The Aspen Choral Society kicks off its 42nd consecutive season of Messiah performances with a busy fall rehearsal schedule and annual fundraising concert featuring local favorite Ellen Stapenhorst.

The Aspen Choral Society announced its annual winter series concerts today.  This year will mark the 42nd consecutive annual presentation of Handel’s Messiah, a favorite choral work of the holiday season.  Rehearsals have just begun, providing both experienced and novice singers alike the unique opportunity to perform in a professional-quality choir.

ACS Music Director Paul Dankers is excited about the goose-bump raising potential of Messiah.  “Last year’s performances of Messiah by the Aspen Choral Society were so emotional and so beautiful, we all had tears in our eyes as we finished the final “Worthy is the Lamb” and “Amen” choruses.  I’m thrilled to see that energy and emotion in the returning and new choir members during our season kickoff event this past weekend.”

The ACS is open to all people in the community.  No singing experience is required, just a commitment to attending rehearsals, personal practice, and bringing joy and mindfulness to the experience.  Rehearsals have just begun and are held every Sunday from 4:00-6:00 pm at the Basalt Middle School. Interested community members should email the choir manager, Ms. Emma Leake (, if they wish to join this year’s choir.

Tamela Kenning, the ACS Board President, echoed Mr. Dankers’ sentiment.  “We have a wonderful group of singers this year who are excited to sing in a choir of such high quality – quality that is driven not only by excellent musicianship, but by a sense of community.  We are all so committed to each other and to our beautiful Roaring Fork Valley that we want to do our best for our fellow singers and our audience. It’s thrilling to be part of it.”

Mrs. Kenning is also excited to host a third annual fundraising concert to launch the season.  The fundraiser will feature celebrated singer-songwriter Ellen Stapenhorst. The late afternoon event will feature hors d’oeuvres, a cash bar, the opportunity to meet Mr. Dankers and the ACS Board members, and a performance by Ms. Stapenhorst.  The event will be held at the Aspen Glen Country Club from 4:00-6:00 pm on November 9, 2019. The donation to attend is $40; no other funds will be solicited during the event. Tickets are on sale now and available until Friday, November 1st at

Ellen Stapenhorst has lived and worked in the Roaring Fork Valley since the early 1970s, when she helped form the popular band Tanglefoot.  She is renowned for writing and performing songs that touch our common humanity and empower our better selves.  A local legend herself, Ms. Stapenhorst has collaborated with other local and not-so-local legends such as John Denver, Buffy St. Marie, Shawn Colvin, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and Mack Bailey.

In addition to performing at the fundraising concert, Ms. Stapenhorst’s composition “There is a Light,” will be performed by the ACS during its winter performances.  Ms. Stapenhorst expressed her delight at being associated with the Aspen Choral Society.  “I was deeply moved by the ACS’s performance of my music last year and in the 2017 Spring Concert, and look forward to hearing another performance of one of my pieces this season. It is such an honor and privilege to be invited to participate in this fundraising event.”

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About the Aspen Choral Society (ACS)

Aspen Choral Society is a not-for-profit corporation committed to presenting annually a choral concert series for the public’s education and enjoyment, by providing quality musical training and the experience of performing master works to a variety of local choral ensembles of all ages. Click here for Aspen Choral Society photos.