Free shows will continue through the summer
Lauralee Northcott figured it was time for some socially distance-appropriate live music to brighten a coronavirus-dimmed summer.
So with the blessing of the town of Winthrop and endorsement of the Winthrop Market, the nationally renowned musician launched “Sunday Music in the Park” at the Mack Lloyd park outdoor stage last Sunday (July 5).
Northcott plans to emcee similar free events from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. on Sundays through the summer. Last weekend’s lineup included Northcott’s former partners in the Horse Crazy Cowgirl Band, Jennifer Epps and Judy Coder, who now perform as a duo called the Notable Exceptions; jazz by Marcus Duke (piano) and George Schneider flute); well-known local musician and former Horse Crazy Cowgirl Band member Emele Clothier; and Brian Sweet doing vocals and accompanying himself on guitar.
“The first Sunday in the Park was a fine success,” Northcott said in an email. “The people in the park just loved having live music and the musicians really appreciated an opportunity to play for real people instead of another day in the practice room! A young man commented, ‘I just love having real live music. It is lifting my spirit, thank you.’ The vendors were appreciative and enjoyed the music, it was easy to keep a nice distance from one another, and the sound quality was good.”
“The intention here is to provide a sweet opportunity for musicians to get out of the practice room, and for our community to share a loving and open space time,” Northcott said earlier. “Musicians need to perform. Painters need to paint. Teachers need to teach, etc. So many of the fine musicians of the Methow do not
have a place to play. This is an opportunity to enjoy the park and the people of our community in a safe socially distanced environment, while enhancing the market experience.”
Musicians, poets and stage performers are invited to sign up for a 25-minute slot. To be considered for a slot, email Northcott at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Northcott will provide her sound system.
Northcott has been a singer, musician, songwriter, teacher, artist, and wilderness guide and cook, and author. She released a book of stories, poems, songs and recipes — collected over several decades of outdoor experiences — called “A Cowgirl’s Life in the Mountains” in 2018.
She was a founder and longtime member of the nationally renowned, award-winning Western music group, the Horse Crazy Cowgirl Band. The group performed for 17 years before dissolving in 2016. The group was the Western Music Association’s “Group of the Year” in 2015 and winner of multiple harmony awards.
After leaving the group, Northcott released a CD, “On the Loose and Headed Your Way,” which reached No. 1 on the Western music charts.
Northcott was a wilderness guide and cook for 33 years, and also taught for 34 years, most of that time in the Methow Valley School District. She was one of the collaborators in producing the annual Dollar Watch Cowboy Jamboree, a locally popular Western music and poetry fest, for 11 years.
She also makes intricate, labor-intensive baskets woven from pine needles and decorated with all kinds of found objects. They are sold locally.