BEAVER CREEK - While others prepare for the holiday season by shopping and partying, a group of local college students and professionals spend the weeks leading up to Christmas rehearsing for the Sacred Sounds of Christmas Concert. Now in its fourth year, the concert continues to be a favorite among both locals and visitors. This year's concert will be held on Sunday evening at 7:30 p.m., at the Chapel at Beaver Creek.
The songs will lead you along the journey of Mary and Joseph as they prepare for the birth of their Child, with sets interspersed with brief Scripture readings, similar to the Nine Lessons and Carols program done by Kings College in England. The Beaver Creek Chapel is bathed in candlelight and the glow of red poinsettias complementing the sounds resonating throughout the building. The concert is a free musical gift to the community from Msgr. Bob Kinkel and the St. Clare of Assisi Parish.
Donations will be accepted on behalf of Amanda Grems-Painter, a third grade teacher and mother of two young daughters who was recently diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer. The costs of the program have been generously sponsored by Bob Gary in memory of his wife Kristen Gary who succumbed to cancer last May. Kristen was an avid supporter of the arts and these young people's music, specifically. This generous sponsorship will allow all of the donations to benefit Grems-Painter and her family.
Dore Marott is the group's musical director. Marott has scoured music stores from Denver to L.A. to put together an evening of sacred music that includes pieces from the early centuries to the present along with chorale pieces with intricate harmonies beautifully executed by the ensemble. Her performing experience is extensive including operas and Broadway musicals from New York to California.
The other vocalists were all born and raised in the valley and have scattered to various colleges and programs throughout the country. Galen Jacobs graduated from the University of Denver's Lamont School of Music with a bachelors degree in music/vocal performance. If you're a musical theater buff, you will recognize Jacobs from some of his high school performances, most notably as Marius in Les Miserables and Joseph in "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat." He has also appeared in operas in college and was the musical director in the college's acapella group, Idiosingracies, which took first place in the Mile High Jam Vocal Competition last year. Jacobs studied piano under Peter Vavra (who performs at Splendido) and will accompany himself on piano for his solo piece.
Sean Pack has been performing in the valley with the Vail Performing Arts Academy and Vail Valley Theatre Company almost since he could walk. He recently graduated from Carnegie Mellon University, majoring in voice and minoring in music composition. Pack spent his summer performing in the New England area in such fun musicals as "Hairspray." His beautiful tenor voice is the perfect complement to Jacob's lower tenor harmonies and their duet is always a high point in the program.
The ladies are equally impressive. Molly Brooks recently graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Brooks' congregation at the Episcopal Church enjoys her beautiful voice at services and she has also appeared in local musicals most notably as Cosette in "Les Miserables" and Cinderella in "Into the Woods." Brooks has studied voice since middle school under the tutelage of Maxine Graboyes.
Meghan Jacobs has followed her brother, Galen's, lead and is now a junior voice major at the University of Denver/Lamont School of Music. If you reside in the valley and follow theater you are sure to have seen her on stage as has been cast as the lead in musicals since 7th grade including Sara in "Guys and Dolls" and Marion Paroo in "The Music Man." Meghan and Galen have formed their own wedding music business, Forte' Music of Colorado, and keep busy in the summer singing for weddings at the Chapel and the Ritz Carlton/Bachelor Gulch.
Kate Manley is a sophomore at the University of Colorado as a voice major in the School of Music. Manley prepared for college by spending the summers studying at such renowned summer music programs at Interlochen and Tanglewood. Manley also was a regular performer, along with Sunday's other performers, at Vail's Cabaret Nights for many years.
The musicians accompanying this impressive group include Elizabeth Sadilek-Labenski, a flutist with her Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins' Peabody Institute. Graham Olsen will play the cello. Olsen graduated from the prestigious music program at St. Olaf in Minnesota. Dawn Poff is the pianist pulling everything together. Poff studied under teachers from The Juilliard School.
If you cannot attend the concert, but wish to make a donation, call Eileen Jacobs at 970-471-3117.