Though she was French through and through, many agree that Nadia Boulanger almost single-handedly formed the cornerstone of contemporary American music. When she died 25 years ago, the composer, groundbreaking conductor and antiseptically precise teacher whom Virgil Thomson once called "a one-woman graduate school" left behind a global trail of students that includes American success stories Elliott Carter, Aaron Copland, Philip Glass and Quincy Jones. To commemorate her passing, the University of Colorado's College of Music has invited approximately forty presenters -- authors, composers, musicians, archivists and scholars from around the world -- to its Boulder campus this weekend for a three-day symposium titled Nadia Boulanger and American Music. Experts will mix talk, remembrances, memorabilia and music, beginning with a panel discussion and mini-concert tonight at 7:30 p.m. in Grusin Music Hall in the Imig Music Building. Additional events in the coming days include a reminiscence roundtable with former Boulanger pupils, a concert of music written by Boulanger and her sister, Lili, and a biographical exhibit of photographs, scores, posters and artwork. Symposium registration is $125; concert admission is $10 at the door. For a complete schedule, call 303-492-8008 or visit www.nadiaboulanger.org.
Friday, October 8
It's supposed to be kid stuff, but grownups take Halloween very, very seriously around these parts, where costume-hunting can be a real exercise in one-upmanship: After all, you just can't let your neighbor sashay out of the house on October 31 looking better than you do. Thus, finding the most esoteric disguise each fall is an art form often rooted in dark emotions. For beautiful masks -- some quite strangely so -- that appeal to your wrong side, search no further than the aptly named Apocalypse Boutique, a unique hole-in-the-wall at 108 South Broadway. Search no further, that is, because you might miss the place altogether, and that would be a shame. Enter the Masquerade, an exhibit of leather masks by Apocalypse proprietor Mike Romoth and fellow artist Tiffany Smyth, is as esoteric as it gets, featuring handworked guises with artful display systems that allow the masks to double as artwork for your home. Themes include tribal designs, evil owl faces, Venetian looks, masks with beaded veils, traditional stamped and painted masks and more; the best selection will be available during an opening reception tonight from 6 to 10 p.m. Enter the Masquerade continues through November 12; call 303-777-3218.
Saturday, October 9
Fall and Halloween celebrations commingle this time of year, all part of a natural process in which leaves fall, pumpkins ripen, cornstalks go golden and the mood gets a little spooky. But not too spooky, at least not in the case of these family-style observances. Halloween-inspired mischief is fully condoned at Arvada's Festival of Scarecrows, which centers around a town-wide scarecrow competition and costume contest; hayrides, fire-truck rides and a pumpkin patch round out the fun from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Olde Town Square, 57th Avenue and Old Wadsworth Boulevard; call 303-402-6100. The Littleton Historical Museum, 6028 South Gallup Street in Littleton, will host its own Harvest Festival and Pumpkin Sale today from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., with wagon rides, fresh cider, 1860s farm activities, music and more; call 303-795-3950 or log on to www. littletongov.org. And on a smaller scale, the Joshua School, a planned facility for children with autism and special needs, hosts its second annual Harvest Festival today from noon to 5 p.m. at the Stone House, 2900 South Estes Street in Lakewood. Along with hayrides, food and a bushel full of kids' activities, the free fest will feature a special "noisy" auction; call 720-252-5600 or visit www.joshuaschool.org.
You'll travel to exotic places without ever leaving town this weekend when Westminster-based photographer Mike David shares nearly 300 images from the far corners of the earth in "Spirit of Adventure," his annual multimedia slide show with live music -- a crowd-pleaser now celebrating its fifth season. Locales explored in this year's show, all to the tunes of Senegalese Kora master Boubacar Diabeté and Chinese zither player Yugian Liu, include China, Africa, India, Ireland, Italy, Chile, Bolivia, Easter Island and the 2004 summer Olympics in Greece. The family-friendly presentations take place tonight at 7:45 p.m. and tomorrow at 1:45 p.m. at Gates Concert Hall in the Newman Center for the Performing Arts, 2344 East Iliff Avenue. Admission ranges from $29 to $47; call 303-871-7720 or 303-830-TIXS.
Thursday, October 7
Born of one of those dog breeds famed for being so ugly that they're cute, pugs are personality personified: With their smushed-in faces, corkscrew tails, confident trot and ready smiles, they're smart, loyal and affectionate. It's a wonder that any pug would ever end up homeless, but because some do, Colorado Pug Rescue will host today's Pugs in the Park, a gala all-pug benefit, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Adams County Fairgrounds, 9755 Henderson Road in Brighton. Fido-friendly activities include costume and pig-out contests, nail trims and more; admission is $5 for pugs (goody bag included) and free for humans. At that price, even the pugless-but-interested might want to attend, just to see what makes pugs tick. For information, call the Colorado Pug Rescue Hotline, 303-659-9689, or go to www.copugrescue.org.