‘Tis the season to sing in the Vail Valley
The Sacred Sounds of Christmas is free musical gift to the community from St. Clare of Assisi Parish.
A group of local college students and professionals are spending the weeks leading up to Christmas rehearsing. The vocalists are all valley natives now pursuing their passion in colleges and programs around the country.
Last year’s concert was intended as a one-time event, but the standing-room-only crowd was having none of that. The show must go on, and it’s Monday in the Beaver Creek Chapel.
The evening of sacred music includes pieces from Leonard Bernstein’s “Mass” to chorale pieces. They take the audience 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.
Dore Marott, the group’s musical director, has performed in operas and Broadway musicals from New York to California.
Other participants include Sean Pack, who has been performing in the valley with the Vail Performing Arts Academy and Vail Valley Theatre Company almost since he could walk; Galen Jacobs, a vocal performance major at the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music; Molly Brooks, a student at University of Colorado at Boulder who sings for the local Episcopal Church and has appeared in local musicals; Meghan Jacobs is on scholarship to the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music; Kate Manley, a senior at Battle Mountain High School who has spent the past two summers at the renowned summer music programs at Interlochen and Tanglewood.
This is the 30th Christmas season the Dickens Carolers have been singing holiday music.
They started caroling around Vail last weekend, which they’ve also been doing for 30 years.
“We pop in and out of restaurants and other places,” said Jon Gamble. Jon and wife Nancy have been with the Dickens Carolers since they started as a Colorado Mountain College chorale class under Ann Lamb, the Battle Mountain High School music teacher at the time. Marsha Marshall has directed the group for the last three years.
After a couple years with CMC, they struck out on their own and have been making music ever since.
You can catch their annual concert at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, in the Vail Chapel. It’s free. Mountain Harmony, a group of four local women put together by Mary Cunningham, is also performing.
“We just want to play for as many people as possible,” Gamble said.
They wear Victorian eras costumes when they perform, so they not only sound the part, the look it.
“We’ve worked hard to keep the traditions alive,” Gamble said. “We all have those misty-eyed moments when you effect a family. That’s what keeps us going.
Jon and Nancy have been singing for 30 years. Others have been along for the ride for 20 years.
They’ve seen all kinds of changes, but the music lasts.
“It’s been a long tradition,” Gamble said. “We probably sing more than 100 pieces during a given evening. Multiply that by seven nights and 30 years and that’s … a lot of Christmas music.”
Pat Hamilton and Peter Vavra will present their 21st “Christmas in Vail” concert Wednesday in the Beaver Creek Chapel.
“We thought maybe it was time to stop, after the 20th concert, but no one would let us. So we’re back by popular demand,” Hamilton said.
The two began the concert series to promote a Christmas CD they did together, and it was supposed to be a one-shot deal.
“Here we are 20 years later,” Hamilton said.
In those 20 years they’ve raised more than $250,000 for the Salvation Army.
“They do so much for the valley that no one sees,” Hamilton said. “It’s unsung, and it’s always out there, like so many other local organizations.”
Tickets have been $20 for 20 years.
They’ll be doing all kinds of holiday favorites, including songs Pat wrote for her CD, “You Are My Christmas.”
Hamilton and Vavra will be joined by Nancy Wright, flutist; Sally Peterson, backup vocals; Jeff Layman, drums; and Mike Peters, bass.
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