A perfect evening of live jazz music on the grass at the Brimmer Amphitheater in Cheyenne

Amaya Arevalo and Matt Rathkey on saxophones.

Our concert in Lions Park was our first chance to play since COVID changed everything.

This has been a difficult time for musicians and for live music. With the outbreak of Covid-19 in March, events suddenly stopped, and we had to cancel performances that had been scheduled beginning in March. We have not had the opportunity to play until now, so we were thrilled that Michelle Woerner, Bob Jensen, and the board of K9s for Mobility came up with the idea to have an outdoor concert at the Brimmer Amphitheater in Lions Park. K9s 4 Mobility’s “All Jazzed Up 2020” was just a perfect evening. The acoustics in the amphitheater were amazing and filled the grassy seating area with sound. Folks were able to sit at a safe distance and enjoy the music without the risk of breathing virus. We were so grateful to be able to gather outside to make music again. It was a perfect evening of live jazz music on the grass.

We played a bunch of songs I love, and I’ve uploaded a couple that I caught on my recorder.

Amaya Arevalo on piano, Bobby Wiens on drums, Dennis Griffing on bass, Matt Rathkey on alto sax, Peter Queal on guitar and vocals, Jane Robinett on vocals.
“Redshift” by Patricia Barber featuring Jane Robinett on vocals, Peter Queal on guitar, Amaya Arevalo on piano, Matt Rathkey on alto saxophone, Dennis Griffing on bass, and Bobby Wiens on drums.
“Mercy, Mercy, Mercy” by Joe Zawinal featuring Matt Rathkey and Amaya Arevalo on saxophones, Peter Queal on guitar, Dennis Griffing on bass, and Bobby Wiens on drums.

Close to You

Finally, we closed with an original tune that Amaya Arevalo wrote and performed accompanying herself on piano called “Close to You” about being apart from the people we love during this time. As she was playing the sun was setting and the moment was magical. Here is a video she and Tyler Hall produced earlier of her performing her song.

Amaya Arevalo playing “Close to You.”

The Mission of K9s 4 Mobility

Founded in 2012, K9s 4 Mobility is a non-profit organization dedicated to enrichng the lives of others through the training, placement and support of assistance dog partnerships. They are a 501c3 non-profit and have trained and placed 33 assistance dogs since they began their work enriching the lives of their owners by enhancing their mobility, increasing their independence and confidence, and providing devoted companionship.

Don’t miss All Jazzed Up!

Matt Rathkey playing saxophone
  • Friday, September 6
  • Cheyenne Botanic Gardens

All Jazzed Up! is a live music event benefiting K9s for Mobility

I am really looking forward to our upcoming event. First of all, the charity it benefits, K9s for Mobility, is so important, and the money raised will go to support their work. But in addition to this, I am especially excited about being able to play great jazz tunes with amazing musicians.

On Friday, September 6, we will be returning to play for “All Jazzed Up,” an annual benefit sponsored by K9s for Mobility, at the beautiful Cheyenne Botanic Gardens orangerie.  The evening will be an elegant cocktail party including curated wine tastings by sommelier, Barb Kloth, luscious hors d’oeuvres, live jazz music and . . . puppies!

What does K9s for Mobility do?

K9s for Mobility is a dedicated to enriching the lives of others through the training, placement and support of assistance dog partnerships.  They train various kinds of assistance dogs including guide dogs to help persons with limited vision and service dogs for people with other physical limitations.  The training is intense and takes about two years to complete. 

K9s for Mobility also trains social service dogs for professionals who address specific disabilities, and it’s important to know that social service dogs are different from therapy dogs.  Social service dogs help with motivation, discouraging inappropriate behaviors, and other complex tasks.  Check out their website, http://www.k9s4mobility.org/ to find out more about what assistance dogs are and how they can be important for many conditions. 

K9s 4 Mobility offers training and support to any assistance dog team regardless of where the dog comes from. They choose the dogs carefully making sure that the personality, size and skills needed are a good match for the person who will be partnered with the animal. Because this is so important, placements are made in the individuals’ homes and involve one-on-one attention.

Service dog opening a door

K9s for Mobility is an accredited member of Assistance Dogs International. Bob Jensen, Julie Maloukis, Judy Sifers, Michelle Woerner and Callie Yeater founded the organization in 2012.

Here is an excellent article about what many people do not understand about service dogs including who can have them and what they do. 

The music is great and the band is too

I am really looking forward to playing with this group of talented jazz musicians. After we rehearsed yesterday, I was so excited about what we had created. We’ll be playing lots of jazz from different genres–swing to bossa nova. We’ll be playing “Take Five” as well as “In Your Own Sweet Way,” another tune by Dave Brubeck, that you may not have heard. In addition Duke Ellington, Cole Porter, Fats Waller, and Irving Berlin, you will hear the bebop greats like Dizzy Gillespie, Wayne Shorter, and Freddie Hubbard. I’ll be singing some of my personal favorites like “Summertime” and “Comes Love.”

Matt Rathkey

Matt is originally from Chicago and studied mathematics as well as music at Carlton College..  He plays alto saxophone and recently graduated with a masters’ degree in jazz performance from Greeley’s prestigious UNC school of music.  He lives in Denver and works at Dazzle jazz club. 

I had the pleasure of playing with Gabe a couple months ago when we performed for the Historic Preservation Board. He’s a great alto player.

Amaya Arevalo

Amaya is completing dual degrees in at UNC.  She plays piano as well as tenor sax and composes, and also hopes to go to the graduate level in jazz performance.  Amaya is a stunning young woman as well as an astonishing jazz pianist. I am so very happy to have her on the gig.

Gabriel Mangione

Gabe is a drummer from Medical Lake, Washington and currently a junior at UNC studying jazz performance.  He is such an exciting drummer and I am thrilled to have him play with us for this performance.

Dennis Griffing

Griff my go-to bassist. He and I have been playing together for several years now.  While Griff lives in Fort Collins, he plays with the Cheyenne Symphony Orchestra and is truly dedicated to his craft. I can always count on Griff.

Buy your tickets for All Jazzed Up! now

You can purchase tickets on-line here: http://www.k9s4mobility.org/all-jazzed-up1

Special thanks to Michelle Woernmer, Dr. Tracie Caller, Heather Roe-Day, and Bob Jenkins as well as the many other volunteers of K9s for Mobility for organizing this event.

We play from 6 to 9 p.m. Hope to see you there. I will be fun.