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Violinist Tessa Lark refuses to stay in her musical lane

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Violinist Tessa Lark refuses to stay in her musical lane

When Tessa Lark studied at the New England Conservatory, the violinist made friends at Berklee College of Music. Now a frequent guest with some of the country’s leading classical orchestras, Lark spent a good deal of time in Boston exploring improvised Americana music with pals one campus over.

“For a while, the music was a fun little party trick in a way,” she told the Herald with a laugh.

Lark would often end a classical program with a rootsy tune. She noticed the audiences loved it, but some considered it a novelty.

“But it’s not a party trick for me, it’s the way I live my life in music,” she said ahead of her sold-out appearance at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. “So for the past couple of years I have been trying to figure out a way for all types of music in my programming to carry the same level of importance, not only to me but to the audience as well.”

“I want to continue to play my Beethoven concertos, my Tchaikovsky concertos, my Franck sonatas, but also explore American music and its relevance to classical music today,” she added.

Lark is the rare musician who plays both “violin” and “fiddle” — sometimes switching between the two in the middle of a flourish of notes on the concerto “Sky.” You can get a glimpse at her range just by looking at the Gardner program where Beethoven, Franck and Ravel mix with jazz standard “Django,” Michael Torke’s folk fiddle/classical violin hybrid “Spoon Bread and the Boston premiere of her own work “Jig and Pop.”

Lark lived in Boston for nearly a decade during her classical studies, but she grew up in rural Kentucky. Her father is a bluegrass banjo player — a pretty darn good one by Lark’s account — but her musical talent seemed to expand beyond folk at an astonishing pace: Around age 3 she had learned about 40 or 50 songs on piano.

“The sounds that were in my ear were all sorts of things and that’s thanks to both my mom and dad,” Lark said. “Lots of classical music, lots of bluegrass.”

“They both have great musical tastes, and I say great because it’s what I grew up with,” she added with a laugh.

Many musicians with Lark’s innate talent are pushed to focus on a codified career path. Teachers often tell students they need to pick a lane — classical, jazz, roots music, whatever — and stick in it. Like banjo master Bella Fleck and polymath Rhiannon Giddens, Lark hasn’t found much use in genre boundaries.

“There was a healthy skepticism about merging different worlds into the classical world,” she said. “Post-pandemic there has been a major shift in programming a lot of modern music. We are in an era that resembles what classical music once was, which is performing music that is contemporary. That by nature is going to include the sounds of our time. And that means folk music and bluegrass and jazz music.”

“Classical music is extremely sophisticated and folk music has a beautiful tradition of welcoming anybody at any level whether they are a player or songwriter,” she added. “There was this battle between so-called high and low art. There’s now a welcoming and celebrating of these two traditions.”


For more information, go to tessalark.com.

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Chicago Bears rookie Teven Jenkins is ‘trusting the process’ in his return from back surgery. For now, that means learning behind veteran Jason Peters.

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Teven Jenkins is content to learn from veteran Jason Peters for now after the Chicago Bears rookie recovered from back surgery: ‘I believe it’s the right path for me’

It would be understandable if Teven Jenkins’ patience were wearing thin.

Nearly 13 months have passed since the Chicago Bears offensive tackle has started a football game.

First a back injury at Oklahoma State prompted him to opt out of the final four games of his senior season in 2020. Then, after the Bears drafted him with the 39th pick in the spring, another back issue required surgery and sidelined him for the first three months of his rookie season.

Now, though Jenkins said he hasn’t felt this good physically since he was 18 years old, he remains sidelined behind nine-time Pro Bowl left tackle Jason Peters, the 39-year-old veteran whom the Bears signed to fill in.

Jenkins, however, said he’s willing to take on whatever role the Bears want for him right now, even if that’s mostly just soaking up Peters’ advice.

“It’s all about trusting the process,” Jenkins said Wednesday in his first media session since June. “(Peters is) a (future) Hall of Famer. He’s greatness. So I have no problem sitting behind Jason Peters right now and learning — just learning.

“Because I trust what the Bears have in store for me and I trust what Coach (Juan) Castillo has for me and Coach (Matt) Nagy. I trust them all. And I believe it’s the right path for me.”

With Peters playing well and Jenkins still catching up from the time he missed, Nagy and Castillo said Jenkins will serve as depth at left tackle for now, with occasional playing time on special teams or in special situations. They could, of course, change their mind at any point, especially if the Bears are officially eliminated from playoff contention and want to see what Jenkins can do.

Jenkins said his heart was racing as he played two snaps on extra points Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals — his first NFL appearance after he returned to practice in mid-November.

“It’s my first game, and that’s like the big stage,” Jenkins said. “Of course I was nervous a little bit. … But it’s just one little hump I had to get over and just had to get acclimated.”

Jenkins had a tough few months to get to that point.

He said the symptoms of his back injury were different from when he had a back issue as a senior in college.

Unbearable nerve pain shot down his legs, making it difficult to do even little things such as take steps and get up from sitting. He said symptoms lingered between working in the offseason program and training camp, and he wonders if trying to work through it — as football players are used to doing — made it worse.

“I probably pushed myself out there a little bit faster because I had that urge — I wanted to get back on the field; I don’t care if it’s hurt,” Jenkins said. “And maybe I did push myself a little bit too much and made it a little worse, and that’s what ended up going on to get surgery.”

Jenkins said he and the Bears exhausted other options before deciding on the August surgery. Jenkins hopes it solved the issue so his back won’t be a problem down the road.

