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Black Rose Acoustic Society strums fun and learning

While its home community of Black Forest is no stranger to talented and dedicated residents, the musically inclined, with a love of all things acoustic, comprise the Black Rose Acoustic Society.Now in its 24th year, the organization was founded on the principals of furthering education, performance, enjoyment and preservation of traditional acoustic music in the Black Forest and Colorado Springs areas.With legions of talent passing through the organization, legend has it the music played in the halls of the groupís headquarters at the Black Forest Community Center is now residual energy.ìThereís some belief that the music thatís been in there has gone into the walls,î said Paul McCann, Black Rose Acoustic Society president. ìIíve never been disappointed by any show there. It is truly amazing.îFor six years, McCann has seen firsthand the talent and skill of each person who comes through the organizationís doors, he said.ìEveryone is welcome, whether youíre a beginner or not,î said McCann, who started out volunteering by putting up chairs after performances, before he joined the board as its treasurer and now as president. He said he still puts up chairs.Like its board of directors, which includes classically trained musicians, the organization is a smorgasbord of individuals who want to further develop their musical talents and show off their skills from time to time.With membership numbers in the thousands and an international following on social media sites like Facebook and YouTube, the group has grown its family-friendly reputation.The Black Forest Acoustic Society hosts shows, featuring different groups, every other Friday. One recent Friday night featured Two Worlds One, multi-instrumentalist duo Aryeh Frankfurter and Lisa Lynne on Celtic harps, Swedish nyckelharpa, Ukranian bandura, citterns, Irish bouzouki, viola and more. All types of music, as long as itís acoustic, are welcome, McCann said. Folk music, Americana, gypsy jazz and bluegrass are among the sounds considered acoustic.The group also hosts jam sessions on Thursdays at the senior center to nurture group play. The Black Rose Music School hosts open seasonal courses covering many types of music, McCann said. The group provides scholarships as well.Its annual childrenís show represents the groupís dedication to create a fun musical environment for young performers.ìThereís a lot of children performers, and our childrenís show is aimed at kids,î McCann said. ìAll the opening and main acts are children, and that really goes back to our charter. The only way you can keep that mission to educate and further the fun of music is to bring it to children.îThe general atmosphere is one of encouragement, said McCannís girlfriend, Sheila Wightman. ìNew performers, young or old, are encouraged by the audience. They lift up the musicians,î she said.McCann added, ìYou can appreciate anyoneís style if you can tell what effort theyíve put into it. These people have put in tens of thousands of hours — most of that is unpaid — and then you see it come out.îHe called the Black Forest Acoustic Society ìalmost a family.îìThe people that come, they know each other. Or maybe they donít, but everyone who comes feels very welcome.îFor more information, membership and a schedule of upcoming events, visit the website at

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