Peter Schindler to conduct Choral Festival at St. Patrick’s

St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church will host its fifth annual Choral Festival Aug. 21-24 at the church.

St. Patrick’s Choral Festival is a concept that was designed and implemented in 2010 to give area singers the opportunity to spend significant time studying and developing vocal technique, and to sing and perform beautiful music with others who wish to expand their musical repertoire. The workshop has proven to be a huge benefit to those who attend and the camaraderie has been such that many have participated every year.

Singers do not need to be professional quality to participate. Anyone who has had experience singing in choirs will find the festival totally accessible and beneficial. There is no age limit, though it is recommended that students have had some previous choral training.

Guest workshop director Peter Schindler resides in Dallas and has spent the past 40 years performing, teaching and studying the human voice. He has long had a fascination with the physical aspects of singing, how the human voice produces beautiful sounds and has expanded his studies to include the connection between the human voice and the human spirit.

“The performer’s task is to understand the composer’s intent, bring it into being and transmit it to the audience with honesty. In short, to be the channel of the idea’s truth,” says Schindler.

“Singers often struggle to control their sound and more importantly, to control their audience’s reaction. This effort to control causes breaks, uncertainty and a lack of confidence in the flow of ideas. In coaching performers, I have observed a virtually universal event. As the voice becomes free, there is a flow of emotion. Usually either laughter or tears, accompanied by a feeling of exuberant release. The sense is that the communication has been given clearly and freely. For a singer, this results in a beautiful expressive sound.”

The Haydn “Missa Brevis Sancti Joannis de Deo” will be the centerpiece of the choral festival. The music is both beautiful and accessible for amateur singers. The music is available in advance via email and pre-festival rehearsals will be offered by Sally Neel prior to the event and rehearsal CDs will be made available as well.

The festival events begin on Thursday evening, Aug. 21, at 7 p.m., with a master class in the church. The event is free to those attending and $10 per singer for those who wish to sing a solo and receive an evaluation and lesson within a class setting. Soloists who wish to sing for Schindler are asked to submit their selection to Neel in advance. This can be done via email ( or by calling the church at 731-5801. Singers may sing one solo each.

The remainder of the schedule is as follows:

• Friday, Aug. 22: 9-11:30 a.m. — Sessions on proper breathing, vocal techniques and warm-ups, spiritual preparation for singing, and other related topics.

3:30-5 p.m. and 6-7:30 p.m. (with break from 5-6 p.m. for dinner) — Work on music for concert Sunday evening.

• Saturday, Aug. 23: 8:30-11 a.m. — Morning rehearsal.

11 a.m.-1 p.m. — Lunch.

1-4 p.m. — Rehearsal.

• Sunday, Aug. 24: 2-4 p.m. — Rehearsal.

Festival Concert — 7 p.m. in church (6 p.m. warm up).

The cost for the festival is $50 per singer ($75 for couples), payable to St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church (note: Choral Festival) by Aug. 21. Some partial or full scholarships are available upon request. To register, contact Neel at stpatschoir970@gmail., or call 946-6458. St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church is located at 225 S. Pagosa Blvd.

This story was posted on July 31, 2014.