Russick SMith

Russick Smith is a cellist and multi-instrumentalist who walks between sentimental acoustic arrangements and modern electronic landscapes drawing inspiration from artists such as Air, Tin Hat Trio, and Edgar Meyer. In his live performances, Smith moves from soloist to orchestra when he begins to layer his cello to create ethereal atmospheres, augmenting those layers using mandolin, concertina, glockenspiel, guitar, and bass, then moving beyond looping to present more complex, genre-bending compositions.

He has performed twice for the Governor of Colorado, heads of both the National Endowment for the Arts and Americans for the Arts, and acclaimed cellist Yo-Yo Ma. In 2016, Smith was awarded “Best in Class” at the 2016 Vertex Musical Championships and winner of 2017 Breck’s Got Talent. He has additionally appeared as Timekeeper with The Moth Mainstage, as presenter at the Colorado Music Convergence, been featured on KDVR Denver’s “Everyday” show, and been hailed by the Denver Post as a “don’t-miss promise” for his performances with his “ultra-unique” group Tree-o.

Elevating music to new heights, Tree-o features three musicians — cellist Russick Smith, violinist Karen Lauffer, and mandolinist Kevin Larkin – who hold concerts in the forest, high among the pine boughs and branches. They perform original 'Campfire Classical' melodies while perched in the trees. Tree-o strives to make chamber-folk music a whimsical yet powerful experience that brings together people of all ages and from all walks of life. The members of Tree-O enjoy performing in an unexpected location, which amplifies the magical experience of live music performance. In addition to connecting to other music appreciators, people who attend Tree-O performances have the opportunity to connect to and appreciate Mother Nature. 


Kevin Larkin is a composer, performer, producer, educator and a founding member of Denver-based music collective Chimney Choir. His work often explores the intersection of the organic and digital sides of sound, incorporating manipulated field recordings and processed acoustic sources. With Chimney Choir he has written two original ballets for contemporary dance company Wonderbound, arranged and performed with the Colorado Symphony, performed at Ted-X Boulder, and conceived and performed numerous immersive musical experiences including 2016’s (dream) show in collaboration with Colorado Public Radio. The band was also asked to lead Colorado Creative Industries 2015 Detour project, which featured performances and songwriting workshops in communities across the state. 


He has released two solo albums under the name Pineross and composes ambient/sound collage music under the moniker Aamateur Aastronomy. He has collaborated with filmmakers, dancers, environmentalists, songwriters, and poets. As an educator he has taught mandolin, guitar, computer production and early childhood music education along with performing in schools through the Think360 Arts program. When not working on music, you can usually find Kevin in a hammock somewhere off of 285 searching for Yetis.

 A violin performance by Karen Lauffer is one you will not soon forget. Her charm, and deep emotional nature draws listeners in and helps them transcend from the every-day experience into a more soulful plane. She has been classically trained, but has a great appreciation of folk music, so both of these styles influence her playing. She is the electric violinist for Cirque Dreams, the Broadway division of Cirque du Soliel. A great improviser, she has performed with a number of Colorado-based bands such as The Dollhouse Thieves, Delilah’s Revenge, Angus Mohr, among many others. Karen also plays viola in the Mile High String Quartet, a group that plays corporate events and weddings across Colorado.


A music educator at heart, Ms. Lauffer runs Silver Strings Academy, a Suzuki-based music school that offers fiddle, violin, viola, cello, and piano lessons. Karen has a Masters of Music in Violin Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Before moving to Colorado, Ms. Lauffer was a member of the York Symphony Orchestra. This group performed with world-renowned soloists such as Joshua Bell, Christopher Riley, and Nadia Solerno-Sonnenberg. If she's not making music in a tree, Karen can usually be found riding her bike up a mountain.

Karen Lauffer