A Harmonious Arrangement

Courtesy of Rocky Ridge Music Center

On any given day during the summer, a trumpet call echoes through the forest on the mountainside; its clear tone captures the attention of both man and beast. No, it’s not the bugling elk in Rocky Mountain National  Park, but it does fit right in with nature and the rustic setting at Rocky Ridge Music Center.

Founded in 1942 by pianist Beth Miller Harrod, the music center has a rich history as one of the oldest residential music programs in the nation. It is located at the scenic foot ofLongs Peak(14,256 ft.) in the midst of Rocky Mountain National Park. The historic Hewes-Kirkwood Inn and cabins, located on a 17-acre campus with a stream, provide a stunning backdrop for performances, practice, lessons, chamber music, orchestra, reflection, dining, residence, and friendships that have been part of a tradition for more than 70 years.

Under the guidance of an exceptional music faculty and guest artists, summer programs for youth and adults are designed to improve and broaden musical skills and understanding. Living apart from the hustle and bustle of a fast-paced society, with limited cell-phone service and other technological distractions, the camp is a refreshing oasis for students to totally immerse themselves in their music studies.

Due to its intimate size and atmosphere, Rocky Ridge is uniquely positioned to provide a rich musical experience through unparalleled personal attention and interaction with some of the finest performers, teachers, counselors, and staff members. The campus faces the Twin Sisters mountain peaks and is within a few paces of the most beautiful trailheads in the country.

Life Choices

The mission of the music center is to nurture the creative, musical, and personal development of youth and adults in an inspirational setting. The environment often serves as a catalyst for making significant life choices during the students’ seminal period–some may decide to make music their college major and career choice, some may keep music as an avocation, and still others may find life-long friends, partners, and mentors.


Alumni ties remain strong, partly because of the small student body, combined with an emphasis on solo and chamber music, which gives everyone an opportunity to become acquainted. As one might expect in a place where the program offerings make it possible for a person to attend every year from age 10 to adult, many students return summer after summer. Because the camp has such a long history, there are sometimes second and third generations of “Rocky Ridgers” from the same family.


The historic Hewes-Kirkwood Lodge, dining hall, and many of the surrounding log cabins were built by novelist and poet Charles Edwin Hewes at the turn of the century. So great was his love for nature that all of the buildings were constructed using only logs of “fire-killed” trees. Not a single living tree was used in establishing the inn.

Maintaining the historic appearance is a concern when new buildings are added or upgrades installed in older cabins. Property Manager Mike Daggett, who has a knack for working with lumber, discovered that rough pine boards make great interior paneling and satisfy historical site requirements when older cabins need insulating.

Page 1 of 3 | Next page

Related posts:

  1. The Guide
  2. What’s All This Noise?
  3. Counselor Query
  4. Totally Tubular
  5. Pros in Teaching
  • Columns & Features
  • Departments
  • Writers