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GRAND OPENING - October 7, 2016





GOAL High School: where teachers are mentors

By Tracy Harmon DEC 6, 2018

From jamming with a Grammy-award-winning musician to sewing with an accomplished seamstress, classes at the GOAL High School are anything but typical.

GOAL stands for Guided Online Academic Learning which may evoke the image of a student sitting at home in front of a computer without any human interaction. But that is far from the case.

“It is not all online - it is a truly blended school,” said Alan Van Norman, principal for the GOAL High School at 279 S. Purcell Blvd. in Pueblo West. “Kids say that the thing they like the best is the one on one learning time with their teachers.”

Teachers are not just educators, they are also mentors, he explained. Van Norman oversees the Pueblo West, Pueblo Mall, Canon City, La Junta and Lamar programs so he sees the impact the school has in Southern Colorado.

“The landscape of education has really changed. Today there are lots of alternative education opportunities,” Van Norman said.

With GOAL 90 percent of students usually have at least two at-risk factors.

“But what sets us apart in Pueblo West and Canon City is that we don’t have that many at-risk students. We have a larger portion of students who want more flexibility than a brick and mortar school can give - they are parents, they have parents at home, they have jobs or they want less social drama.

“A lot of students come here saying they have had a problem with bullying,” he explained. “Pueblo West has a pretty good spectrum of kids from all walks of life.”

GOAL launched in 2014 in Pueblo West and today has about 120 students in grades nine through 12. The school has a safe and secure location, Van Norman said, plus it caters to the students as individuals.

“We work with students individual needs and set goals for growth. We have all the programs you would expect to find from special education, to gifted and talented, to musical education and career enrichment electives. Some students get intervention to build their reading and math skills for those who are below level,” Van Norman said.

GOAL even partners with Swallows Charter Academy to offer students access to athletic programs. Swallows, “small, inclusive, family-friendly environment” is ideal for GOAL students who want to participate in sports like volleyball or baseball, he said.

A core group of 10 visiting professors, three para-professionals, a licensed counselor and Assistant Principal Jaime Bergstrom make up the staff who walk with students on their educational journey.

Among the popular classes are Carl and Melinda Lucero’s music enrichment program taught at their Perfect World studio in downtown Pueblo. Lucero, a grammy-award-winning musician, teaches recording, engineering, production, songwriting, musical theory, how to play instruments and singing.

His goal is to help students get gainful employment in the music industry. Each class culminates with a live concert.

“I see the students growing socially and emotionally through relating to each other in a way they did not know they could do. That is saying a lot as this has become a quiet social-media-influenced world for teens,” Van Norman said.

Ladoris Burton’s sewing class is another popular one for students and even more boys than girls are giving it a try, Van Norman said. “We also have a very strong early college program and our students participate in college-level courses through CSU-Pueblo and PCC. Our goal is to have every student graduate with some college credit whether it is vocational or can be applied to a four-year degree.

“That gives them a real leg up and about 60 of our graduates have also graduated with an associates degree when they get their high school diploma,” Van Norman said.

A Pueblo Community College construction technology program will be the next cutting-edge program to open up for GOAL students starting in January.

The GOAL high school is open between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, but most of the foot traffic occurs between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Van Norman said GOAL is not for everyone.

“Our students are self-driven and hold themselves accountable,” he said.

To find out more about GOAL log onto www.goalac.org or call 1-877-776-4625.

“The education choice is one of the most difficult thing a parent does. We would love for them to walk in, get a visitors pass and see what we are about,” Van Norman said.



The 'goal' is the sound of music


GOAL Academy High School students with their sights on the top 10, or at least a stage and microphone, are getting a leg, and an ear, up in the music biz.

Through an innovative partnership between GOAL and Perfect World Music Academy, 40 young men and women now have the enviable opportunity of learning the art of music-making and audio recording from the ground up.

Carl and Melinda Lucero, who returned to Pueblo to establish a state-of-the-art recording facility, teamed up with GOAL Academy so that musical doors previously closed to students, for economic or other reasons, could be swung wide open.

"We wanted a music training facility in our hometown to reach youth who wouldn't have access to music education," said Carl Lucero.

"We are committed to instilling a set of skills that will make students more valuable in the workforce and potentially pursue a career in the music business."

The Luceros' program is divided into four sectors:

Band Camp, in which students learn to play instruments and develop musical skills, even if they have no previous experience. Working, professional musicians serve as instructors.

Audio engineering and lab, an easy-to-follow but comprehensive look into the technology and techniques used for contemporary multitrack recording.

Music production and lab, a hands-on opportunity to learn how commercial music is made.

Song writing, to help develop the skills to create original songs based on groove, melody, lyric, harmony and structure.

"After just three weeks, the response has been overwhelming," Carl Lucero said. "Both students and parents we've seen around town have told us they love it.

"The kids want to be here all the time, and so do the staff. It's just a really creative environment."

Tuesday, inside the Perfect World studio, about 25 students from the blended learning academy's various campuses were hard at work on the two things that can help make or break a band.

The right name and a perfect sense of timing.

