Yampa Valley Choral Society singers will take the stage at Carnegie Hall
November 19, 2015
Steamboat Springs — From the Strings Music Pavilion to Carnegie Hall in New York City, the Yampa Valley Choral Society singers will be one of 15 participating ensembles at the Distinguished Concerts International New York’s "Messiah Refreshed" fifth anniversary concert.
On Nov. 29, the hard work of the local choir will pay off as it takes the Carnegie Hall stage alongside a full symphony orchestra.
Last December, Christel Houston, music director for the Steamboat Chamber Singers prepared the combined choirs of the Yampa Valley Choral Society to perform Handel's “Messiah” with the Steamboat Springs Orchestra under the baton of Ernest Richardson at Strings Music Pavilion.
After a recording of the concert was posted online and discovered by Distinguished Concerts International, an entity that provides world-class musical entertainment, the Yampa Valley Choral Society was invited to perform with the DCINY mass choir.
"We have not done anything like this before," said Joe Becker, president of the Yampa Valley Choral Society. "When I first announced this news to the group, they just leapt at it. The opportunity to sing in Carnegie Hall is something many people hope for."
In preparation for the concert, 28 singers from the two adult choirs of the Yampa Valley Singers and the Steamboat Chamber Singers will head to New York next week after rehearsing together a few times this month.
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Alto singer Diane Bowers said Houston challenged the group to "carry" the rest of the choirs with pronunciations and entrances and to be leaders who know various parts of the piece well.
"It's unbelievable that Steamboat will be represented there, surrounded by all of those amazing voices and orchestra members," said Bowers, who has been singing with local choir groups for 30 years. "I'm just so excited to have this chance to sing on that stage and share the incredible beauty of Handel's music. It's a wonderful thing to look forward to."
On many of the choir members’ bucket lists, the trip brings moments of nostalgia for alto singer Nancy Kramer.
"I remember being awestruck by the city as we were wandering around, and then we came across Carnegie Hall," Kramer said about her last time in New York City, about 40 years ago. "We asked the doorman if we could peek into the building, and to this day, I remember the simplistic elegance of that building. I always thought that, one of these days, I would go back there."
Though it has taken 40 years for her to get back, she and the other Yampa Valley Choral Society singers will leave next week for a day of touring the city and two days of rehearsals prior to the concert.
For Becker, the trip will be one he plans on remembering for years to come.
"We were so excited and honored," Becker said. "This is a small community that has had a really strong arts community for awhile. But for a town of this size to have that good of a production of the ‘Messiah’ is really exciting. We are pleased to be sending such a good group."