Strings Music Festival

Steamboat Springs, CO   |


The mission of Strings Music Festival is to present innovative programs of distinctive classical and popular contemporary music in an intimate and friendly setting to audiences of all ages, enhancing the cultural, educational and entertainment experiences of the community of Northwest Colorado and its visitors.

Ruling year info


Executive Director

Ms. Elissa Greene

Main address

PO Box 774627

Steamboat Springs, CO 80477 USA

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Formerly known as

Strings in the Mountains



NTEE code info

Arts, Cultural Organizations - Multipurpose (A20)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Concert Programming

Concert Programming
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Description *
Strings Music Festival is the largest performing arts organization in northwestern Colorado. Our renowned Summer Festival includes Classical, Contemporary, Youth and Family Concerts, and Outreach Programs. During the rest of the year, we offer our Fall/Winter Series and our free youth music and arts education program, Strings School Days. The Classical Series features world-class musicians including acclaimed soloists, concertmasters, and principal players with the country’s top 25 orchestras. Our Contemporary Series presents music genres such as jazz, country, rock, and folk music. Strings has featured more than 100 Grammy award winning artists, NEA Jazz Masters, Country Music Hall of Fame, and other award winning artists. Youth and Family Concerts present a variety of music geared towards children and family members. Our Family concert series also includes a sensory friendly concert, the first of its kind in the

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Strings School Days is a model arts education program in Colorado and the country that provides free arts education for more than 3,000 public, charter, and private K-12 students annually in rural northwestern Colorado. Evaluations show Strings School Days has significant impacts on student academic achievement, critical thinking and reasoning, student’s worldviews, and youth development skills such as increased self-confidence and self-esteem, and also provides important support for teachers. Strings School Days is unique among youth arts education programs because of the integration of School Days programs into the core curriculum, the youth development and academic goals of the program, and our commitment to youth understanding and appreciation of diverse cultures. Strings School Days doesn’t just engage students in the performing arts; Strings School Days helps create well-rounded, community-minded young people.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Free Community Outreach Programs offer unique opportunities for residents and visitors in Routt County to enjoy nationally and locally renowned musical performers and educational opportunities in their home communities. Importantly, these performances engage seniors, families, young children, people with disabilities, and others who may not otherwise be able to participate in the arts due to age, access to venues, disabilities, and/or economic or other circumstances. Our free programs are particularly important given high levels of family poverty in our area and limited opportunities be engaged in the arts. Strings partners with more than 30 nonprofits, businesses, schools, Yampa Valley Medical Center, libraries, Boys and Girls Club, senior living, and community centers. In 2022, we are planning 40 outreach programs that are expected to engage upwards of 2,400 people. Strings Music Festival offers more than 60% of our programs free in the three county area we serve.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Economically disadvantaged people

Where we work

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    Strings Music Festival strives to provide music and performing arts experiences to the residents of the Yampa Valley through on-site programs in the Strings Pavilion and free outreach programs in venues and schools throughout Northwest Colorado. Strings offers more than 60% of our programs free to families, youth, seniors, and adults. The people of Northwest Colorado and visitors to our area are Strings' "community." The intimate and friendly setting of the Strings Pavilion, outreach programs, and free programs attract people of all ages and backgrounds and enhance the cultural, educational, and entertainment experiences of our audience and community.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Paper surveys, Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Suggestion box/email,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    Strings Music Festival staff debrief following every performance in order to address improvements. Strings also employs professionally drafted, anonymous surveys of students, teachers, and parents and in-person meetings to evaluate Strings School Days. An example of a change in Strings School Days programming emerged from evaluations in 2020-21. We are re-establishing relationships with teachers and schools given the interruptions caused by Covid, assessing how our programs were used, and opportunities to improve use of materials. We’re discovering some teachers need to be trained in how to apply Strings School Days in classrooms, and we are planning to request time during teacher training days to make this possible.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    Our staff, Our board, Our funders,

  • How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship?

    Our experience is people appreciate when we ask for their opinions and suggestions. In 2021 as we considered how to reopen our facilities given Covid challenges and opportunities for live music, we conducted a survey of our donors to ask their opinions. We had a tremendous response with more than 33% of donors responding to our survey, providing tremendous insights into the precautions we needed to take, and advising us on messaging and marketing. We also saw an increase in giving. Engagement through feedback and learning from feedback builds partnerships and relationships and strengthens our nonprofit organization. Similarly, as we involve our patrons, donors, and community partners in problem-solving, we learn together, our programs become better, and more people participate.

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection, Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time, Our student surveys are dependent on teachers who don't have much time to administer ,


Strings Music Festival

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


Connect with nonprofit leaders


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Connect with nonprofit leaders


Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Strings Music Festival

Board of directors
as of 03/11/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. Ted Kahn

Darlinda Baldinger

Jim Bronner

Laura Cusenbary

Chris Diamond

Mary Ann Duffey

Ken Huntsman

Brad Iversen

Chris Kelley

Susan Larson

David Lund

Verne Lundquist

Scott Marr

Barbara Morrison

Phil Rodick

Craig Wasserman

Eric Wilson

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 3/11/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity


Sexual orientation


Equity strategies

Last updated: 03/11/2022

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.