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Alpine Master Chorale debuts with Christmas concerts

Carrie ClickPost Independent Arts WriterGlenwood Springs, Colorado CO
Kelley Cox Post Independent
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GLENWOOD SPRINGS – A new holiday musical tradition is forming in the Roaring Fork Valley. And after you’ve talked with Dory Light about the Alpine Master Chorale concerts coming up this weekend, you’re bound to be the first in line to experience it. Light, who moved to Glenwood Springs from the Philadelphia area in 2002, is unquestionably passionate about the Christmas music she and her 11-member chorale are performing at two concerts set for tonight in Glenwood Springs and Sunday in Basalt.Light is equally passionate about her chorale, which includes music teachers, professional musicians and those who have studied vocal performance. Light has approved all of the chorale’s members, in her own way.”We have such a treasure trove of talent here,” she said. “In my mind, I’ve auditioned all of them. I know each one of their strengths.”

The Alpine Master Chorale is presenting “A Choral Cathedral Christmas,” featuring the works of Benjamin Britten, John Rutter and Gustav Holst – composers all alive during the 20th Century. Light will accompany the chorale on piano. “It’s sacred, not secular music,” said Light. The program leads off with Britten’s “A Ceremony of Carols,” followed by Rutter’s “Magnificat” and Holst’s “Christmas Day,” music that Light said is familiar to most people. Famous for his mid-20th Century operas, Britten also wrote film music and contemporary classical music. Rutter is known as much for his choral music as he is for his Broadway tunes. The Holst piece, which comes at the end of the performance, is based on several Old English carols, such as “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” and “The First Noel,” and presented in this updated version. “We’re filling another niche,” said Erin Wiencek, also of Glenwood Springs, the chorale’s assistant artistic director and a soloist for this weekend’s concerts. “I’m thrilled to be involved.”

The group started singing together in 2010 in church performances, but didn’t formalize into the Alpine Master Chorale until this year. Now the group plans to perform winter and spring concerts annually. Wiencek said she’s constantly surprised by the quality of music the chorale generates. “It’s amazing what kind of sound comes out of 11 members,” she said. Although the Roaring Fork Valley is home to several choirs, Light and Wiencek saw that a chorale that focuses on contemporary classical music could complement existing groups such as the Mountain Madrigals and the Aspen Choral Society. Plus, forming a new chorale gave Light – a piano and vocal teacher – a way to conduct and to select music, too. Several of the Alpine Master Chorale’s members sing or have sung in those groups as well. In fact, the Mountain Madrigals is where Light and Wiencek first met. “Musicians in this valley know each other,” said Wiencek. “We’re all part of groups that we all know.” “The more the merrier,” added Light about the addition of the Alpine Master Chorale to the valley’s mix.



Light is enjoying her role as a music director of a chorale. That’s in addition to teaching voice and piano, and what she calls her day job, working in administration at Dalby, Wendland & Co., managing the accounting company’s database.Interestingly, Wiencek’s nine-to-five job at Alpine Bank – in the administration department doing accounting – also involves numbers. “Music and numbers,” Wiencek said. “They both use both sides of the brain.” “Analyzing data is like reading a musical score,” Light said. “Music is analytical.”It also makes you feel good, particularly this program of Christmas music. “This music is so warm and wonderful,” said Light. “It’s easy to take in, and it’s accessible. It gives you a good feeling.”


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