Boulder a cappella ensemble comes to Steamboat Springs for Western Slope tour |

Boulder a cappella ensemble comes to Steamboat Springs for Western Slope tour

Beyond the stage, beyond the ebb and flow of voices, choruses have a way of becoming containers for community.

"There’s a way that we are held by the music and by the project of creating beauty together, that creates an exquisite kind of community," said Sue Coffee, founding artistic director of Sound Circle, an ensemble group from Boulder.

Deb Batson, former longtime resident of Steamboat Springs, discovered the unwavering support of the local community through various circles in the community, especially musical ones after the death of her son.

"We perform out of a connection and love for each other and for singing together," said Batson. "Our performances aren't as much about 'singing to' an audience as they are about inviting an audience into our creative process. We sing to understand and to bring understanding."

Sound Circle will be in Steamboat Springs for a performance at 7 p.m. Saturday at the United Methodist Church, 736 Oak St. The group will stop on its way back home to Boulder after singing and recording a new album at the Tank Center for Sonic Arts in Rangely, an old water tank with cathedral-like acoustics.

Coffee said the "Widening Circles" will lead audiences through a compassionate wondering, in song, about the tribal nature of humans and the roots of political and moral divisions.

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This concert includes music from women’s ensembles including “Rising Appalachia,” “Coco’s Lunch” and “Sweet Honey in the Rock,” as well as choral settings of texts by Audre Lorde, Wendell Berry and Sara Teasdale. Composers represented include Craig Carnelia, Joan Szymko and Malcolm Dalglish and Boulder composer Kimmerjae Macarus.

The 18 singers that make up Sound Circle are therapists, teachers, artists, writers, social workers and nurse.

"Singers have to be quite skilled, but they also have to be simpatico with our mission," Coffee said. "They have to enjoy the music process. They have to be self-aware and be able to step into a community with a long history sensitively. They are highly relational individuals with excellent communication skills and a generally empathetic view of the world."

Founded in 1994, Sound Circle helped create a community of women who explore songs and texts to create music drawing from eclectic sources with a knack for developing works with elements of percussion, improvisation and movement.

"I’m thrilled for us to perform in Steamboat," Batson said. "The group knows how much it means to me. I raised my kids, who were active in music circles, in Steamboat Springs, and my youngest child is buried in the cemetery. This show is a way for me to say ‘thank you’ to the community that held my family through illness, grief and loss, and continues to hold us from afar,"

The concert is free, and there will be a passing of the hat during the concert. Donations will go to the Steamboat Symphony’s youth education program.

To reach Audrey Dwyer, call 970-871-4229, email @Audrey_Dwyer1

If you go:

What: “Widening Circles” concert

When: 7 p.m. on Saturday, June 17

Where: United Methodist Church, 736 Oak St.