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Painting by Cindy Carrillo


2nd Annual
Celebrate the River Concert

John Ziegler, Allen Ames, Marianne Kremer-Ames, Claudia Tulip, William Eaton, Mary Redhouse, Will Clipman, Sally Striker, Candace Gallagher, Wendy Harford, and JoAnne Agostinelli

Friday, September 25, 7:00 pm

$15 adv, $18 door, $20 priority

Celebrate the River Concert Honors City & River Groups

Concert sponsored by

Verde River Nature Organization,
Verde River Basin Partnership,
Verde River Committee,
Cottonwood Chamber of Commerce,
Arizona Watchable Wildlife,
City of Cottonwood,
City of Sedona

The 2nd Annual Celebrate the River Concert on Friday, September 25th, 7:00 pm, will begin the Old Town Center for the Arts 8th Season and kick-off the Verde River Day Festival weekend. Musicians, artists and river advocates will gather for an evening of music, art, and a songwriting competition all dedicated to bringing attention to our most important natural resource – water.

The event is organized by the Verde River Nature Organization in collaboration with the Verde River Day Committee and Cottonwood Chamber of Commerce. Mayor Diane Joens will introduce the concert and river organizations will be on hand to provide information about preserving and protecting the Verde River Basin and Oak Creek.

“The concert will feature some of the region’s best musicians,” OTCA co-Director William Eaton commented. “The music will celebrate the river organizations and the City of Cottonwood for the work they do to preserve and protect the river and for local water management.”

City of the Decade Award

A special acknowledgement will be made to the City of Cottonwood for their achievements in water management, reclamation and use, which were integral to winning the inaugural 2015 sustainable Economic Growth City of the Decade Award. The City of Cottonwood won this award over 16 other Arizona cities.

Cottonwood won the award largely based on Mayor Joens answers to questions about what was important for the City’s future sustainability. She talked about innovative ideas for infrastructure and dealing with flexible and alternative transportation, and the significant solar projects completed for the Recreation Center and airport.

Regarding the water management initiatives Mayor Joens answered, “We will be happy to share information about our new reclamation plant project. It’s going to be 100 percent solar and remove pharmaceuticals from the reclaimed stream. It will water our parks, an old stand of Cottonwood trees that are suffering due to a change in the course of the river, and we are also planning to inject extra water to benefit the Verde River. It will also have a learning center to help children learn about the process.”

“We have reclaimed water available 24/7 for Verde Valley projects and development. We do not allow the use of potable water in construction,” Mayor Joens shared.

“We’ve done dozens of upgrades to the water system, bringing water loss from leaky pipes from about 45 percent down to 11 percent. We have a huge conservation program which has been very successful, allowing us to pump more than 20 percent less out of the aquifer than was pumped when the water companies were privately owned.”

“When we build or reconstruct a street, we add purple pipe for the future use of reclaimed water,” she continued. “Reclaimed water is used for landscaping in two subdivisions that are close to our wastewater plant. We encourage it if it fits.”

The City of Cottonwood also won the Keep Sedona Beautiful’s Water Conservation Award of Excellence in 2014.

The Concert

Musicians John Ziegler, Allen Ames, Marianne Kremer-Ames, Claudia Tulip, William Eaton, Mary Redhouse, Will Clipman, Sally Striker, Candace Gallagher, Wendy Harford, and JoAnne Agostinelli will all take the stage to play “river” song covers and original music inspired by the river and the life sustaining aspect of rain and water cycles.

This year’s Celebrate the River Concert will also include a Singer – Songwriter competition. Contestants are challenged to write a song that uses the Verde River as its primary theme. Three finalists will be selected to perform at the concert, and the audience will vote for the grand finalist. The competition is open to all ages and created to support outreach and stewardship of the Verde River.

“The Verde River and Oak Creek are two of the only remaining year around rivers in all of Arizona,” co-Director of OTCA William Eaton commented. “Yet, as some experts have acknowledged, we are using more surface and groundwater than is being naturally replenished back into the watershed. Awareness and education about this situation is critical and fortunately there are many individuals, groups and organizations dedicated to preserving and protecting these waterways. The concert will be a lot of fun and entertaining and also be a vehicle to spread awareness about these groups, their goals and visions, and how each of us can become better stewards of this beautiful valley, individually and collectively.”

