Steamboat ensembles to play concert Wednesday |

Steamboat ensembles to play concert Wednesday

Claire Cox practices Monday night with a flute choir for an upcoming Steamboat Symphony Orchestra Education Ensembles concert at the Steamboat Springs Community Center.

— Bruce Dean is a computer programmer most hours of the week, but Wednesday night he will lead nurses, teachers and high school students who also are cellists in a Steamboat Symphony Orchestra Education Ensembles concert.

"None of us are professional musicians," Dean said Monday about the nine-member cello choir he will direct. "But this is a hobby for all of us, and we've been playing together now for three semesters and modifying some interesting and beautiful music."

Dean and the other cellists will play classical, modern and operatic music Wednesday that will include a piece from "Hansel and Gretel." It all will be part of the Steamboat Symphony Orchestra Education Ensembles "Together in Concert" performance.

The concert, which starts at 7 p.m. at the Steamboat Springs Community Center, will feature three separate performances by a flute choir, a string quartet and the cellists. Dean said the performance will feature musicians ranging from teens to adults in their 60s.

"A lot of the purpose in putting on these performances is to educate these players," he said. "Our mission is also to try to give people reasons and the opportunity to play together."

The six-member flute choir on Monday night rehearsed in the Community Center a handful of Christmas songs that they plan to showcase in Wednesday's concert.

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For nearly two hours, a pair of teenagers and three moms who haven't picked up flutes since high school played "Joy to the World" and other songs under the direction of Ernest Richardson, music director for the Steamboat Symphony Orchestra.

For many of the players, the rehearsal was an opportunity to refine and pick up new skills two days before they were to play in front of an audience.

"It was really neat to play with a group of flutists who are better than me and who I can really learn from," 14-year-old Melissa Requist said after the rehearsal.

Claire Cox, 16, added that she has learned to better breathe through her nose while playing during the course of her six rehearsals with the flute choir.

"I've learned a lot of different techniques from my fellow players, and I'm really looking forward to performing this week," she said.

Teresa Steffen Greenlee, director of the string quartet, said the concert and preceding rehearsals also give players the opportunity to take on challenges they don't face when they play alone.

"For me, playing in a quartet was life changing," she said. "It requires you to be solid in your own part."

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email