The Pikes Peak region and Colorado Springs area lost a passionate lover of roots music this week.
Black Rose Acoustic Society co-founder Charlie Hall died Tuesday. He was 65. A memorial service is scheduled for 2 p.m. Dec. 29 at First Congregational Church, 20 E. St. Vrain St.
The longtime musician and music teacher is survived by his wife, Marianne Danehy; two daughters, Maria and Katie; a son, Brandon; two stepchildren, William and Anna; and three grandchildren.
“He loved bringing people together through music,” said Hope Grietzer, a BRAS co-founder. “And he was good at it. He created this huge extended family of people, spanning every age, demographic and political persuasion, coming together over this love.”
Hall, who’s best known for his guitar and mandolin playing, spent his formative years playing French horn, and earned a bachelor’s degree in music education from Florida State University. After college he took a job as a high school band director in Atlanta, before joining the Army and playing French horn, guitar and bass in the Sixth Army Band. After his stint in the military, he worked for two decades in Colorado Springs in an assortment of computer-related positions, quitting in 2003 to teach guitar, mandolin and bass, music theory, singing and recording.
In 1994, he, Grietzer and Murry Stewart formed Black Rose Acoustic Society. The music organization found a home at the Black Forest Community Center, where local, regional and national acts still perform in the little log cabin at the corner of Black Forest and Shoup roads. Some time after that, he, Grietzer and a few others formed the bluegrass and folk band Black Rose, in which Hall played guitar, mandolin, cittern and sang. They played together for the next decade.
“He’s really the foundation, the rock that BRAS is built on,” said Bob Lord, a BRAS board member and Hall’s longtime friend. Hall served as president and webmaster for BRAS during the years. “He’s one of the most gregarious people I’ve ever known. He’s one of those people, when they come into the room, the energy shifts a little bit. The light seems brighter. He was a people person. People were just drawn to him because of that.”
Hall founded Colorado Roots Music Camp in 2006, with instructors from around the country and classes for musicians of all levels and ages. “He was a genuine person,” said Grietzer. “He had an uncanny ability to make strangers feel totally welcome within a few sentences. Add to it his humor, wit and ear for music, and he set the tone for BRAS and the atmosphere of the whole organization, and I’m sure for his music camp, too.”
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