Kate Perdoni Is a Local Creative Force

The local PBS producer, TV host, musician, artist, writer and more seemingly always has something new in the works.

Kate Perdoni has always had a big imagination. As a young child, the future journalist scrawled answers to imaginary inquiries asked in invisible interviews. Today Perdoni is here in the Pikes Peak region as an Emmy-nominated producer and director with Rocky Mountain PBS, co-hosting the weekly statewide program Arts District and creating an assortment of relevant cultural content. “I’ve always been a writer and media creator … and a musician,” Perdoni says. “My love of the arts was nurtured while growing up.”

Her childhood was spent building forts in the forest in Pennsylvania’s Bucks County, then roaming the organic vegetable farm in rural Minnesota, where her family moved when she was 8. “I was often alone,” Perdoni says. “There was silence to read, reflect, play music, write songs, poems … and simply listen. In Minnesota, there was space for nurturing an inner world.”

In the Land of 10,000 Lakes, Perdoni was not only a farmer, but also a “veterinarian, machinist, meteorologist, agronomist, botanist, cook, housekeeper and fortune-teller.” She says, “I learned to do impossible things.… Farm kids are trained for resilience and perseverance.”

Perdoni began college early at age 16 and changed schools three times in seven years, intermittently leaving to pursue music and art opportunities — most often to tour with a band. She changed her focus from English to theater to music, eventually earning a degree in journalism and communications, which she’s put to good use.

“I love every aspect of media,” Perdoni confesses. “Our department is dynamic, thorough, engaged and incredibly talented … an endeavor I’m proud to contribute to.”

Kate Perdoni plays Red Rocks with Spirettes
Kate Perdoni plays Red Rocks with her band Spirettes. Photo by Brian Tryon.

With Rocky Mountain PBS offices in Colorado Springs, Denver, Grand Junction, Durango and Pueblo, Perdoni’s work reaches and serves communities across Colorado. “Rocky Mountain Public Media is very lucky to have Kate,” says Amanda Mountain, president and CEO. “She isn’t on the sidelines reporting from afar — she’s in it: community-builder, artist, storyteller, mom and neighbor. Her vantage point, as an engaged member of our community, makes her [great] at her job. She understands the issues at an intimate level.”

Beyond her journalistic efforts, Perdoni is an artist, musician and songwriter — most notably with the five-piece girl group Spirettes. Their style is often described as “shoegaze” or “dream pop,” a subgenre of alternative rock that emerged in the ‘80s with bands like Slowdive, the Cocteau Twins and My Bloody Valentine, and experienced a nuanced revival in the 2010s with artists including DIIV, Beach Fossils and Wild Nothing.

Spirettes has been recognized by the Westword Music Awards and NPR, and the band has performed at both Red Rocks and the main stage of Denver’s Underground Music Showcase. They have released two EPs, one as a trio in 2017, the other as a five-piece in 2019. The band frequently performed at Lulu’s Downstairs in Manitou Springs prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Perdoni started playing bluegrass and folk at a young age, exploring additional genres as years went by. “I like painting soundscapes and layers with different textures and qualities inspired by varied sources,” she says.

Kate Perdoni and Spirettes play live
Kate Perdoni and Spirettes. Photo by Julianna Photography.

Spirettes formed when Perdoni connected with multi-instrumentalist Kellie Palmblad and discovered immediate synergy. The two joined forces in 2015, blending tastes, styles and aesthetics with reverb-heavy, atmospheric acoustics. Perdoni’s work was accentuated by Palmblad’s composition. “It was exciting when Kellie and I played together.… Something magical occurred,” Perdoni says. “I would follow Kellie to the ends of the earth.”

Originally named Katey Sleeveless, the musical troupe began as a trio that relied on drummer Emily Gould as their backbone. The ethereal, guitar-driven rock, supported with pop structures and ghostly vocals, garnered acclaim, and the band added two additional members: Lisa Show on cello and Rachael Michaels, a multi-instrumentalist with years of experience on bass. Together the five created Spirettes’ signature sound.

“Kate is a legend,” says Denver-based dream-rock artist Esmé Patterson. “I heard about her long before we met, always in reverent tones. I have a deep respect for her and worship her style and skill. Kate is a truly creative, curious person to her core — an inspiration and joy to all who come across her.”

Outside of PBS and Spirettes, Perdoni — a mother, herself — makes a self-published, parenting and family zine (mini-magazine) called Mamá Liberada. “I love zines, literature and putting things together with my hands,” she says. “I ask friends to contribute poems, recipes, essays, comics, advice and photographs.”

She has contributed articles to Springs magazine as well. And the Renaissance woman also has other creative projects in the works. “I’m working with DeLane Bredvik on an installation piece involving frequency and sound bath, and Brian Elyo on an ongoing collaboration of textural sound-making,” Perdoni says.

There’s no shortage of ventures for Perdoni, but she expresses uncertainty about any timeline for returning to live Spirettes shows. “I don’t know when, or how, live performance will commence again,” she says. “To imagine things as returning unabashedly to the way they were before feels like a denial of our current reality.”

In the meantime, Perdoni is branching into new musical territory, working on her first solo music in nearly a decade. “I plan to release those songs this year — probably one at a time as it strikes me,” she says.

Perdoni’s creative energy will continue to flow.

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