Sponsors signed on so far, for Celebrate the River Concert include the Verde River Nature Organization, Verde River Basin Partnership, Arizona Watchable Wildlife, City of Cottonwood, and City of Sedona.

Concert and Ticket Information:

The 2nd Annual Celebrate the River’ Concert will be held at the Old Town Center for the Arts on Friday, September 25th. The show begins at 7:00 pm, doors open at 6:00 pm. Attendees are invited to arrive early to see a pre-concert slide show and learn more about the Verde River and Oak Creek from representatives of the sponsoring organizations, who will be present to provide information and answer questions. Tickets are available online at showtix4u.com. Tickets are also available in Cottonwood at Desert Dancer and Mount Hope Natural Foods; and in Sedona at Crystal Magic. Old Town Center for the Arts is located at 633 N. Main Street (5th Street & Main St.) in Old Town Cottonwood. For more information please visit oldtowncenter.org or call Elena Bullard at 928.634.0940.

Would you like to get involved?

Here is a brief summary of the sponsoring river organizations for the Celebrate the River concert: Website information is included to learn more about these groups and volunteer opportunities.

Verde River Valley Nature Organization

Verde River Valley Nature Organization (VRVNO) is dedicated to raising awareness of the Verde Valley region’s natural resources by providing recreation, education and nature tourism opportunities supporting the stewardship of the Verde Valley in Northern Arizona. VRVNO is a new organization that sprung from the Verde Birding and Nature Festival, and is now the parent of that annual event, heading into its 15th year. You can learn more at their website: vrvno.org

Verde River Basin Partnership

The Verde River Basin Partnership is a non-profit organization comprised of both individual members and entity members (public and private partners) whose goal is to support and preserve the long-term health of the Verde River and its watershed. The organization uses credible science to provide educational outreach to help engage people and empower them to protect the Verde River Basin. The Partnership aims to secure the long-term health of Verde River Basin’s groundwater and surface waters, by assisting citizens and community leaders in exploring strategies and management practices that will sustain the Verde River system for all future generations.

Verde River Day Committee

Verde River Day was organized in 1988 to promote awareness of the Verde River's distinctive riparian habitat, where 85 percent of all wildlife in the area looks for sustenance. Each year the Verde River Day Committee organizes an event that promotes preservation and care of the environment by showcasing informative exhibits on the Verde's unique riparian habitat. This year Dead Horse Ranch State Park in Cottonwood will celebrate its 27th annual Verde River Day on Saturday, September 26, 2015. Arizona State Parks has waived park entrance fees for all visitors attending the event. All of the activities are at no cost, thanks to the many exhibitors and sponsors. Some of the day's events include a climbing wall, organized canoe and kayak rides, sand castle building, and nature-based exhibits. Guests of all ages are welcome to fish in the lagoon that is loaded with hundreds of pounds of catfish. Poles, bait and tackle are provided for all ages. No fishing license is needed. There will be a wide range of entertainment throughout the day. For more information about Verde River Day, call (928) 634-5283 or visit VerdeRiverDay.com.

Cottonwood Chamber of Commerce

The Cottonwood Chamber of Commerce is a member-focused organization and community partner that fosters a sustainable, healthy and vibrant economic environment through business promotion, advocacy, education and services. The Chamber is the champion, catalyst and coach for the Verde Valley's community development efforts, and through its members reaches throughout the region, including many of the efforts dedicated towards “river” awareness, education and preservation. For more information please visit CottonwoodChamberAz.org.

Arizona Watchable Wildlife

The Arizona Watchable Wildlife Tourism Association is a not-for-profit 501(c)(6) organized in August 2002 to promote Arizona’s enormous wildlife watching opportunities for residents and visitors. Nature tourism is proven to reap statewide economic benefits, personal economic benefits for resident, as well as help conserve those special places that make Arizona unique. AWWTA promotes and advocates for Arizona's birding and watchable wildlife tourism industry through marketing and product development, education, conservation and adherence to ethical and sustainable practices. For more information please visit AzWatchableWildlife.org.


Buy tickets online now at ShowTix4U 

Ticket Information

Paper tickets will be available in our ticket outlets at least 2 weeks in advance of an event.

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