Manning mangles music manfully

Column by Penny Parker


We can only hope he keeps his day job, but Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning diverted from the playbook and took the stage with country-western singer Luke Bryan during the April 27 Celebration of Caring Gala in Indianapolis, which benefits that city's Peyton Manning Children's Hospital.

Manning, who played 14 seasons as the Indianapolis Colts quarterback, attended the event to show support for the hospital that bears his name. And although Manning looked far less comfortable on the stage than he does on the gridiron, he was a good sport by joining Bryan, this year's Academy of Country Awards entertainer of the year, in a “rendition” of Johnny Cash's “Folsom Prison Blues” and Waylon Jennings' “Luckenbach, Texas.” Check out the melodically challenged Manning's duet at:

Judicial notice

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor dined at Benny's Restaurant and Tequila Bar (nice choice!) in Capitol Hill on May 1. Sotomayor was in town to attend the opening ceremony of the new Ralph L. Carr Justice Center downtown on May 2.

Get happy

USA Today has come up with its top 10 list of happy hours at high-end restaurant chains across the country. Many of the top 10-ers have outposts in the metro area, with McCormick & Schmick's logging in at No. 1.

Check out the entire list at

Think pink

Adam Vance, Elway's Cherry Creek sommelier, needs your help choosing pink wines to put on the summer menu. Join Adam on the Elway's patio to taste and evaluate more than 30 rose wines from France, Spain, Austria, California, Italy and Greece that are under consideration for a summer rose flight on the Elway's wine list.

The event, from 6 to 8 p.m. May 29, costs $35 per person including tax and tip.

Chef Tyler Wiard also will prepare light hors d'oeuvres to enjoy during the sip soiree. For reservations, call Lara at 303-399-7616.

Train drives gala's engine

A group that deserves the limelight on stage, Train, headlined NightShine, a benefit for Denver Health Foundation on April 27 at the National Western Events Center.

After the presentations and recognitions were over — including the 2013 Denver Health Stars award-winners James Q. Crowe (Level 3 CEO) and Pamela Crowe — Train lead singer Pat Monahan engineered the popular band through hits such as “Calling All Angels,” “Drops of Jupiter (Tell Me)” and fan favorite “Drive By.”

But this was no ordinary, roped-off, don't-block-the-aisles affair; rather Monahan encouraged a stampede of gowned gals who didn't hesitate to swarm the stage. No doubt the best concert at a gala that I've ever seen.

I spotted music man Chuck Morris in the well-heeled crowd. I'm thinking he “steered” Train into making tracks to the Denver event.

Baby steps

Bob Bonner, the Denver-based director of operations for Richard Sandoval Restaurants, and his wife, Marj, welcomed their first child, Oliver, into the world at 6:49 p.m. April 28 at St. Joseph Hospital.

Baby “Ollie” weighed in at 8.3 pounds and measured 19.5 inches long. Congrats to the new family!

Also on the baby boom, Elway's executive chef Tyler Wiard and his wife, Jennifer, are expecting their second child on July 18. They knew ahead of time that their first — who's now 2 years old — would be a girl, but the couple opted to have the second child's gender kept as a surprise.

Congrats ahead of time to them!

Broncos' Decker visits school

Swanson Elementary School in Arvada got a special visitor — Broncos wide receiver Eric Decker — as a reward for the school's wellness program. Decker visited the school on April 19 as part of the Fuel Up to Play 60 program, founded by the National Football League and the National Dairy Council. Fuel Up to Play 60 is geared to help kids and schools support health and wellness.

Swanson fourth-grade teacher Valerie Cordova sponsored the after-school wellness club, which is in its third year. Decker's visit was a reward for the program's success. Principal Carla Endsley says student behavior also has improved because of the wellness program. Endsley says the club is run by students and they set a variety of healthy initiatives for students throughout the year and provide announcements about eating healthy and exercising each day. Cordova was chosen as FUTP60's Teacher Advisor of the Year.

Golf fair set for girls

Parents and girls, ages 5-17, are invited to the Golf Fair from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. on Saturday, May 11 at CommonGround Golf Course in Aurora.

Peter “King of Clubs” Longo will be featured in a trick-shot exhibition from 12:15-1 p.m. The free event also will include family golf instruction, education on the rules of golf and etiquette, lunch and nutrition information, fitness activities, a photo with the Solheim Cup, crafts and games.

This event is sponsored by GolfTEC, Colorado Section PGA, Girl Power Golf, Titleist, CWGA, CGA, Tracey Lynn, TaylorMade, Experience Golf, LPGA-USGA Girls Golf, LPGA, Rocky Mountain Sunscreen, Sassy Golf and The First Tee of Green Valley Ranch.

The Solheim Cup, a competition between the best American and European female golfers, will be played August 13-18 at Colorado Golf Club in Parker. For more information and tickets to the Solheim Cup, visit

Farewell to Fey

I was invited to attend Denver music icon Barry Fey's funeral on April 30, where nearly 200 of his friends and family gathered within a few hours' notice to honor the man who really put this town on the music map.

The service, held at Feldman Mortuary at 17th and York, was a standing-room-only event, as Barry would have loved. His sons gave testimony in honor of the father who was complicated and imperfect yet a profound influence on each of their lives.

After the service, Patty Calhoun, Wendy Aiello and I thought it would be apropos to raise a glass to Barry at Strings, which was also seeing its end that evening, but we were turned away because the restaurant was readying for the auction and cocktail party later that night.

It was an ironic moment because I could never imagine Strings owner and founder Noel Cunningham ever turning away anyone.

Instead, we drove over to another Denver institution — the 17th Avenue Grill. There, we ordered martinis with bleu cheese olives (sparkling wine for Calhoun) and toasted our fallen friend who didn't drink.

Monumental plan

Opie Gone Bad lead singer Jake Schroeder has been leading the effort to have a statue of late music promoter Barry Fey placed at Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Here's what Schroeder told me:

“I reached out to Geoff Fey and asked him for his blessing in moving forward. I told him to take his time and get back to me when things calm down a bit. I figure if they're good then I'll just coordinate getting artists to submit to the family and I'll try to raise the money and lead the unavoidable battle against the (Denver) parks department to get it done.

“I knew Barry enough to say hello, but that was about it. He never booked my band, or had anything to do with it, really. I just think he helped create an environment in Denver that allowed me to grow up seeing the best concerts in the world and allowed me to have a 25-year career (so far) playing music here. He should have a huge statue at Red Rocks. I think it would even be cool to have it backstage in the wings, so all the famous artists that play there forever would know why they're there.”

If you'd like to donate to Schroeder's effort, you can email him at

Penny Parker's “Mile High Life” column gives insights into the best events, restaurants, businesses, parties and people throughout the metro area. Parker also writes for You can subscribe and read her columns (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) at She can be reached at or at 303-619-5209.


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