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Old 03-07-2012, 08:08 AM
 
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My husband and I, both Arizona natives, are looking to possibly relocate our family of four to Colorado. I absolutely LOVE Ouray. I have been visiting there since I was a kid but it is just too much snow for me. So, I have been looking into both Canon City and Westcliffe. It appears that the winter weather is a bit more mild in these areas. Is that correct? Outside of the weather, however, I need some info on the schools. My daughter will be going into 7th grade and is currently in the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra in AZ. Are the schools good and do they offer orchestra? Are there youth orchestra opportunities in or close to Canon City or Westcliffe? My son will be going into 5th grade and is playing classical guitar. That is a little more mobile then my daughters situation. Any advice is appreciated!

Thanks
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Old 03-07-2012, 08:19 AM
 
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I hope you don't need a local job capable of supporting your family. They are practically non-existent in Westcliffe and not exactly growing on trees in Cañon City. Statewide, rural Colorado schools are pretty mired in fiscal crisis. Sadly, arts and music are usually the first things that get cut back when budgets get tight. If fuel prices go where they are predicted to this summer, the Colorado economy is going to get MUCH worse, so the way things are today may be the best that we can hope for, and that is not exactly great right now.
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Old 03-07-2012, 09:05 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KANichols View Post
My husband and I, both Arizona natives, are looking to possibly relocate our family of four to Colorado. I absolutely LOVE Ouray. I have been visiting there since I was a kid but it is just too much snow for me. So, I have been looking into both Canon City and Westcliffe. It appears that the winter weather is a bit more mild in these areas. Is that correct? Outside of the weather, however, I need some info on the schools. My daughter will be going into 7th grade and is currently in the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra in AZ. Are the schools good and do they offer orchestra? Are there youth orchestra opportunities in or close to Canon City or Westcliffe? My son will be going into 5th grade and is playing classical guitar. That is a little more mobile then my daughters situation. Any advice is appreciated!

Thanks
Westcliffe is a tiny town of a couple of hundred people and you could throw a football from one side of town to the other, Canon City is more of a bigger town, but I'm guessing there would not be much going on musically there in the schools.

I think you are doing like a lot of people do and looking at these places like a tourist and not really taking into consideration how small they really are.

Both of those places are drier than higher elevations, but it's still going to cold and especially in Westcliffe, they get plenty of winter weather, cold temps and wind.
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Old 03-07-2012, 10:48 AM
 
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Wink Ouray versus Cañon City and Westcliffe

Money aside, which of course often is not a given, you'll find both Westcliffe and Cañon City rather different from Ouray.

To begin with, neither is much of a tourist town, at least nowhere to the extent that Ouray is. That can be a plus or minus depending on how you look at it, but in consequence the general ambiance and also related services will be different. Being appreciably larger, Cañon City will offer more services, but not geared as much in the same direction. Westcliffe is more like Ouray in size, but may feel even more remote, not a great deal in the way of tourism, and with a limited selection of basic services in town.

I've no idea on the availability or excellence of youth orchestras, but if you are serious about such things you'll almost certainly have far better options in one of the larger towns along the front range. Maybe Pueblo, but think Colorado Springs north to Fort Collins. Much the same applies to most other facets of like, where they pertain to culture and overall services, not to mention just finding a job. The best reason to live in a place like Westcliffe or Ouray is because you can, and, in no small measure, are also willing to make all the compromises that their size and remoteness will engender.

Cañon City is not much like the other two. It is larger and, if nice enough, not in as beautiful a setting. It is said to be favored in part due its milder weather in relation to much of the rest of the state, and that would certainly include Westcliffe, where winter is more of a certainty. If seriously considering Cañon City, look into some of the ongoing pollution problems in town.

Granted, Ouray isn't close to a whole lot, other than a lot of lovely nature. But if Westcliffe's location is not as confined, or striking, beautiful, and also a good distance removed from all else. One would have to, or should, consider if the local services, society, and so forth, would prove sufficient in their estimation on a daily basis. Excursions elsewhere, to Pueblo, or even Cañon City, will prove a long drive one will not want to be making very often. Not unless you like a lot of driving. Or just compelled to do so, and then with the question of which of the two places you really should be living in.
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Old 03-07-2012, 12:09 PM
 
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You won't find anything for classical guitar or an orchestral program in small towns like you list, I echo Idunn and suggest you look at Pueblo, Colorado Springs, and points north.

If you go to the Custer County school website, you'd find something that is very similar to many school districts throughout more rural Colorado- the school appears to share teachers, with small resources, the band teacher, for example, is at the high school and middle school. They do not offer orchestra in Westcliffe or Silver Cliff.

Canon City schools do not have a website easily navigable for me... it appears that at least for the Harrison K-8 school, they do not have a music program. I cannot speak to Canon City middle school.


Living in the bigger cities does not mean that the rest of Colorado is withheld from you; in fact, I'd put out there that you'd still enjoy the places you visit as a tourist, instead of moving there and being disillusioned for the reality, as the reality of moving out to a small town in Colorado is pretty harsh. As is moving to a larger city as well. (And it's certainly not an only-Colorado thing, naturally)
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Old 03-08-2012, 11:44 AM
 
Location: Colorado
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You won't find any orchestras in Canon City or Westcliff. The closest thing the local schools have are "bands". The middle and highschool marching bands are popular activities for the teensies. And you may luck out on classical guitar - there are a good number of artisans and muscians in Canon City and many give lessons. I know some dulcimer (sp?) fanatics locally.

It is also possible to bring your kids to lessons/activities in either Pueblo or Colorado Springs since they are both 45 min drive from Canon City.

You'll have to go and visit any of these places... the towns are all quite unique in their own speacial ways.
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Old 03-16-2012, 05:37 PM
 
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I'm not from Colorado, but we have been looking close to Ouray because of a job opportunity for my husband. Have you looked at Montrose? It is close to Ouray, and maybe better weather (it is only 200 feet higher than where we are in Arizona; it gets cold at night here [5100 ft], but doesn't snow that often--I'm thinking it will be similar in Montrose). It isn't far away from Ouray and seems well located to get to a great number of awesome outdoor adventures.

I haven't looked into the schools since we homeschool, but I did get a listing of music teachers from the Chamber and there are quite a few. We have been looking at houses on Zillow and there are a number in our price range and many foreclosures. A lot of the houses in the "suburbs" look very up-to-date and nice. We have been trying to look either out of town or in the middle of town, and it hasn't been the best, but not horrible.

Of course, we are coming from a town of 500, so what I may see as great opportunities may differ from yours!
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