Nightfall in the Wetlands

from by Paul Winter

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    Grammy® Award-winning CRESTONE celebrates Colorado’s San Luis Valley, featuring Apache musician John-Carlos Perea, who sings in the Northern Plains Indian tradition; the voices of Mountain Bluebird, Red-winged Blackbird, Whooping Crane, Meadowlark, Sandhill Cranes, Coyotes, and Buffalo; and the Consort, including Paul Winter on soprano sax, Paul McCandless, oboe and bass clarinet; Eugene Friesen, cello; Glen Velez, percussion, Koji Nakamura, Japanese taiko drum.

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On an early spring evening at the Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge, frogs celebrate their first nights of open water after the thaw of the winter ice. Sandhill Cranes are heard in the distance, coming “home” to the wetlands, after a long day feeding in the fields of the San Luis Valley. The voice of a lone Bald Eagle, a fellow traveler, can be heard in the midst of this vast chorus (at one minute thirty-five seconds of the track). As the Cranes settle down for the night, Beavers alert each other with tail slaps on the water, and Great Horned Owls give their benediction.

For several weeks each spring and fall, Sandhill Cranes, the San Luis Valley’s oldest visitors, stop at the Refuge on the long journey between their wintering and breeding grounds. Some 20,000 Sandhills arrive during this migratory ritual, which may be millions of years old. The Cranes’ enormous wingspan lifts them tens of thousands of feet into the sky. At times they disappear into the clouds, leading some cultures to believe Cranes carry souls from Earth to Heaven. The great nature writer Aldo Leopold referred to the voice of the Sandhill Crane as “the trumpet in the orchestra of evolution.”

Striped Chorus Frog
Sandhill Cranes
Bald Eagle
Great Horned Owl


from Crestone, released December 17, 2007


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Paul Winter Litchfield

Paul Winter is a seven-time Grammy-winning saxophonist, whose sextet was the first jazz group to perform at the White House in 1962. His second group, the Paul Winter Consort, interweaves sounds from the natural world with classical and ethnic traditions, and the spontaneous spirit of jazz. Their annual Winter Solstice Celebrations and Earth Mass are among the most popular events in New York. ... more

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