Did you enjoy a fun and exciting New Year's Eve? Things are a little different here in the age of COVID. Check out how Grand Junction used to rock New Year's back in 1990-1991.

It wasn't that long ago we considered ourselves lucky to get to step outside our own homes. Do you recall a time when we used to celebrate like this?

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Grand Junction Musicians Welcome the Year 1991

For your viewing pleasure, I proudly present the Junction Jazz Big Band. The photo above comes to us courtesy of the year 1990.

Setting the Scene

This photo was taken on December 31, 1990, at the Grand Ballroom at the Grand Junction Hilton. Guests at this event bought tickets to the tune of $100 each to attend this black-tie event.

No Doubt You'll Recognize Someone

Take a good look. If you grew up around Western Colorado, no doubt you'll recognize a few people in the photo. If you grew up playing in band or orchestra in School District 51, you're guaranteed to recognize at least a few people.

Do you recognize the gentlemen with dark hair sitting dead-center in the front row? That's Mick Wilson, saxophonist and music teacher from Grand Junction's West Jr. High. That's Debbie Wilson, another area music teacher, in the white shirt in the front row. In the front row, third from right is former Mesa State College Band Director Paul Schneider. In the front row is guitarist Gary Smith of Gary R. Smith Productions in Grand Junction. At far-left, you'll see retired Grand Junction firefighter Mike Gazdak on piano. Oh, and playing bass in the second row is yours truly. Regrettably, there are a few members of the band I can't identify.

Junction Jazz Big Band Grand Junction New Year 1990
Waylon Jordan / Canva

Let's Talk About Those Suits for a Minute, Shall We?

As I recall, the story goes like this: Those light-blue tuxedos were purchased from a Grand Junction area rental shop. As legend has it, the truck delivering the tuxedos to Grand Junction was involved in an accident, and the new tuxes were scattered all over the interstate. They were eventually gathered up, ultimately making their way to town. Upon arrival, the rental shop decided to get rid of the "damaged" suits and sold them to the band at a considerable discount.

Inside Info for the Younger Crowd

For those who weren't of adult age in the 90s, let me tell you, things used to be different. Every bar, restaurant, lounge, etc., would hire bands for New Year's. Everybody would go out that night. Every band in town, even the really sucky ones, would be hired to play on New Year's.

Living now in the "New Normal," it is my hope we can someday get back to this. We need reasons to celebrate. Welcoming a new year with a 17-piece big band is an excellent way to do it.

Classic Western Colorado Photos Found in a Box - Animals

Here's a short gallery featuring Robert Grant photos of Western Colorado animals. Photos were taken between the late 1940s and the late 1970s.

KEEP SCROLLING: Robert Grant Photos: Downtown Grand Junction Businesses of Yesterday

If you stop and think about it, several of the business pictured above are still up and running. Most of these photos were taken in the 1950s. Almost 70 years later, many are still going strong. Sure, some have moved to new locations, but others, Quincy's for example, are right where they've always been.

KEEP SCROLLING: Robert Grant Photos: Western Colorado Winters of the Past

Here's a short gallery of Robert Grant photos showcasing Grand Junction and Western Colorado winters. They sure are fun. Then again, sometimes the snow and cold temperatures result in trouble.

KEEP SCROLLING: Robert Grant Photos: Growers and Farmers of Western Colorado

You'll definitely recognize the surroundings. Bob Grant loved capturing Western Colorado icons in the shot. Whenever possible, he'd get Mt. Garfield in the background. If Mt. Garfield weren't available, he'd get the Bookcliffs, Grand Mesa, or even the Colorado National Monument.

KEEP SCROLLING: Robert Grant Photos: Colorado Cannery Workers from September 1947

Let's go back to Coloroado 1947 with these hard working Americans.

KEEP SCROLLING: Robert Grant Photos: Grand Junction Horses of Yesteryear

Please enjoy a number of Bob Grant photos from the Grand Valley's past. These came from a box labeled "Horse." Yep, that's it, the box was called "Horses." These were selected at random, covering a number of decades.

