Music in Ruidoso

music in ruidoso
music in ruidoso
Courtesy Photo: Michael Francis on piano, Pepe Carmona on guitar and Charles Gordon on trumpet perform on Sunday afternoons from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Sacred Grounds Coffee House for the listening pleasure of residents and visitors.

Music in Ruidoso is Music to Your Ears

The scenic mountain village of Ruidoso might be smaller in numbers than other communities spread across the Land of Enchantment, but that in itself is an attraction to the many visitors and residents who choose this not-so-large winter and summer playground as their destination or residency. The culture of this town – besides the challenging slopes of acclaimed Ski Apache and the illustrious past and present horse races at Ruidoso Downs Race Track – also boasts a nearly all-encompassing abundance of quality and skillful abilities.

And before you think that might be an exaggerated claim, consider these events and popular, long established specialty shops: cycling races and triathlons with breathtaking and demanding avenues; one-of-a-kind art and handmade crafts placed conveniently in easy-to-get-to locations; the nearby hamlets of Hondo. Lincoln, Carrizozo, White Oaks, et al. and let’s not forget the close-at-hand, eminent resort and casino … The Inn of the Mountain Gods.

But it would be remiss if another allurement of Ruidoso were not to be mentioned, music in Ruidoso – the accomplished musicians and acoustical pleasantries of Lincoln County. Then again, if you stopped to think of the all-embracing assemblage of artistry and experiences in the area, you would readily agree.

The elevated landscapes of the area consistently present a wide-ranging plethora of a more-than-capable collection of musical merriment for your listening pleasure. Included herein are just a few examples of the skilled melodious performers in Lincoln County.

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Courtesy Photo: Michael Francis (piano), Erik Unsworth (bass), Charles Gordon (trumpet) and Ricky Malichi (drums) display their talents at Sacred Grounds.

Michael Francis has been playing piano for more than 54 years. Somewhere along the line he became a gifted performer – most probably near the beginning. He may be heard at multiple venues in the area – like Kokopelli Executive Golf, Tennis and Social Club of Alto, N.M., where he may be listened to on Friday and Saturday evenings from 6 to 9 p.m. Sunday afternoons can be a relaxing happening for all when you drop in to Sacred Grounds Coffee House in Ruidoso from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. where he is normally accompanied by three or so other equally talented entertainers. Occasionally he and multiple other musicians from the area may be heard at Friday evening’s “open mic.”

When asked what he likes about his chosen instrument, Francis said, “I enjoy a piano’s expression,” he said. “It’s part of me, whereby I can express my feelings through music. And hopefully make people feel good.”

As to the musical talent in the area he had this to say: “There are a bunch of good musicians in Ruidoso and the surrounding area. They represent many unique and different styles.”

Another adept instrumentalist in the local area if trumpeter, Charles Gordon. He also plays the flügelhorn to the delight of many. At 5-years-old he was able to read music and started playing the trumpet in 1964. One-and-a-half years ago he formed his own jazz group (trio) and gave named it, “Jazzled.” Gordon and his group may be heard at The Golf Club at Rainmakers in Alto. In addition to Ruidoso and Alto, Jazzled may also be heard Carrizozo and Roswell (at the Pasta Café and the Roswell Jazz Festival [at the end of October each year]).

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Courtesy Photo: Charles Gordon and Michael Francis (l-r) enjoy the moment.

Gordon also accompanies Francis at Sacred Grounds Coffee House on Sunday afternoons. “I like jazz and the sound of the trumpet,” he explained. “It’s challenging.”

Another member of the Sunday group of performers is Pepe Carmona. He’s only been playing the guitar 63 years and has accompanied Francis for the last 40 years. He also performs on bass. He started playing guitar at 15-year-old.

“Guitar is my passion,” he exclaimed. “My now, 97-year-old father first taught me. Although from El Paso, Carmona thoroughly enjoys performing in the Ruidoso area with Francis at Sacred Grounds and musical events here.

One more example of a gifted musician from Ruidoso with limited experience – only 75 years! – is Bob Clarke. He inherited his joy of music from his father who once played the Vaudeville circuit of the 1920s and 30s. For 25 years he rendered his piano skills at the Lodge at Cloudcroft. Although he has scaled back his performances he may be seen and heard occasionally at Sacred Grounds on Sundays. “I enjoy playing ballads, such as Stardust and easy listening tunes,” he said. “I like living and performing music in Ruidoso. I have a good feeling of belonging to this area, have established myself here and have many good friends.”

Good times with music in Ruidoso. The above-mentioned musicians are only a select few examples of the talent in the Ruidoso area. There are skilled others, too. You may come and enjoy them at almost any time.

—Michael Curran