Merna Lewis coming home to the SLV with Nashville's Gone With the West

JULY 21, 2023

Special performance is set for July 26 at Society Hall!

Society Hall is excited to welcome back to the Valley Merna Lewis with her new Nashville-based all-star western band Gone With the West, in concert at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 26.


Canvas Rebel

NOVEMBER 17, 2022

We were lucky to catch up with Merna Lewis recently and have shared our conversation below.

Hi Merna, thanks for joining us today. Can you talk to us about a project that’s meant a lot to you?
People ask this a lot, and my mind always trails back to getting to perform for our troops. A good friend of mine, Judi, asked me to play in her band, Wild Gypsy for a few tours for AAFES (Army & Air Force Exchange Service) and the USO (United Service Organizations) to perform for the American troops. We traveled to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; Andros Island, Bahamas; Thule, Greenland (twice!); and a tour through Italy, Spain and Germany. These have by far been the most meaningful tours I’ve been on because they are the most captivating audience. They really get into the music and have a good time. We played for some the night before they were shipping off – on Christmas Eve. That was a special one – I felt like playing for them was my way of giving back and saying, ‘Thanks!’ My favorite still is when we finished our show, we opened up the band stage for anyone to get up and sing/play in a live-band karaoke setting. In Greenland, we stayed up until the sun went down – yep – we were there twice for their festivals of first night and first light – 24 hours of darkness/light. Pajama party and all!

nashville voyager conversation with merna lewis


APRIL 18, 2022 

Hi Merna, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself. 

I am a Colorado native with a rich musical heritage, following in the footsteps of my Grandmother Marie Bond Riggenbach, a violin virtuoso; The Juilliard School of Music graduate and teacher of violins at the Brearley School for Girls in New York City, and founder of Riggenbach School of Music in Alamosa, CO, and my late Aunt Bettie Freel. I began taking fiddle lessons at the age of 7 from my aunt Bettie Freel, a well-known musician, and music teacher in the San Luis Valley. She taught me traditional fiddle and bluegrass tunes and a little bit of classical technique.

Where the South Still Sings

By Mark Settle / June 30, 2021

With live music seven nights a week and the hospitality you’d expect from Nashville, the Grand Ole RV Resort is both a campground and destination for Music City travelers. 



The Becoming of The Barefoot Fiddler


The Human Interest Story

Interview by Amy Nicole Tangel 


Stories of musicians and their struggles to keep the music alive during the pandemic are countless, but as the fog starts to lift, glimpses of hope are shining through and a fiddler player in Nashville is not only persevering in her career, she is carrying on a family legacy.