Eagle Valley Children’s Chorale performs their spring concert, "Lighten Up’ | VailDaily.com

Eagle Valley Children’s Chorale performs their spring concert, "Lighten Up’

Wren Wertin
Vail Daily/Kelly FitzPatrickThe Eagle Valley Children's Chorale allows kids ages 7-11 to learn the arts of performing and listening.

The seventh annual spring concert, featuring 76 students from eight area schools, kicks off at the Vilar Center in Beaver Creek at 4 p.m. Sunday. Their program, titled “Lighten Up,” includes songs from the lighter side of life, said Chorale director Liane Gulizia.

“The Chorale was created to nurture the love of singing music within young children,” said Gulizia. “We do a varied style of repertoire, and we pride ourselves on that – Broadway hits, gospel, patriotic tunes, some “oldies but goodies.'”

Part of the program features songs on a whirlwind tour across the globe. Starting in Africa, they sing a Zulu folk song in the native language. From there, they travel to Austria and sing “Yodelady,” then on to France with the traditional “Frere Jacques.”

“We sing it in an avant garde style,” she said. “So I’m teaching some traditional songs with funky rhythms.”

Next stop is Mexico, and a performance of “Guadalajara,” with all 13 boys playing the caballeros, or Mexican cowboys. Finally, they’ll cross the border to America and perform a fun song in the roaring 20s style titled “The Banjo’s Back in Town.”

“We also feature the fourth- and fifth-grade students, an advanced group called The Encores,” said Gulizia. “They are doing dance hits through the decades: “Rock Around the Clock’ from the 50s, “Locomotion’ from the 60s, “YMCA’ from the discos of the 70s, and we end with “Footloose’ from the 80s. They’ll also perform Broadway hit “Phantom of the Opera,’ and a swing hit “Frim Fram Sauce.'”

The kids have put in a lot of time to learn not only the songs but also the movements for each song. They’ve also learned American Sign Language for one number, “The Power of One.”

“These students are multi-talented,” said Gulizia. “Besides music, they’re involved in extracurricular activities like dance, gymnastics, soccer. I value their talent so much because they make room for music in their lives.”

They’ve been in rehearsal for 15 weeks, which will culminate in Sunday’s performance. The Chorale includes children aged 7 to 11, and many of them have been involved for three or four years.

“The top reason they keep coming back is it’s fun,” said Gulizia. “It’s a lot of work, and I’ll always compare it to any sport because it’s a real work out. Their body is their tool, their instrument, and it’s a commitment. It’s also a very good exercise in discipline. Between numbers, they’re in standby condition. It teaches listening skills, as well as performance skills.”

The kids don’t just stand there, though. They’ve helped Gulizia choreograph each of the numbers. According to her, children’s bodies naturally move to music. So learning the movements helps them learn the lyrics, too. They share a love of music with their fearless leader Gulizia.

“I discovered music in the womb,” she said, laughing. “Well, my mom and dad did go to a lot of concerts. She always listened to music. And of course I married Mr. Music, Tony Gulizia.”

The Eagle Valley Children’s Chorale performs Sunday afternoon at 4 p.m. at the Vilar Center in Beaver Creek. Admission is a smile, though they gratefully accept any donations.

Wren Wertin can be reached via e-mail at wrenw@vaildaily.com or phone at 949-0555 ext. 618.

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