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Smorgasbord for the Soul 

A day of arts magic at the Pikes Peak Center

We used to summer at our uncle's home on Lake Erie, and a highlight of those family gatherings was an annual trip to Heilman's, a local smorgasbord restaurant. My adolescent brother, his stomach growing into manhood, would descend upon the offerings like a vulture to fresh carrion. Over the years, as the poor town suffered the slings and arrows of a steel industry decline, business after business folded. And when Heilman's finally bit the dust, my uncle claimed that it was actually my brother who had brought it down.

What is it about the smorgasbord, or the buffet, as we have come to call it, that turns an ordinarily civilized diner into a ravenous monster? Perhaps it is the opportunity to taste so many diverse offerings. And when the fare offered is a sampling of the arts, the chance to enjoy so much at one sitting is irresistible.

So kudos to the Colorado Springs Symphony for pulling together the first "Day of Magic" on Nov. 3, a cornucopia of the performing and visual arts in Colorado Springs. Featuring over 25 local music, dance, choral/vocal, drama and visual arts events, this remarkable extravaganza offers course upon course of delicious entertainment, all in the Pikes Peak Center and all for free, with the contribution of one non-perishable food item or new, unwrapped toy per person.

Some of the highlights include:

The DaVinci Quartet at noon

In case you missed their performance a few weeks ago, you get a reprieve. Discover the intimate joys of chamber music performed by masters of the form.

Colorado Springs Youth Symphony at 1 p.m.

Composed of the area's best young instrumentalists, this award-winning group brings remarkable vitality to their music. Works paying homage to the victims of Sept. 11 highlight their performance.

Ormao Dance Company at 2 p.m.

If you missed last weekend's recital, shame on you. The company and its three youth ensembles offer a repeat performance of some of the amazing dance pieces from that concert. Not to be missed.

Pikes Peak Jazz and Swing Society at 3 p.m.

The premiere jazz performing group in the area, the Society has brought high-quality jazz music to Springs audiences for 16 years.

Chamber Orchestra of the Springs at 5 p.m.

Their Oct. 21 concert concluded with Beethoven's Symphony #4, which will be encored here. It's a beautiful work, sure to be well executed by this remarkable chamber group.

The Colorado Springs Symphony at 7 p.m.

Last but not least, our host performs in the culminating event of this exciting cavalcade of the arts. Their program will include the Beethoven "Leonore" Overture, and movements from the Mozart Flute Concerto and the Dvorak "New World" Symphony.

Other offerings include the Abendmusik Chamber Choir, the America the Beautiful Barbershop Chorus, the Colorado College Asian Dance Troupe, the Colorado Jazz Dance Company, the Devienne Wind Trio, Inspector Magic, The Marimba Trio, the Mosaic A Cappella ensemble, the Mountain Road Celli Band and on and on. It's a dazzling array, and a testimony to the variety of arts organizations we enjoy here in the Pikes Peak region.

It's a wonderful present the Symphony has given us, a chance to revisit missed opportunities, make some new friends, and sample some local talent. Since the performances are in three separate venues within the Pikes Peak Center, and the schedule is thoughtfully planned to highlight a variety of performance each hour, each family member can enjoy whatever strikes his fancy at his own leisure. And as with a good buffet, you can take a break (for lunch!) and return for more as your schedule permits and your appetite dictates.

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