"Nah, '10 O'Clock Combo' isn't any good," came a voice from a huddle of engaged bandmates.

"And '10 O'Clock Buffet' won't make the cut, either. That's getting rejected."

In the end, VPSR, the initials of the players' first names, was selected.

Across the room, the discussions were much more colorful.

"So, we're all wearing blue today," offered one student. "So how about 'Blue Friday?' "

In the third circle, "Purple Blue Doritos" fell by the wayside as "Violet Melody" rose to the top.

Ear-catching band names in place, the students turned their attention to a much-more important facet of music-making.

A keen sense of timing and rhythm.

With a metronome keeping time, and Carl Lucero and his team of pro musicians offering direction and encouragement, a rotating bloc of bassists, guitarists, keyboardists, drummers, vocalists and even a violinist and trumpet player tackled the opening stanza of Coldplay's simple but elegant "Magic."

"Listen to the click track," Carl Lucero told the performers. "Guitarists: hit the D chord strong before going back to E. Vocalists, closer to the mics. ..."

The initial takes were, admittedly, a little rough, due in large part to tentativeness on the part of fledgling players.

But as the rehearsals progressed, so did the proficiency level, with the final go-around sounding remarkably solid and in-time.

"Three weeks ago, most of these kids had never even held an instrument," Carl Lucero said. "So you can see the progress they're making."

On both keyboards and at the microphone, Alyza Zapien was one of the key figures making music magic inside the studio.

"I'm not sure I'll pursue a career in music, but I'm very grateful GOAL has given us some kind of music program," the senior said. "I know when I left East (High School), I really was craving a music outlet.

"So I'm really happy to be here."

And that goes for the man leading the way and nodding his head in time to the beat.

"Our job is create a spark and allow them to find their fire and passion for music in a fun and safe environment," said Carl Lucero.

"And the kids are really starting to get a grasp on music and the global aspect of the industry. They're getting the full background here."


From a garage to a ?perfect world? for regional musicians-1.jpg

From a garage to a ‘perfect world’ for regional musicians

Grammy award-winning producer, and Pueblo native, Carl Lucero set to open recording studio in downtown Pueblo.

0ct 6, 2016 By John Bueno

The nuts and bolts of the production of music is an anomaly to me. It shouldn’t be, as I’ve spent the better part of the last 15 years playing in various bands and groups here in town. But whenever it came time to commit

my band’s admittedly low-grade songs to tape, there was always someone to help with the endeavor of recording and editing them for us.

These people, these wondrous angels of audio, are known as sound engineers. And they are one of many unsung heroes of modern music. Whether it be live or studio application, your favorite bands would probably sound way worse or unprofessional without an engineer’s time and knowledge.

Music production veteran and Pueblo native Carl Lucero has this particular knowledge down pat. He’s worked with too many bands to remember in a decades-long career in music.

“There’s been so many different artists and projects over the years, you know? I’ve had the chance to work with Willie Nelson, Loretta Lynn and Patty Love- less,” Lucero said. “We were fortunate in Nashville to win a Grammy with Quincy Jones and Stevie Wonder which won a Grammy in ’92. Which was re- ally a high point for us. And now we want to give back.”

Carl Lucero plans to collaborate with A-list talent as well as local musicians to help their sound flourish.

Giving back means A Perfect World, Lucero’s new music recording studio.

Set to officially open in October, A Perfect World is quite the sight to behold. The inside of the studio is top-notch and gorgeous, boasting a digital 24-track soundboard, live and isolation recording areas, and lounge facilities for artists

to hang out in until their next take. Both the inside and outside of 301 ‘C’ Street where A Perfect World now stands underwent a complete overhaul from its’ former use as a mechanics garage on ‘C’ St. But it was all a labor of love for Lucero.

“It’s been real exciting to see this place come together, but it’s also been a big step of faith on our end. We’ve invested a lot of ourselves in it,” he said. “I’ve always had studios in small office spaces, or in basements. But this is the first real commercial studio facility that was built the way I wanted to have it done. Didn’t cut corners.”

The producer also hopes the studio will function as a relaxing place for cre- atives.

“We really want people to feel at home here (in the studio),” Lucero said. “When you’re creating music or art or whatever it is, it’s important to be in a place where you feel comfortable, and we try to make it that way while peo- ple are here.”

“I grew up here in Pueblo, just piecing together whatever equipment I could and recording where I could so I could learn as much as possible,” he says of his early days of music.

Lucero also has fond memories of Pueblo’s music scene from when he was a young man.

”Back then, we used to play a lot of coffee shops. Coffee shops were the place to hang out. We’d play parks a lot. The whole scene was a lot different in the early to mid 80s. There were a few guys out there who were paid gigging dudes, playing jazz clubs, but there was kind of a gap between where guys like them were and where guys like us who were just learning were.

Studios time was also a challenge back then. “At the time, there wasn’t really anyone around who had ever done anything in a big studio that I knew of. I moved away at 17, went off to college, touring and getting to work with all sorts of major labels. So when we moved back, that was one of the biggest things I wanted to do was build my own facility that could house A standard projects, and still keep it affordable so that I could work with the community.”

