Concert series to connect Roaring Fork Valley musicians, singers |

Concert series to connect Roaring Fork Valley musicians, singers

Matthew Bennett
Glenwood Springs Post Independent

Celebrating its 25th anniversary, Symphony in the Valley plans on concluding its historic concert season on a high note.

Taking place on Mother’s Day weekend, the performance, “Music That Connects Us,” appropriately features John Rutter’s “Mass of the Children.”

As part of the 25th anniversary celebration, Aspen Choral Society and High Country Sinfonia will join Symphony in the Valley for three nights on three different stages.

“We basically all said, ‘OK, we are not going to have three separate spring concerts,’” Aspen Choral Society Music Director Paul Dankers said. “We are all going to join together and do one spring concert that we can all collaborate on together.”

The series kicks off May 10 at Harris Concert Hall in Aspen, and will include a rare third performance in Glenwood Springs this year, with the second concert in Rifle.

“Normally we just do two,” Symphony in the Valley Conductor and Music Director Kelly Thompson said of the season’s final concert series.

However, according to Thompson, The New Ute Theater Society was very enthusiastic about bringing a third show this year to Rifle. It’s an idea Thompson and his musical colleagues welcomed with open arms.

Downvalley stops will be at the Ute Theater and Events Center, 132 E. Fourth St., in Rifle on May 11, as well as Glenwood Springs High School, 1521 Grand Ave., on May 12.

As Symphony in the Valley commemorates its 25th year, Aspen Choral Society also celebrates roughly 42 years in existence.

Dankers described John Rutter, who is still living, as a British composer who became especially popular in the 1980s.

“John Rutter came along and started writing music that used contemporary harmonies and had a whole new sound to it,” Dankers said.

Speaking to Rutter’s work “Mass of the Children,” Dankers explained how the piece has a lot of moving parts and challenging time signatures, which calls for help from the Aspen Choral Society and the High Country Sinfonia.

“To bring three, and especially two very old community musical arts groups in the Roaring Fork Valley — and we’re talking about people from Aspen to Glenwood and beyond — together is a pretty major and wonderful thing,” said Wendy Larson, High Country Sinfonia cellist and coordinator. “And I think that’s why the name of the concert is called the ‘Music That Connects Us.’”

Larson is a veteran performer for all three organizations. She performed at Symphony in the Valley’s first concert 25 years ago, as well as Aspen Choral Society’s debut concert almost 42 years ago, in addition to High Country Sinfonia’s first performance.

High Country Sinfonia was formed in 2015.

“Three conductors, lots of music — it will be a great weekend of shows,” Thompson said. “The more as a society and a world where we can come together the better off we are. … It doesn’t matter your political party, religion, whatever, we just come together and make music.”


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