Summit Choral Society presents spring concerts
IF YOU GO
What: Summit Choral Society’s spring concert
When: Monday, April 4 and Tuesday, April 5 at 7 p.m.
Where: Monday’s performance will be at Lord of the Mountains Church in Dillon, with Tuesday’s concert at the Summit Middle School
More information: summitchoralsociety.wordpress.com/
Out of its three programs each year, the spring concerts brought to the county by the Summit Choral Society are usually the most challenging for the singers and this year will be no different. With a current membership of around 75, the spring show will feature about 50 talented vocalists performing music from the Renaissance era.
“It is a credit to this group that they have stuck it out,” said Cathie Hill, Summit Choral Society Board president. “It’s taken a lot of work, and I’m really proud of the group for being able to pull it off and pull it off well.”
The Summit Choral Society spring concerts will be Monday, April 4 and Tuesday, April 5 at 7 p.m. Monday’s performance will be at Lord of the Mountains Church in Dillon, with Tuesday’s concert at the Summit Middle School.
The group will be performing English and Spanish madrigals.
“Madrigals were written as chamber music; people used to sit around the living room and sing music in a 4 to 8 parts,” Hill said. “We are doing several selections from different cultures — for example, English, Italian and Spanish — but from that same general period of time.”
There will be three songs from Emma Lou Diemer, an American composer. The singers will perform Diemer’s settings of three of Shakespeare’s sonnets, which Hill says are more contemporary.
The most contemporary piece the group will be performing, Hill said, is “Leonardo Dreams of His Flying Machine,” by composer Eric Whitacre, created from a poem by lyricist Charles Anthony Silvestri.
“It’s a complete experience you can’t even get your head around,” Hill said. “It is so amazing to sing and to listen to. That’s probably the most challenging piece I’ve done since I was in college.”
CAIT MCCLUSKIE RECEIVES SUMMIT CHORAL SOCIETY SCHOLARSHIP
Every year the Summit Choral Society presents a scholarship to a high school student and vocalist, with this year’s award going to Cait McCluskie. The Summit High senior sang with the Choral Society last summer, and recently won the scholarship after completing an application and audition, which will be awarded to her on Monday during the school’s scholarship night. McCluskie will be performing at the Choral Society’s Tuesday night concert as a featured soloist.
McCluskie participates in a variety of activities, with the debate team, theater and dance at Alpine Dance Academy just skimming the surface. But for this driven teen, music and theater are her two biggest passions and what she wants to pursue in college.
“I’ve been singing for pretty much my whole life, I started when I was 5 with the Lake Dillon Theatre workshops,” she said.
She has been a part of Summit Singers since freshman year, an elite choir at the high school, and also participated in the Western Slope Honor Choir her first three years of high school. McCluskie is the only Summit High student to be accepted into Colorado All-State Choir this year.
“She was chosen because for a high school student, actually for anyone … she is the most prepared, the most proactive, and she’s very good,” Hill said. “She is a fine musician. She sang with us last summer, and actually soloed on some things, and she is one of the most exemplary high school students I’ve ever seen.”
Although McCluskie hasn’t quite decided on a school yet, she mentions St. Olaf College Minnesota because of its prestigious collegiate choir, but has also been waitlisted at Yale. She does say she plans to pursue either music and theater or musical theater — and there is a difference, she’s quick to note. She appreciates the scholarship as a way to help her pursue the career in music she has always dreamed of.
“I loved singing with the Choral Society this past summer, and to know that I’ve made an impression on them was really great for me,” she said. “Summit Choral Society is just such a great way to get involved, and so I loved having the opportunity to do that, and I loved that they see that sort of love for music and drive in music in me that they strive for.
“Music is my whole life,” she added. “Every part of it, whether I’m listening to it or I’m singing in a musical or singing with the Choral Society or at school — it’s my whole life.”
EVERYONE IS WELCOME
The Summit Choral Society is open to anyone interested in joining, and there are no auditions required. Hill said the group draws a variety of participants, from retirees to students, and experienced vocalists to never-evers.
“We welcome everyone,” she said. “… It’s a real cross section of Summit County, truly.”
With a mix of levels, Hill, who spent years as a choral director, said there is always someone there to help anyone who needs it. Rehearsals for the summer season begin in June, with concert dates in August.
The Summit Choral Society has been in the county for almost 35 years. It started as a group that got together for one concert, but the early performers enjoyed it so much, they decided to continue singing together. The Society now consists of members who have been a part of it for years, as well as a rotating cast of new vocalists that join.
Once a week, the group practices at Christ Lutheran Church at Farmers Korner, which gives them the practice space for free.
The organization filled the entire Riverwalk Center in Breckenridge for its December concert with the Summit Concert Band and the Summit Community Orchestra.
“It was amazing the response we got,” Hill said. “It’s very encouraging to get that kind of response from the community.”
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