Yampa Valley Singers offer tribute to the open road this weekend | SteamboatToday.com

Yampa Valley Singers offer tribute to the open road this weekend

Spencer Powell
For Steamboat Pilot & Today
The Yampa Valley Singers after performing "How the West Was Sung," their most recent spring concert in April, 2022. The choir typically consists of around 40 volunteer singers from a wide range of singing backgrounds.
Ruth McClelland/Courtesy photo

Mud season is a great time for a road trip, but for those seeking the invigorating powers of the open road without the hassle and stress, the Yampa Valley Singers will be performing Spring Road Trip at 7 p.m. on Friday, April 28, and 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 29, at the Heart of Steamboat United Methodist Church.

“Everybody wants to get out of town, so we start out with ‘A Whole New World,'” said singer Ruth McClelland, referring to the iconic song from Disney’s “Aladdin.” McClelland has been lending her voice to the group since 2009 and works as their administrative coordinator.

Keeping with the theme, the choir will perform other venturesome melodies such as “10,000 Miles” by Mary Chapin Carpenter, “The Skye Boat Song” and “Route 66.”

And to cap things off, the choir will close out their performance with “The Happy Wanderer,” a popular tune known for its lyrics, “Val-deri, val-dera, val-deri, val-dera.

“We’re gonna let the audience sing along with us at the end there,” said the choir’s director, Keri Rusthoi.

“A lot of people who live in the mountains, they know that song,” McClelland said.

The performances this week will each last for about an hour, and the choir will be accompanied by a percussionist, a violinist/violist and a flutist.

The Yampa Valley Singers operate under the umbrella of the Yampa Valley Choral Society. The singers welcome anyone into their ranks and put on two different performances each year, one typically in the spring and another during the fall or around Christmas.

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Their previous two performances, “Christmas Joy” and “How the West Was Sung,” both sold out.  

“We’re a non-audition choir so we are more about entertainment and the audience having fun and ourselves having fun singing,” said Rusthoi.

McClelland said people who join the choir come from all levels of talent and experience. She said it’s rewarding to see other singers make breakthroughs.

“Some of these people that feel they can’t sing but they want to try it, so they’ll register and come in to rehearse, rehearse, rehearse, and then they can sing by golly!” McClelland said. “They realize they can sing.”

Rusthoi said she’s worked with musicians for a long time and said performing in the Yampa Valley Singers isn’t just about people’s musicianship.

“How do you feel about being onstage?” Rusthoi said. “Those are two completely different things. So people work up to it and when they’re ready, they sing with us.”

McClelland said seeing the culmination of 10-11 weeks of rehearsals is fulfilling, and the community’s reception to the Yampa Valley Singers has been consistently positive and heartfelt, and are a big part of what she enjoys about singing with the choir.

 “They’re always so complimentary, saying ‘Wow, that’s the best concert ever,’ but then the next concert’s the best concert,” McClelland said.

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