A history museum might not be the first place you’d imagine hearing live music. I work in the education department at History Colorado, and even I didn’t believe it when I heard that our photography curator, Megan Friedel, was hosting concerts — and not the kind you would expect from this sort of institution.
Friedel launched her Tiny Library Concert series on Colorado Day in 2015 at the History Colorado Center. These events showcase local musicians in an intimate setting and explore the history of this square state’s music.
“By the end of a Tiny Library Concert, you feel like you know the performer,” Friedel says.
Friedel, a bluegrass guitarist, is passionate about the state’s vibrant music scene: She wants to pay fair wages to performers and help them build a diverse fan base. Recordings of the Tiny Library performances are added to the museum’s collection, allowing artists to make history.
The shows take place in History Colorado’s Stephen H. Hart Library and Research Center, which holds up to 100 people. The artists perform against a backdrop of research materials, with views of the city on one side and microfilm readers on the other. When performers play acoustically, the audience can hear every note.
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“When you’re in that space and everyone is listening, it’s a really different experience than you can get most places in Denver,” Friedel says. “You are literally sitting at the feet of the performer.”
The next concert showcases the Still Tide, an indie-rock band who moved to Denver from New York. Lead singer Anna Morsett says Colorado provides a strong community of musicians who really care about what they are playing.
“Colorado has a history of such diversity that when coming here, you feel an overwhelming sense of inclusiveness, almost like you are being let in on a secret,” Morsett says. “From folk to technical, there is an amazing kindness and inclusiveness in this state.”
For Morsett, this show stands out. “I am excited to play in a place that is such a unique setting for music. To be able to capture those creative moments during a show or in time is really special to me.”
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The Still Tide, as Friedel tells it, is among the best indie-rock bands around: “Anna Morsett has one of the smoothest, most beautiful voices, and evokes so much emotion.”
Joining the Still Tide will be Paul DeHaven, from the nationally recognized Denver Americana band Paper Bird. He will perform a solo set.
The concert will be held at the History ColoradoCenter, 1200 Broadway, on January 24 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $9 for members, $12 for non-members, and can be purchased at historycolorado.org.