To say that Fort Collins enjoys music is certainly an understatement. It’s probably more appropriate to say that music is part of our community’s identity (certainly as much as craft beer).
Just look around town on any given evening this past summer and you were bound to find a free concert series or your favorite local artist performing in a local pub. Vibrant weekend music festivals are sprinkled throughout the year and attract visitors from throughout the state and beyond. Then there’s the recently-created Music District
And let’s not forget the free literary arts festival Fort Collins Book Fest: Writings and Riffs on Saturday, October 21 which will highlight local writing, poetry, and music.
The public library’s connection to music can be traced back to 1939 and the dedication of the new addition to the town’s Carnegie Library (200 Mathews St.). The new spaces at the library included a new children’s area, reading rooms, and a community auditorium with a stage. It was in this auditorium that Fort Collins residents enjoyed musical performances and recitals.
Fast forward to today and the Library District continues the tradition. We enjoy engaging the community in creative ways, and offering a variety of innovative programs and resources for music lovers as well as musicians themselves is just one way we’re doing that.
Listen at Your Leisure
Perhaps the most popular music resource at the libraries is the digital collection of music. Browse titles and albums on hoopla by music category, artist, most popular, or just added. Their offering includes Jay-Z’s 4:44 album, the original Broadway cast recording of Hamilton, Taylor Swift’s 1989 album, and much more. Borrow albums just like you would audiobooks and eBooks.
Another fantastic listening opportunity comes in the form of free monthly music concerts hosted at Harmony Library. The “Harmony on the Green” and the “Harmony in the Round” series welcome locally- and nationally-recognized musicians to the library in an intimate indoor/outdoor setting. Musical acts range from honky-tonk funk to chamber choirs. These long-running series, put on in partnership with Front Range Community College – Larimer Campus, have been a popular addition to the music scene in Fort Collins since 2001.
Coming up September 29: Vellamo, a folk duo from Finland on their Northern Beats Tour. 7PM, Harmony Library.
Practice Your Sound
Little known fact: the Library offers sheet music for a variety of instruments and from a variety of artists and genres. You can check out the piano score from the complete Harry Potter film series, or get the piano and guitar accompaniment for music from the motion picture La La Land, or give classic romantic arrangements by Frank Sinatra a try.
Expand Your Repertoire
Popular eResources offer in-depth music knowledge and exploration. Try out Oxford Music Online, a gateway to information about all types of popular music including jazz, country, folk, rap, reggae, and techno from 1900 to present day. It offers you access to more than 60,000 articles and biographies written by music scholars covering composers, instruments, musical genres, and more.
Create Personalized Playlists
Create, save, and share your own personalized playlists using the Music & Performing Arts Online and the Naxos Music Library online resources. Both collections allows you to listen to hundreds of thousands of classical, jazz, world, folk and American roots pieces and provide background and educational materials including liner notes.
Sing Your Heart Out
The Library’s Gadgets & Things Collection features a karaoke system complete with microphones and 300 English and Spanish songs.
Drop Some Knowledge
Of course, we have tons of nonfiction books about music, biographies and memoirs of musicians, and music-themed novels. We recommend the memoir by Sonic Youth co-founder and musician Kim Gordon, A Girl in the Band and the still-relevant novel High Fidelity by Nick Hornby.
Join the Audience
Don’t forget that this year’s FoCo Book Festival brings nationally-recognized music authors and creative writers to Fort Collins for Writings and Riffs in a one-day, free literary arts event. Kim Gordon headlines an amazing group of authors including Craig Werner, Steve Knopper, G. Brown, and Khadijah Queen.
Discussions and presentations cover an eclectic range of topics from ecomusicology to music history, and from multicultural music in America to the books that influenced authors’ lives. More info, including a schedule of the free sessions and a full lineup of presenters, is available at www.FoCoBookFest.org.