Cultural Center features music born in Mesa Verde

Jill Haley, a former artist in residence at Mesa Verde, is returning on Saturday to the Cortez Cultural Center at 7 p.m. to share her music. She plays the English horn and oboe and will be accompanied by guitar and piano. Enlargephoto

Courtesy photo

Jill Haley, a former artist in residence at Mesa Verde, is returning on Saturday to the Cortez Cultural Center at 7 p.m. to share her music. She plays the English horn and oboe and will be accompanied by guitar and piano.

Haunting English horn melodies inspired by Mesa Verde will be featured at the Cortez Cultural Center this weekend.

Jill Haley, a 2013 artist in residence at the park, released an album in May based on her stay and is coming back to share the music with the local community.

The English horn has a low and melancholy sound, which Haley said lent itself well to the spirit of Mesa Verde.

“It is very spiritual,” she said.

The residency allowed Haley to soak in Mesa Verde and afforded the Pennsylvania native unique experiences. She recalled hearing an Elk bugle in a remote area of the park and answering back with her English horn.

“I was so, so lucky to be able to do this ” she said.

During her stay at Mesa Verde, Haley said she spent time improvising while watching the sunrise at Chapin Amphitheater, while in a kiva and other inspirational places. She later organized her improvised melodies into a full album.

She described the English horn as her signature sound, but also played the oboe and piano on the album. She was also accompanied by her husband, David Cullen, on guitar, who will be playing with her on in Cortez.

Jan Wright, an artist and coordinator for the residency program, said Haley stood out because of her previous work inspired by national parks.

She has also recorded albums called soundscapes based on her travels to Glacier, Zion and Bryce Canyon national parks. During her live shows near Reading, Pa., she plays to videos of areas that inspired the music.

“It makes people more aware of the parks,” she said.

This weekend she is returning to collect video of all the Mesa Verde sites to recreate her experience for others.

Haley has a background in jazz, classical and folk music and was inspired to do her first national park soundscape after a personal trip to Glacier National Park. She plans to continue working on the soundscapes, and by 2016, the centennial of the National Parks Service, she hopes to release an album featuring music inspired 14 national parks.

Her free show is scheduled for Saturday, at 7 p.m. at the Cortez Cultural Center. She will also play at the Morefield Amphitheater in Mesa Verde Sunday, 7 p.m.

mshinn@cortezjournal.com