KEEP SCROLLING: Robert Grant Photos: Awesome Grand Junction Fashion of the Past

Here's a fashion flashback to Grand Junction, Colorado, of the 1950s, 60s, and 70s. Many of these photos appeared in Sunday inserts promoting new fashions from Downtown Grand Junction merchants.

KEEP SCROLLING: Robert Grant Photos: Random Images of Grand Junction

These 16 photos were chosen strictly at random. All photos are by Robert Grant.

KEEP SCROLLING: Robert Grant Photos: Western Colorado Winters of the 1940s and 50s

Enjoy these winter images captured from various sites around Western Colorado. All images are by Robert Grant. The majority of these shots were pulled at random from a drawer of negatives labelled "January 1949." A few others came from a neighboring file cabinet filled with thousands of Bob Grant prints.

KEEP SCROLLING: Robert Grant Photos: Life Around Grand Junction

Bob Grand photos from Grand Junction's past. People enjoying their lives as they go about their daily routine.

KEEP SCROLLING: Robert Grant Photos: Colorado's Kanarado Mine

KEEP SCROLLING: Robert Grant Photos: Beauty Pageant Contestants of Western Colorado

Behold Western Colorado's "Miss Atomic Energy" and her attendants, plopped down on a filthy pile of highly toxic uranium ore. Take a trip back in time to Grand Junction of the past with these Bob Grant photos of local beauty queens and pageant contestants.

KEEP SCROLLING: Robert Grant Photos: Grand Junction Father & Son Photos of World War I & II

The photos below are from the personal collections of father and son, James and Robert Grant. James L. Grant of Clifton served in the United States Navy during World War I. Years later, his son, Robert Grant, would serve in the United States Army in World War II.

James L. Grant served as the Postmaster of Clifton. His son, Robert, was the photographer at the Daily Sentinel from the late 1930s until his retirement in 1985. James passed away in 1971, and Robert in 2000.

KEEP SCROLLING: Robert Grant Photos: JUCO World Series of the Past

Grand Junction has hosted the Junior College World Series for close to half a century. For approximately half of those years, Bob Grant was there with his camera. He continued capturing images of the tournament until his retirement in 1985.

My dad (Bob Grant's son-in-law) went through a ton of Bob Grant negatives to dig up a few memories. Baseball fans are sure to remember many of these shots.

One of Bob Grant's most prized photos would be the first image in the gallery, the shot of the hawks at Suplizio Field. That particular shot won him an award from the Press Photographers Association.

As a Grand Junction native, I really enjoy some of the nostalgia spotted on the signs in the background. Did you see the billboard for "Mr. Steak"? If you were around Grand Junction in the 1970s, you definitely knew about "Mr. Steak."

KEEP SCROLLING: Robert Grant Photos: Random Photos of Grand Junction Residents of the 1940s

All of these images were lifted from negatives from Bob Grant's career. I have Bob's old negative cabinet at my house. It's loaded with tens of thousands of negatives, most in sleeves, some of which include information as to the contents.

KEEP SCROLLING: Robert Grant Photos: Movies Filmed in Western Colorado and Eastern Utah

Did you know some of your favorite movies from the 1950s and '60s were filmed in Western Colorado and Eastern Utah? Grand Junction photographer Bob Grant had a chance to shoot a few photos from these movie sets.

The Grand Valley's Best Holiday Light Displays for 2021

Take a look at some of the Grand Valley's best holiday lights displays below. Think your house is one of the best decorated in the neighborhood? Send it to us and you could win $500.

Light Up the Grand Valley 2020 Entrants: All the Light Up the Grand Valley Entries for 2020

During the 2020 holiday season, we asked our audience to show us their Christmas decorations. We received some great photos from the area's best-decorated houses.

The first photo in the gallery was our 2020 winner, who received $500. We're running the contest again this year, so stay tuned for more details.

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