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Lift up your voices

Holiday choral events include concerts, sing-along

Madrigal singers, clockwise from top right, Ed Blank, Gail Reed, Linda Casner, Lynne Masters and Doug Weers, rehearse Tuesday at Steamboat Springs Middle School.
Matt Stensland

— The Mountain Madrigal Singers have been together long enough to keep each other entertained for hours with stories about past concerts.

At a Wednesday evening rehearsal, the 16-member group took a break from singing Renaissance holiday music to remember the time they got an entire audience to sing along with “Let it Snow.” In 30 years, singers have come and gone, but the core group has stayed the same.

“They used to be much more active before the whole town got more active, and everybody was busy and there were so many things to do,” said Marie Carmichael, who directs the group and is one of two remaining original members. “The group doesn’t do as much as they had in the past, but they’re definitely as strong as they’ve ever been, if not stronger.”



Today, the Mountain Madrigal Singers perform 20 selections of classical, jazz and pop-influenced holiday music at the group’s annual “Trifles, Truffles & Figgy Pudding, Too” seasonal concert. The group has been rehearsing the program since September, as part of Colorado Mountain College’s fall music education program. Carmichael said the concert offers more musical variety than the typical Mountain Madrigals performance.

“Myself as a director, I love variety,” Carmichael said. “I like challenging music, and we have the singers who are able to sing this difficult music. And it’s not only difficult, it’s beautiful. There’s so much wonderful Christmas music out there.”



Handel’s ‘Messiah’

Carmichael also is directing a community sing-along of Handel’s “Messiah” on Tuesday, continuing a tradition of bringing the piece to Steamboat Springs in some form for the holidays.

The sing-along starts at 7 p.m. at United Methodist Church. Anyone is invited to come, and singers are encouraged to bring a score to “Messiah,” if they have one.

“In no way is it a performance,” Carmichael said, explaining that about 15 singers who have performed the piece before will be dispersed in the crowd. “You don’t have to sing. We’re asking people to sit in parts, and we’re all just going to sing.”

In 2007, singers from Colorado Mountain College partnered with members of the Steamboat Springs Orchestra and Emerald City Opera to stage a production of “Messiah.” The music is difficult, so the work often is done with a prepared chorus, Carmichael said. Tuesday’s sing-along will be much less formal.

“It’s been done about every way you can do it,” Carmichael said. “This is more kind of the folks way, the community way. It’s more as it had been done in earlier years.”


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