Sullivan Foundation awards scholarship funds to Pagosa Springs Girls Choir for third year

Photo courtesy Carole Howard
Linda Parker, founder and director of the Pagosa Springs Girls Choir, has been given $800 in scholarship money for her girls from the Sullivan Foundation by singer/songwriter Tim Sullivan.

By Carole Howard
Special to The PREVIEW

The Jim and Elizabeth Sullivan Foundation has awarded the Pagosa Springs Girls Choir (PSGC) $800 in scholarship funds to pay the tuition of four young singers in the PSGC.

The foundation was created in 2013 by country singer/songwriter Tim Sullivan to honor his parents by providing scholarships for disadvantaged youth with a talent for music, dance or visual art in Archuleta and La Plata counties.

The choir is four years old. Today, it is composed of 19 middle school-aged girls who are being educated in both home-school and public-school settings and are selected by audition, regardless of their ability to pay the annual $200 tuition.

This is the third year the choir has been honored by a Sullivan Foundation scholarship.

The Sullivan Foundation works closely with independent teachers, school and nonprofit programs that provide music, dance and art education. With their help, the foundation identifies young students who have the talent and work ethic to be in the programs, but don’t have the funds for tuition.

Choir founder and director Linda Parker said, “Quality music education has been proven to increase academic potential as well as to provide students with an understanding of compassion and how necessary it is in today’s world. We are fortunate that people like Tim and his family see the value in what we do and provide a pathway for us to fulfill our goals.”

In addition to their regular rehearsals, the girls receive individual mini-voice lessons from two vocal coaches included in their tuition.

“Because of this individualized instruction, the girls are singing better, more correctly and with much more confidence than before,” Parker said. “It has been a great addition to our program.”

With educational opportunities being a key component of the girls’ choir experience, this year they will travel to Salt Lake City, Utah, to enjoy a Mormon Tabernacle Choir concert and hear an organ recital in Temple Square.

The girls have performed their beautiful music — from memory — at many Pagosa venues including Veterans Day breakfasts, Rotary luncheons, Pagosa Springs Community Choir concerts and their own Christmas and spring concerts.

This year’s spring concert will be at 7 p.m. on May 9 at the Community United Methodist Church.

Tim Sullivan is well known in Pagosa Springs for his many local performances of his own and other songwriters’ country and pop music, often with his band for dancing. He has performed in Carnegie Hall and appeared on stage with many country stars, including Alan Jackson, Willie Nelson, Vince Gill, Glen Campbell and Tammy Wynette.

“I am lucky because my mother started teaching me voice and piano when I was a very young child,” he said. “She encouraged a deep appreciation for music that has been so important to me throughout my life. Through the Sullivan Foundation, we are giving something back to other youngsters with talent and a willingness to practice.”

Funds for Sullivan Foundation scholarships have been raised in four annual cabaret-style benefit concerts where Tim Sullivan and others in his extraordinarily talented musical family, including his mother, come from Oklahoma and New York to perform in Durango. This year’s concert is set for Nov. 11.

This story was posted on March 23, 2017.