Which is a word that Lucero brings back throughout our conversation. To him, community is a driving force.

“I’ve worked at several different churches in my lifetime, doing music-related things over the years. For me, it’s a natural bridge for us here. We want to help people, to bring out the best in people, and help everyone grow and be better.”

On that note, Lucero adds that A Perfect World hopes to add more to his neighbors downtown and Pueblo in general.

“Hopefully the studio can bring some attention to Pueblo as far as having a nice facility and our recording. We also want to network with larger cities for training and clinics here. Music seminars and such. There’s so many estab- lished artists here in town too that have maybe never had the right person or place to produce or record them. To really try and put them on the map. I don’t claim to know everything, but what I do know I want to offer.”

“I knew there was a real big need here for it,” he said when asked about bands here needing recording facilities.

“There is a lot of great talent here but not a lot of access to doing it with access to the industry. Now that we’ve moved back, it’s been really exciting to meet people. There is so much going on; you’ve got the Pueblo Arts Alliance, the Songbird is doing really cool stuff. But there are all these other little pockets of artists and businesses popping up. To be honest, we’re just honored to be a part of it.”

The control room couch has been called a ‘serene space for creativity’ by Lucero and others.

“We also want to try and teach what we’ve learned along the way. That’s one of the biggest staples of what we’re wanting to do here with our business,” he quickly adds. “Training and education are a big part of it. We’ve invited all of the high schools, the colleges, a lot of churches. We’d like to teach stuff like engineering and advanced engineering classes, songwriting. We’re real excited to team up here with the community.”

One of the more interesting altruistic plans for A Perfect World includes the adoption of a kids music academy based on the Jack Black comedy School of Rock.

“We want to piece young drummers together with other young guitar players and bass players and give them personal training and instruction and also training on playing with a group coming together to write original material,” Lucero said. “We then want to record the songs and bring it all together the final week of class for a showcase with all of the parents. Kind of take them from square one to live performance.”

Lucero, his wife Melinda and children were brought back to Colorado almost four years ago after living in the music mecca cities of Los Angeles and Nash- ville for years. But Lucero appreciates the change of pace in Southern Col- orado.

“It’s home for us here, you know? If anything, we’re excited at the idea of be- ing around all of this great creative energy. Pueblo has changed a lot since we lived here years ago.”

At the end of the day, Lucero hopes to repay the city that brought him up mu- sically. “We feel super privileged to be able to do what we do and now have this facility. Everyone who has stopped in so far has had nothing but positive things to say about it and they are wishing us the best.”

“Growing up here,” he adds “the first thing you think is ‘I can’t wait to get outta here,’ but a lot of the professional musicians and people we’ve met since we’ve been back here are telling everyone to move here,” he said. “And why wouldn’t they? Of course this city has its’ share of challenges, but I think that we’re on the right track, and we’re excited to be here right now.”


89-year-old fulfills lifelong musical dream by recording song in professional studio

BY JON POMPIA THE PUEBLO CHIEFTAIN Published: October 17, 2016; Last modified: October 17, 2016

Some want to fly in a hot air balloon or ride a zip line. Others ask for a family

reunion or to take in a major league sporting event.

But not Mary Ward.
She just wants to jam. Thanks to the Wish of a Lifetime, which fulfills long-held dreams of seniors, the spry 89-year-old resident of Brookdale El Camino, a runner-up in this year’s Silver Queen pageant, spent Monday afternoon, in the parlance of old school recording artists, “putting it on wax.”

At Carl Lucero’s state-of-the-art Perfect World recording studio,
Ward, acoustic guitar in hand, cut a version of a song she first learned from her mother as a young child.

Entitled “The Burglar Song,” it’s a witty, countrified ditty about a burglar who breaks into the home of an unsightly old maid and begs to be shot rather than give in to her amorous demands.
While Ward obtained a copyright on the tune years ago at the encouragement of her husband — “He told me if I didn’t then somebody else probably would” — she never had the opportunity, nor funds, to professionally record it.

But that all changed with an application to Wish of a Lifetime, submitted by Janella Sandoval, executive director of Brookdale El Camino.
“I’ve been singing all my life and even though I thought about it as a kid, I never had a chance to record anything,” Ward said. “But there’s a lot of people who want copies of my song — my kids, grandkids, lots of people at Brookdale.” While Lucero tested the levels on a trio of microphones set up to capture Ward’s voice and guitar, she ran through the song like it was nobody’s business but her own.

And the grass-roots magic wasn’t lost on Lucero, who is no stranger to recording big-timers.
“You are amazing, girl! My gosh, I can’t believe it. Seriously, I wasn’t expecting that.”

“What were you expecting?” Ward responded.
“You play better than the guys in my band ... but don’t put that in the paper,” Lucero said with a wide smile. “I work with a lot of people and I’m telling you, I love what you’re doing.”
And hopefully after hearing Ward’s record, many more will follow suit.
“I guess the lesson is never to give up on your dream,” said Ward. “I started singing when I was 8 years old and always wanted to record a song back then.

“But I sure didn’t think about it much at 89 years old!”