Mountain Madrigals bring spirit and festive joy as their gift to the community

The Mountain Madrigals singing group rehearse songs and dances prior to their December performances.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent

Music fills the church, warming the soul on a cold winter night.

The Christmas spirit echoes perfectly through the open space as the Mountain Madrigals harmonize to bring a free gift of festive music to their local community. 

“Many of us do this as a gift or a ministry to the community,” said Patty Schaffner, one of the choral singers. 

Silent Night and Deck the Halls permeate the room as the singers rehearse without microphones. All songs were performed to perfection during a rehearsal early in the week. The group has been working out all of the minor kinks in final rehearsal to bring a concert to be cherished.

Obviously, the singers have a multitude of reasons to sing in a choir but the one raving review was that they want to bring holiday joy for free to their community.

“It’s always a good way to get into the Christmas spirit,” said Hannah Paget, one of the two choir accompanists. 

After taking a COVID break for two years, the group is back and excited to perform live for the community again. They’re ready to get people excited for the holidays, while sharing a fun miscellany of music.

The Mountain Madrigals.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent

The music will be a wide variety of different styles from pop and rock to traditional Christmas and sacred music.

Shawn Brown, the drummer, adds additional flare to accentuate the dynamics of the vocals, he said. His favorite song in the production is one he doesn’t perform in, called “Breath of Heaven.”

“It’s a powerful and spiritual song that really touches the Christmas spirit,” he said. “As my pastor said, ‘this is the time Heaven collides with earth,’” referencing the birth of Christ.

The director, Laura Porterfield, has been in the group for 31 years and directed for 29. This year she has two co-directors, Sue Long and Max Tustin. 

Sharing director duties with two co-directors has been a fun change because each director has a different approach, Porterfield said.

Sue Long said she loves the choir and is glad to be able to help Porterfield with directing. She has been directing for 35 years, most recently directing at her church in New Castle. 

“It’s like riding a bike, it never leaves you,” she said. 

This is their 41st anniversary as a choir, but with two years off from performing, this will be their 39th anniversary of performing for their local community.  

The Mountain Madrigals singing group rehearse songs and dances prior to their December concerts.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent

The Mountain Madrigals typically work with 20 members, but only have 13 performing in this concert. They have had lower numbers after the two-year COVID hiatus, but not to say the sound coming from the choir is lacking in any way. 

“We have a combination of sacred and secular music,” Schaffner said. “Overall, it’s musically full.”

The performers have been working hard these last couple weeks to bring the community a perfect performance. 

“It’s a very sweet group of people that are giving a lot of their time for the community,” Schaffner said. 

For anyone interested in joining the choir, they are looking to recruit more members, both choral and instrumental, but auditions are required. People are welcome to join to help with lighting too, but no auditions are required for that. 

The concert offers free babysitting and is ADA accessible. They also hope to livestream, but please check to see if there is an announcement on their Facebook. 

Typically the group does four concerts a year, but will only have three this year. This is the third year performing at the Church of Christ, and the group has made two professional CDs so people can take their music home with them. 

If you go…

What: Mountain Madrigal Singers Christmas Concerts

When: 7 p.m. Dec. 2, 2 p.m. Dec. 4, 7 p.m. Dec. 10

Where: Church of Christ, 260 Soccer Field Road

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.