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Mountain Madrigals `Ring in the Season’ with song

`Tis the season.

One of Glenwood Springs’ favorite holiday entertainments will fill the First United Methodist Church with song in a couple of weeks.

The Mountain Madrigal singers present “Ringing in the Season,” their annual offering of Christmas music both light-hearted and uplifting.



The concerts are Friday, Dec. 13, Sunday, Dec. 15 and the following Saturday, Dec. 21, at the First United Methodist Church at 9th and Cooper in Glenwood Springs. All performances begin at 7:30.

While the concerts are free, donations are gratefully accepted.



“This is our gift to the community,” said singer Charlie Wirth, a long-time member.

The Mountain Madrigal Singers first performed at the Carbondale Mountain Fair in 1981. They held their first holiday concert that December.

Current members include director Laura Porterfield, accompanist Dory Light and singers Kiffany Brown, Dennis Brown, Robin Burkett, Ginger Franke, Myles Rovig, Mary Lamb, Susan Lauck, Steve Shute, Lezley Small, Annie Stensland, Micah Ball, Bethany Ward, Cindy Wardlaw, Erin Wiencek, Lilas Robinson, Bob Fox, Cliff Keen, Virgil Mock, David Thompson, Leo Williams and Charlie Wirth.

Now in its 22nd year, the group of 20 volunteer “citizen” singers, has been rehearsing four hours a week since around Labor Day, said long-time member Steve Shute.

“It’s very intense for a few months,” Shute said. “Everyone in the group has a full life.”

It’s a passion the singers share.

“There aren’t many things you can do as an adult where you really have to work with others. It’s so much fun,” Shute said.

“These are some of the most committed people I’ve ever met,” said director Laura Porterfield.

When December comes, the energy picks up in intensity.

“It gets tingly,” Wirth said. “That’s why we do it, the love vibration.”

They’ll cover the old favorites, “Winter Wonderland,” “Jingle Bells,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and the church classic, “Pacem, Christus Natus Est.” And they’ll throw in a zinger, “Leroy, the Redneck Reindeer.”

The group has two CDs of its music that are sold at the annual concerts and are also available at Through the Looking Glass bookstore in Glenwood Springs.

One thing that has changed over the years, since the group started out with eight singers, is the gradual phasing out of madrigal music, the traditional music of the Renaissance. Apparently there just isn’t much available.

“We went through it in about three years,” Wirth said.

Besides the public concerts, the group will also bring its holiday music to the Sunnyside Retirement Center and will sing for Kiwanis, Lions Club and 100 Club Christmas parties.

Porterfield suggested people come early to the concerts. The concerts have become so popular over the years, “we’ve had to start turning people away” when the audience has exceeded the 300-person capacity of the church, she said.


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