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A Night at the Symphony

This was no ordinary night at the symphony.

But one should expect the unusual when the Rockettes, a dance company, and 70 musicians share a stage along with one uninvited guest who insisted on an appearance.

The Symphony of the Valley, now in its twelfth year, joined forces with the Danse Arts Theatre Company, a nonprofit professional Dance Troupe of the Glenwood Dance Academy on December 2 to perform excerpts from the Nutcracker at the Glenwood Springs High School Auditorium.



“Glenwood is one of three communities on the Western slope with an orchestra and a ballet company,” Concertmaster Lori Andrews said.

“We’re lucky, they’re lucky,” she said of the marriage of music and dance.



Actually, everyone is lucky.

This may be how the Symphony of the Valley has outgrown its own name in the last decade. The 70-member orchestra now pulls talent from Aspen, the Vail Valley, and as far away as Grand junction. “All the people who are here have a passion for music,” Said violinist Aaron Poh.

Marice Doll, who is executive producer of the symphony, agrees. “The symphony gives the ability to all the musicians who would starve musically if they didn’t have this outlet,” she said.

Music teacher and violinist Janie Bionaz sees it as a necessity for school age children. “None of the schools except for the Waldorf have orchestras,” she said. “All these kids have to have somewhere to go.” Children make up thirty-five percent of the symphony and nine-year-old Caleigh Smith is the youngest member. “I already conquered one dream,” Smith said. It was when she played Tchaikovsky’s music. “Sometimes I miss notes, but then I just try to correct myself.”

The orchestra affords music students the opportunity to play with fellow musicians, many of whom are professionals.

This year the symphony played Bach, Mendelssohn, and excerpts of Tchaikovsky’s for the Nutcracker, an adventure that follows a little girl’s journey through a fantasy world of fairies, princes, toy soldiers, and an army of mice.

And while the dancers looked as if they were caught up in the beauty and enchantment on stage, not even an unwelcome visitor could ruin the evening.

The company, who had created a special stage and had solved the difficult logistics of the performance, learned three minutes before showtime that it was raining on the main stage.

While they frantically mopped the area, principal dancer Anne-Marie Kelley gathered the troupe backstage and told them to dance through it.

They did, and it left the audience with the lingering magic of a big dream that never quite goes away.

For some of the performers, it made them dream of the day when Glenwood will have a theater worthy of its community.

Some of the Rockettes from left, Rachael Liston, a student; Katie Jepsen, 17, a senior at GSHS; and Brandi Wittwer, of Rifle, a dental assistant.

DeAnna Anderson, of Glenwood, left, co-owns Glenwood Dance

Academy and Danse Arts Theatre Co.; and Danielle Collins, 18, of Glenwood, is a senior who is home-schooled.

From left, Hannah Zon, 10, of Glenwood, is in fifth grade at Sopris Elementary; Jamie Leahy, 10, of Glenwood, is in fourth grade at Glenwood Elementary; Addie Tapp, 9, is in fourth grade at Sopris Elementary; and Courtney Olson, 10, of Carbondale, is in fourth grade at Alpine Christian Academy.

Orchestra members from left, Nathan Work, 17, of Snowmass Village, a senior at Aspen High School; Heidi Curatolo, of Aspen, teaches violin and piano; and Horace Work, of Snowmass Village, a private investor.

Orchestra members, from left, Elise Helmke, of Glenwood, a harpist; Caleigh Smith, 9, of Rifle, is in fourth grade; and Lori Andrews, of Snowmass, a mother and office assistant, is concert master.

From left, Janie Bionaz, of Glenwood, a music teacher in Gypsum; Aaron Poh, 15, of Basalt, a freshman at Aspen High School; and Lacy Mosher, 17, of Old Snowmass, a senior at Aspen High School.

From left, Margaret Collins, of Glenwood, a medical assistant at Glenwood Medical Associates; Pamela Ingram, of Basalt, works at Aspen Ski Tours; Danielle Ingram, 17, of Glenwood, a senior at Basalt High School; and Michelle Collins, 13, of Glenwood is in eighth grade at Jubilee Christian School.

From left, Erin Long, of Parachute, a special education teacher; Lindsay Dudycha, 17, of Carbondale, a senior at Roaring Fork High School; and Kelly Mitchell, of Eagle, a librarian.


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