Mountain Madrigal Singers bring sounds of Christmas season
For many in the Glenwood Springs region, the Christmas season begins with the familiar melodies and intricate harmonies of traditional Christmas music being sung by a choir.
It is perhaps for this reason that the Mountain Madrigal Singers, now in its 39th season of providing Christmas-themed concerts, has become such a popular part of the Christmas season in Glenwood.
The all-volunteer choir will perform its first of four concerts tonight at the Glenwood Church of Christ starting at 7:30 p.m., then will give a matinee performance at 2:30 p.m. Sunday before finishing its season with 7:30 p.m. performances Dec. 14 and 15.
This year’s theme, “Sounds of Bethlehem Joy,” hints at program pieces like “The News in Bethlehem Town,” a men’s piece called “Bethlehem Spiritual,” and of course, “Bethlehem Joy.” But the choir will also perform more familiar songs like the madrigal “We Three Kings,” as well as a medley called “Jolly Jingle Christmas” that includes everything from “Deck the Halls” to “O Christmas Tree,” “Jingle Bells” and “Jolly Old St. Nicholas.”
“We’ll run the gamut from traditional a cappella pieces to group pieces with musicians — we have drums, guitar, bass and two pianists, one of whom also plays violin, cello and harp,” said Cliff Keen, who is in his 20th season with the Mountain Madrigal Singers.
Keen said that the choir begins rehearsing once a week starting in August, which gives its singers ample time to meet the choir’s goal of memorizing every song they will perform.
“It really makes the performance much better,” Keen said. “If (director Laura Porterfield) changes direction we can change with her.
“It makes the songs much better, and we have a lot more fun because we are able to throw in some choreography.”
The concerts generally fill up, Keen said, so it’s a good idea to arrive early.
“We have people that come in from other parts of the country that came to our concert (the first time) by accident to spend time with their family,” he said. “And now they’ve changed their schedules to come and visit their family when we’re doing our concerts, just so they can hear us sing.”
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