Calaway concert season ends in Breckenridge with award-winning vocalists |

Calaway concert season ends in Breckenridge with award-winning vocalists

Mike McKibbin
special to the daily
Mike McKibbin/Special to the Daily

Classical melodies, opera and musical theater will enliven the halls of three different Colorado Mountain College campuses in the final concerts of the Jim Calaway Honors Series’ 10th season.

Grammy Award-winning soprano Ilana Davidson, Concert Artists Guild competition-winning mezzo-soprano Krista River, acclaimed tenor Jason McStoots and pianist Debra Ayers are featured for three evenings. They perform Tuesday, March 30 at CMC’s newest building and auditorium, in Breckenridge.

Ayers said all four musicians are no strangers to each other. McStoots and River have performed together many times, and their plans for a recital and a pianist led to Ayers, who suggested they come to Colorado. Davidson and Ayers were featured together in one of the very first Jim Calaway Honors Series programs.

“So it all worked out,” McStoots said. “I think we’ll have a nice mix of voices and roles.”

The concerts will focus on American and English composers from all eras, Ayers said, with a diverse mixture of styles, all sung in English.

McStoots said he was glad English compositions were included. “It just seems like communication with the audience is increased when you perform English songs,” he said.

The four performers corresponded by e-mail to put together the program, then each learned their individual parts. Because of the high elevations where they’ll be performing, Ayers said the three singers would acclimate in Denver for several days of rehearsal before traveling into the mountains.

“The air up here is thinner, so when you take a deep breath to hit a high note, you don’t get as much air,” she explained. “Some of them have performed at altitude, but it’s still kind of shocking when you first try it. It’s a big adjustment.”

McStoots said he has not sung at high elevations, but didn’t think it would pose any problem.

“It’s something we’ll all have to deal with, and it’s been done before,” he said. “I think once we get acclimated, we have techniques to overcome any of those types of issues.”

A CMC trustee since 2001, Linda Bateman founded the collaboration between Colorado Mountain College and the Breckenridge Music Festival. The Batemans, who both hold doctorates in chemistry, received an outstanding philanthropist award from The Summit Foundation last year. The March 30 concert is sponsored in part by Applause! – Breckenridge Music Festival.

The singers will also work with one middle school and two high school choral groups in Summit County under the sponsorship of The Summit Foundation.

Colorado Mountain College’s Center for Excellence in the Arts is producing the concerts, which all start at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20/adult and $5/student (including full-time CMC students with ID), and are available at the door or by calling (970) 453-9142.

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