Before he could physically practice, Jenkins attended Bears meetings for a couple of hours a day, during which he would write down the plays to mentally roll through in his head later, sometimes with the help of his fiancee. When he was able to get up and move, he would walk through the scenarios at home.

The early days of his recovery, when he was at Halas Hall for only a couple of hours a day, were the most difficult because he was itching to compete.

“It was kind of hard at the beginning, but then I started realizing it was something out of my control,” Jenkins said. “Mentally, I got past that and said, ‘Look, if I can’t do this physically, I’m going to get better mentally in the playbook and schemes and games against people we’re playing with and just keep on doing that.’ And that’s how I got over it mentally.”

Castillo said it’s now a matter of gaining experience in practice and from watching Peters.

“Right now the thing for him is just getting off the ball and getting to a spot,” Castillo said. “I’m talking about pass protection. Run game is a little easier than pass pro. … The key is, at the snap count, being able to get off the ball, being able to explode and get to that spot as quick as he can.

“That’s something that Jason is really good at that we worked on a long time ago and that he’s really mastered — being able to get off that football. So for me, that really helps my teaching to be able to have somebody I worked with before that they can see exactly how it’s done.”

Jenkins is willing to take that teaching for now as he waits for his next opportunity.

“Personally, I’m still waiting to see how it all unfolds,” Jenkins said. “Right now I’m still backing up JP. … Great player, even greater person, and just being able to learn and get the knowledge he’s sharing with us, just having that advantage as my career goes on, I feel like that’s a great thing for me.”

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Health care chain zooms in on LoHi for second Denver location

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Health care chain zooms in on LoHi for second Denver location

ZoomCare is focusing its lens on the Denver market.

The Portland-based health care provider opened its second location in Denver, and fourth in Colorado, last month at 3210 Tejon St. in LoHi.

“Where we place our clinics is part of our proprietary secrets, but LoHi fits the profile of the neighborhoods we like to go into,” said CEO Jeff Fee.

“And with our entrée into Denver, it’s a growing market and has similar market characteristics of our existing markets. Our goal down the road is to become a national brand, and Denver seemed like a good fit for the ZoomCare model.”

ZoomCare, which started as a neighborhood clinic in 2006, has about 60 locations in Oregon, Idaho, Washington and Colorado.

The healthcare provider moved into Colorado last year, when it opened a clinic at 1431 15th St. in LoDo and another in Boulder last year. The company added one in Arvada in June.

The company signed a lease for the 1,080-square-foot LoHi space in April. Endorphin Fitness previously operated there.

ZoomCare has around 1,500 patients in the Denver area, according to Fee. Each clinic has a staff of board-certified providers who cater to a broad range of illnesses and injuries. Patients are able to schedule their urgent, primary and preventive care services in the same day. Rather than having a primary doctor, patients can visit any of the team’s providers at any of its locations across the U.S.

There are also on-site labs and prescriptions, so patients can leave with medication in hand.

Courtesy of ZoomCare

ZoomCare has around 1,500 patients in the Denver area.

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Colorado weather: Major winter storm to drop up to 3 feet of snow

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Colorado weather: Major winter storm to drop up to 3 feet of snow

Winter weather alerts are posted for many mountain regions of Colorado as a potent storm is forecast to move across the state. This storm could drop upwards of 3 feet of snow and will pack winds of 50 mph.

First off, if you have travel plans in the mountains between now and Saturday morning, prepare for intense winter driving conditions with possible closures in numerous areas across the state. Some good travel advice can be found below.

There are two waves of snow coming toward Colorado. One will push through by Thursday morning bringing mountain locations light snow. Another will begin to move through Thursday afternoon and last through Friday, and this second pulse of snow is the one that will really pack a punch.

A deepening area of low pressure is forecast to move over Colorado and as it approaches, moisture will be picked up from the Pacific ocean. What the National Weather Service in Grand Junction is calling an Atmospheric river, an anomalous amount of moisture is supposed to funnel towards Colorado. This is arguably the most important factor of this storm — that several inches of liquid precipitation are going to stack up across the mountains bringing some much-needed drought relief. The current snowpack across Colorado is sitting at 52%t of normal and this storm is likely to give a great boost to the numbers statewide.

From Denver to Colorado Springs, this will be a much different storm as less than a quarter of an inch of moisture is expected — if that.

With moisture levels as high as they will be in the mountains, snowfall rates may exceed 2 inches per hour at times. The heaviest of snows will begin Thursday afternoon and last through Friday morning beginning initially in the northern mountains and then pushing south. Winds will be very high with the storm, gusting up to 50 mph at times. This will further exacerbate driving conditions as snow-packed roads are going to be very common anywhere you travel.

When talking snow totals, wind direction plays a huge role in producing big snows. The way this storm is approaching and how it will flow across our area will bring beneficial winds to just about all mountain ranges. From the San Juans near Wolf Creek and Telluride all the way to the Park Range near Steamboat, this storm is likely to deliver so much snow that we will measure it in feet. That means that major to extreme impacts on roads are possible.

Winter Storm Severity Index

 

Forecast snow totals

The Northern Mountains (including the Gore Range, Park Range, Flat Tops and the Gore Range)
1 to 2 feet of snow is expected. This includes areas like Steamboat and Vail.

The Central Mountains (including the Sawatch Mountains and the Elk and West Elk Mountains)
1to 2 feet of snow is expected. This includes areas like Crested Butte, Aspen, Sunlight and Monarch
There could be a few higher totals in these areas.

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