Songs about nature

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Every semester, the longtime members of the Columbine Singers look for new ways to challenge themselves. This time around, they've almost met their match.

Their program is dedicated to songs about nature. "Moonlight on Mt. Fuji" was written this year in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the American School in Japan. It is a mixture of American musical ideas and Japanese words. Learning those words has been no small task.

Director Cristel Houston listened to her singers as they struggled day after day with the same lines, and she announced that the song would be cut from the program if they didn't learn it soon. Then she decided to go home and memorize the song herself to "see what the problem was," she said. "I realized this is really hard. I'll remember the words for a day and then forget them the next."

Since then she has been more patient with the group. And, given the chance, they slowly are meeting the challenge. At Tuesday's rehearsal, they were beaming at the end of the song. They glowed with the pride of a group that had truly accomplished something.

By Thursday's concert, they will be ready to share what they have been able to do with the community.

The Columbine Singers is a music class offered every semester by Colorado Mountain College. Of the 40 singers, most have been taking the class for years.

This semester's concert is titled "A Musical Tribute to the Beauty of Nature and Creation." Many of the songs are based on poems such as "We Sing of Golden Mornings," which was written in the 1950s by a Unitarian minister and put into music only this year.

"I found it in the music store, played through it and it had so many interweaving parts, so much for each part to do, that I knew it was perfect for us," Houston said. The program also will include two selections from Haydn's "The Creation" and several jazz pieces.

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