GLENWOOD SPRINGS — For Mountain Madrigals vocalist Shannon Foster, the group’s popular Christmas concerts have been on her mind since summer.
“I was listening to our songs in the car with the window down while parked in a parking lot. The stereo was pretty loud, and there was some song about Santa and his reindeer playing,” Foster said. “This lady walked by my car and totally stopped cold and did a double take.”
Foster said the confused passer-by looked at her, shaking her head quizzically.
“She then asked me if I was seriously listening to Christmas music in August,” Foster said. “I proudly said, ‘Yep, I’m in the Mountain Madrigals, so we start practicing in the summer.’ She got excited and said, ‘Oh! I see that concert. You guys are great. Have fun listening to Christmas music, and I’ll see you at Christmas.’”
Foster hopes to see the stranger this weekend with her group of professional holiday carolers at the Mountain Madrigals holiday concerts titled “Share the Joy.” The performances take place from 7:30-9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, Friday, Dec. 13, and Sunday, Dec. 15; 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8; with a 10 a.m. church service concert, Sunday, Dec. 15, at the First United Methodist Church, 824 Cooper Ave.
“That made me smile that I’m a Mountain Madrigal,” Foster said.
She also recalled when another stranger came up to her to express her appreciation for the annual holiday concerts.
“She approached me like we were long-lost best friends,” Foster said. “After a moment of me feeling confused as to who this person was and her acting like she knew me very well, she paused and said, “How do I know you?’” It took a few minutes, and I mentioned I sing with this choir and she said, “Oh, that’s it. I’ve been spending Christmas with you every year for years now.”
Foster said the experience helped her realize there is a community of people that spend the holidays the Madrigals that they don’t know personally.
“The smile on her face was priceless,” she said. “So you know, if we can make people smile and make their holiday happy then yay us.”
Mountain Madrigal Mary Lamb has been singing as a soprano with the group for 14 years. She has many fond memories of ringing in the holidays with her tight-knit vocalist friends. She remembered a funny story when one of the female singers was locked in the upstairs bathroom when the door handle fell off, right before a concert.
“No one could figure out where she was, so finally Steve [Shute] and a couple other guys discovered where she was and had to get a ladder and help her climb out the window,” Lamb said. “She was wearing this red sequined halter dress. She made it on stage with her usual big smile. No one knew it had happened until later. Wish we had a picture of that one.”
In the past three years, Madrigal Debbie Lundin has already made many fond memories singing in the Christmas concerts.
“I find that it is really hard to be in a bad mood when you’re singing. I believe it raises happy endorphins,” she said. “Holiday songs are usually very uplifting, too. I like to think that with our performances we are raising endorphins for people in the audience, too.”
Lundin said singing and playing guitar for audiences in last year’s events stick out in her mind.
“I had always dreamed of doing it, but have a huge performance anxiety that holds me back,” she said. “We are all pretty different, yet drawn together by a love of music.”
Erin Wiencek is celebrating her 27th season singing with the Madrigals. She said the group definitely knows how to celebrate the festive season with joy.
“I can tell you that I love the camaraderie of the group and all the laughing that we do,” she said. “I enjoy our group of people, the music and being a ham on stage. I also enjoy continually educating myself in vocal music.”
Madrigal Stephanie Maurice, who has sung with the group for 10 years, agreed. She said the “camaraderie and sheer level of talent” has been inspirational for her as a vocalist.
“The group is such a family, even when you are a new member coming in, you are so welcome, and it doesn’t take long to realize you’ve found something great,” she said. “The artistic quality of the group is just outstanding. It’s a pleasure to sit amongst a group of people and be blessed by simply listening.”
Maurice said she is excited each year as the Mountain Madrigals produce a new show that have been a community tradition since the group formed in 1981.
“I appreciate the mix of music we produce every year. There’s something marvelous about traditional and silly songs alike,” she said. “However, I never feel quite so fulfilled as when singing a sumptuous, full, beautiful piece of music. Every year we have one or two songs that just make my heart sigh in bliss.”