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Graduating student tells how to make the most of local music and art events

By Sarah Kirby
On May 6, 2013

To leave or not to leave, that is the question; as a graduate student, the answer is as timeless as Hamlet's famous words, though paraphrased. Since I am writing my last story for The Mirror, do you mind if I tell you a story about a place I like to call Greeality?

My experiences have been a serendipitous display of trust, doubt, and perfect timing culminating as a piece of paper that will recognize my English M.A. from the University of Northern Colorado at 7 p.m. Friday in Butler Hancock and a resume of journalism writing and editing for The Mirror.

The diverse socioeconomic and racial factors that compose this low-key agricultural community are vast. Some, especially those students and faculty that commute into Greeley everyday from larger cities, might say Greeality is low-key and isolated, but my experience as a journalist, student, scholar and teacher in Greeley has fostered a different viewpoint.

I did not know anyone when I moved here, but I will be leaving with dear friends and fantastic memories, most of which involve the arts scene that constitutes Greeley's creative flair. With memories of Ben Pu's solo acoustic performances while drinking Crabtree's delicious beer at the Chumpkin Pumpkin, Irish Music courtesy of the Stubby Shellelaghs at Patrick's Irish Pub on Tuesday nights and big band performances by UNC jazz students in the park, I believe no one can say that Greeley does not provide opportunities for students and community members to relax after a long workday and be entertained.   On any average given day, one can stop by the Blue Mug @Margies and admire the many local artists on display while getting a latte or start random conversation with another Weld County resident during a sun-soaked afternoon on Cheeba Hut's porch.

These are the opportunities that offer the potential for Greeleyites to morph everyday into a new story, a day of new observations. Not only is it possible to find a new glimmer of Greeley that is distinctly their own Greality, but also there is the chance to conduct a personal interview with that moment in time, with the people, places, and atmospheres that make that moment memorable.

Sure, one could argue that moments like these could be found in any city at any time, which brings me to the phrase that sums up my graduate school revolutionary wisdom: I enjoyed being in Greeley because I made a point to not just live in Greeley, but instead to be a part of the Greeley community. I got to know the locals, volunteered at Zoe's coffee shop and most importantly, I lived spherically, in many different directions, so that I could experience living in many different ways.

By doing so, my pains upon leaving all of the wonderful people that I have met is lessened because I realize that happiness is not about leaving or arriving. It is not about passing or failing. No, happiness is in the choice to be or not to be. When one is being aware of one's blessings in their environment, one can be at home in any environment, and I am comforted by this fact as I venture toward unknown plans. 

By the way fellow Greeleyities-the blooming art scene in Greeley made my Greeality a blessing in disguise, so I encourage you to give being a part of the Greeley community a shot, especially if your current dilemma every weekend is to leave or not to leave.

- Sarah Kirby is a post-graduate English major and former arts & entertainment editor for The Mirror. She can be contacted at

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