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Special to The PREVIEW
St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church, located at 225 S. Pagosa Blvd., will be the setting for the Pagosa Springs Girls Choir spring concert Tuesday evening, May 13, at 7 p.m.
“We are so excited to have the opportunity to sing in this wonderful setting,” says director Linda Parker. “St. Patrick’s has ideal acoustics for choral singing that will show off our girls’ voices to the maximum advantage.”
The program will include a wide variety of musical styles, with lively jazz numbers, stirring patriotic songs, religious songs and folk songs. The girls will be accompanied by pianist Sally Neel; flutist Kathy Wadenpfuhl; violinist Heidi Tanner; and trumpeter Sue Gottschalk. Dancers Johannah Laverty and Jacqueline Gracia will add a special visual to “I Never Touched a Rainbow.”
This is the inaugural year for the Pagosa Springs Girls Choir, and these young ladies have certainly added a beautiful new dimension to the arts in our community. The crystal clarity of their sound has marked them as a choir of outstanding, disciplined talent.
The choir, consisting of girls in fifth through eighth grades, began working together last August, at the beginning of the school year.
“We only rehearse for one hour each week, so it is imperative that we make the most of every single rehearsal,” says Parker. “We don’t have a lot of time for chit chat or fooling around. The girls learned early on that being a part of an excellent choir requires that they give 100 percent of their energy 100 percent of the time. And the really cool thing is that they do. They understand the goal of our choir is to be exceptional, and to achieve that requires exceptional commitment and hard work. I am very proud of these girls and what they have accomplished in such a short amount of time. I think everyone who attends this concert will be delighted with what they hear.”
Also performing at the concert will be the Pagosa Belles, a small group of girls from the choir who began studying and playing handchimes in February. Samaya Dunn, Gabi Garbiso, Cerenity Keating and Anika Thomas have been rehearsing once a week to learn a song on handchimes. To assist the girls, two members of the Quodlibet Handbell Choir from Community United Methodist Church will play in the concert. The girls will present the song “Simple Gifts” and will also accompany the choir on a song.
The girls receive a full musical experience from their participation in the Pagosa Girls Choir. They are taught about stage presence and how to conduct themselves in public as a member of the choir. Each girl has her hair braided and is given a light touch of makeup before each performance. A glittery reversible vest of either blue or silver accentuates black turtleneck sweaters, black skirts and black shoes, giving the girls a glitzy, uniform look.
In addition, Parker works to educate the girls in broader musical and artistic experiences. In June, the girls will spend the weekend in Santa Fe, enjoying a performance of “Carmen” at the Santa Fe Opera. Prior to the performance, the girls will tour backstage, seeing where costumes are made, sets are designed and assembled and some of the technical workings of such a massive operation. The weekend will continue with visits to art galleries and museums with special programs designed specifically for them.
“These girls represent the best of what Pagosa has to offer,” says Parker. “I believe they are a product of the amazing artistry that makes up our talented community. I hope we will have a full house to support them as we celebrate the end of our first year. You can be assured that the best is yet to come as this program continues to grow.”