Howbert choir stars at Garden 100th
A choir of about 30 Howbert Elementary students (grades 3-5) sang for a ceremony Feb. 12 that kicked off a year-long 100th anniversary celebration of the Garden
of the Gods becoming a gift to the City of Colorado Springs.
Before a gathering of close to 75 people inside the Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center - including a few tourists who weren't sure what they'd wandered into - the school choir concluded with a patriotic number in which they were all waving American flags.
“We're very excited and honored to be a part of this celebration,” said Howbert music director Katherine Kennedy.
Others participating in the roughly half-hour gathering were City Council member Scott Hente, City Parks Director Paul Butcher, Mike Snyder of the National Park Service, Jim Schwerin of the City Parks Advisory Board, Bonnie Frum of the Visitor Center, and two American Indians (Austin Box, Southern Ute Elder; and Alden Naranjo, Southern Ute historian).
Schwerin confessed that in his younger days, “I once scrambled up Kindergarten Rock and tossed a frisbee down, which I swore I would never do again.” On a more serious note, he predicted that in another 100 years that even though heavy population growth may occur around it, the Garden “will be an oasis in an urban landscape.”
The Southern Utes had lived in the area before the tide of settlers resulted in their being relocated. Naranjo thanked the city for taking good care of the Garden of the Gods in the times since then. He added that “our spiritual way of life, our traditions are still here. We're still part of this, in a way. In the Garden of the Gods, we can hear the whispers of our ancestors, talking to us.”
Frum credited area businesswoman Lyda Hill as being important to the Garden's not becoming rundown from its heavy visitation. Hill, who built the Visitor Center in 1995, set up a foundation by which a percentage of all sales in the center go for park upkeep. This has totaled $1.6 million to date, Frum said.
City Parks used the occasion to release information about upcoming events/ activities in conjunction with the centennial of the gift to the city from the Perkins family 100 years ago. These include an art contest for ages 5 to 18 (details on the city website - www. Springsgov.com), a Pioneers Museum exhibit opening April 18 and a lecture by Richard Beidleman June 19.
Several of Kennedy's students had expressed anticipation for the occasion. One of them, Megan McCarrie, said, “I feel that it's special that we're singing for the Garden of the Gods' 100th anniversary because Garden of the Gods has been here for thousands of years, When I go up to Garden of the Gods, I feel a connection because I love to run and bike through the Garden of the Gods. When I'm sad the Garden of the Gods makes me feel happy again.”
Westside Pioneer article