for the next big thing. Sid saw them play at The Barge in Long Island, became their manager, and got them signed to Atlantic Records.

Rascals on tour in Hawaii


3. The Rascals had #1 hits with the R&B-influenced songs “Groovin’,” “Good Lovin’,” and “A Beautiful Morning,” which they performed on The Ed Sullivan Show and more. They were the first rock band to play with an orchestra, and they performed to a full crowd at Madison Square Garden with 40 orchestral musicians sharing the stage.


4. “People Got To Be Free” was a political protest song promoting peace and love, and was written after Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy were assassinated.

In their efforts to have an integrated audience, The Rascals demanded that a black musical act must be on the bill for every one of their shows. Unfortunately, this meant that they basically couldn’t play in the South, and it was a disaster for the band. This was the beginning of the end for The Rascals, but they are commended for progressive thinking and standing by their beliefs.


5. Steven Van Zandt, guitarist for Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band and star of The Sopranos, is a huge fan who considers them the first rock and roll band, and inducted them into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Van Zandt produced a series of Broadway performances that he calls a “bio-concert” which contained live performances by The Rascals, complimented by archival footage and video reenactments.

What’s your favorite soundtrack?

What’s your favorite soundtrack? Summer Comic Con playlist

By Amberle N.

Summer is a season of excitement, for new hobbies and new people, and for those amazing summer events that happen once a year! We look forward to the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, Tour De Fat, or Comic Con every summer. And epic summer days should be filled with epic music.

Here are some songs to get you excited for the Arvada Center’s own journey to Comic Con. As you enjoy the music, think of all the adventures that you’ll have, all the new friends that you’ll meet, and all the relaxing you’ll do with who and what you love. So haul out that boom box, sling on some sun screen, and listen to our summer playlist of pop culture favorites. Then come see the songs of Comic Con played live by the Colorado Symphony at the Arvada Center on Sunday, July 21.

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“Gravity Falls Main Title Theme” by Brad Breeck, from Gravity Falls

“Imperial March” by John Williams, from Star Wars – performed by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra

“The Avengers” by Adam Silvestri, from The Avengers

“I See Fire” by Ed Sheeran, from The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

“Hopes and Dreams” by Tobi “Radiation” Fox, from Undertale

“Game of Thrones Piano Medley” by Costantino Carrara, Original pieces by Ramin Djawadi, from Game of Thrones

“Test Drive” by John Powell, from How To Train Your Dragon

“I Was Born for This” by Austin Wintory, from Journey

“Love Like You” by Rebecca Sugar, from Steven Universe