Symphony in the Valley teams up with five choirs to present a choral festival |

Symphony in the Valley teams up with five choirs to present a choral festival

RIFLE AND GLENWOOD SPRINGS — Hundreds of Western Slope musicians will be showcased this weekend in the collaborative Holiday Choral Festival.

The Symphony in the Valley and college and high school choirs will join together for two performances of live Christmas music in Rifle and Glenwood Springs.

“Two things really stand out about these concerts: the big choral effect, with a combination of unison, four-part harmonies, and even eight-part harmonies in the various pieces and a great diversity of musical selections, ranging from jolly snow-days favorites including “Sleigh Ride,” “White Christmas” and such, to the big, deep sound of orchestra-plus-chorus,” said Steve Smith, Symphony in the Valley orchestra manager.

The Holiday Choral Festival is a first-ever collaboration between the all-volunteer symphony and five local high school and college choirs. More than 100 singers from the Colorado Mesa University Chamber Choir, varsity choirs from Rifle and Coal Ridge high schools, and concert choirs from Glenwood Springs and Roaring Fork high schools, along with 45 orchestra musicians will perform.

“In addition to the wonderful music these singers bring, they will add some splashes of color to the stage with their school-colors concert uniforms,” Smith said. “The best part of this particular cycle is the coordination of so many talented musicians — orchestra and choirs — into performances with integrated musical depth. Everyone is feeling a real sense of momentum and revival for live, local, classical music.”

Smith said audiences will enjoy the traditional tunes of annual Christmas concerts, with a twist.

“They will love ‘Sleigh Ride,’ with its lively rhythms and snappy percussion tricks. I also believe that they will be amazed by the sweet piece, ‘Still, Still, Still,’ which features only strings, harp and 24 voices,” he said. “The big splash, of course, will be the pieces powerfully and richly performed by 150 musicians [orchestra plus choir] on stage at once.”

The volunteer aspect of the musical event in bringing professional music to the community illustrates the giving spirit of the season, Smith said.

“This is an all-volunteer local ensemble, with every player motivated by their musical talent, their love of performing, and their sense that the symphony and its collaborators add an important dimension to local cultural opportunities,” he said.

The Holiday Choral Festival concerts take place at 7:30 p.m. at Rifle High School on Friday, Dec. 6, and Glenwood Springs High School on Saturday, Dec. 7. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 youth 3-18, and $30 for families. Music students are admitted free.

— April E. Clark

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