Composer and conductor Steven Paxton, former faculty of the contemporary music program at the recently closed Santa Fe University of Art and Design, now coordinates the concert series at the historic San Miguel Mission (401 Old Santa Fe Trail, 983-3974). Paxton brings a more eclectic sound to the series, expanding from almost exclusively classical music to bring in more singer-songwriters, world music and jazz. This week sees Son of Town Hall on Thursday (7:30 pm. $15-$18) and Marty Regan on Friday (7 pm. $15).

This space is allegedly the oldest church in the continental United States. How does the space and its history affect the concerts that go on here?

I don't know that they affect them a lot except that musicians and audiences, when they come to a concert or come to give a concert, they've got more to do than just music. They've got this sort of environment and statues and paintings and vigas and carved wood and things. There's just more sensory input and more of an aura to it, rather than just coming to play music. It just makes it a more unique experience for the musicians. I don't know if that changes the way they play; I doubt if it does. It just makes the experience a little more interesting.

You worked at the Santa Fe University of Art and Design, which recently closed. Do you think that the closing has affected the Santa Fe arts scene more broadly, or will affect it as it sinks in a little more?

I couldn't say. There are so many of our former students who are working as artists, as musicians, working in arts organizations all over town, and they already were, and they still are. A lot of the younger ones have had to move away, so I just think there's not the crop of new young musicians—some of whom will stay in Santa Fe—because that whole group had to leave. But as far as affecting the environment currently, I don't know that it has very much.

What's your ideal vision for the series and how it serves the community around here?

Ideally that it's an affordable, convenient place for local musicians to perform. There aren't that many places that they can afford to either rent or put on concerts. And it needs to be an interesting enough place that they can attract an audience and people can come and they can actually generate some income for the musicians. So I really see the goal as to be a home base for a lot of Santa Fe musicians, and to be able to also bring in some musicians that are on tour. But it's really important to know that the primary goal of the building, it's a historical site, and it's also a place of worship. So the primary goals are to support the preservation of the building itself, and also to support the students at St. Michael's High School, because the high school is actually the caretaker of the building. My personal goals are secondary to that.