The major choral and symphonic piece, “Mass of the Children,” by celebrated English composer John Rutter, will be performed for the first time in the Roaring Fork Valley

Aspen, CO (April 25, 2019) – “Music that Connects Us” is the theme of the unique collaborative spring concert series celebrating the 25th anniversary season of Symphony in the Valley.  “Music that Connects Us” will be performed throughout the Roaring Fork Valley over Mother’s’ Day Weekend, May 10-12. The concerts will – for the first time ever – join the forces of Symphony in the Valley, Aspen Choral Society, and High Country Sinfonia in the Mass of the Children, a piece that celebrates children and motherhood.  

Mass of the Children is a major symphonic and choral work by English composer John Rutter, and serves as the centerpiece of “Music that Connects Us.”  Paul Dankers is the Aspen Choral Society’s Music Director and Conductor. “John Rutter is a living composer who writes beautiful, joyful music. Mass of the Children is a wonderful piece to sing, but it requires a full orchestra accompaniment to truly appreciate the force of its majesty,” said Dankers. “Joining together provides a rare opportunity for the orchestra, choir, and the audience to truly experience this piece.” He added, “The audience will also be treated to the voices of students from the Maroon Bel Canto Choirs Program who will be featured in Mass of the Children.”  Mr. Dankers will conduct Mass of the Children throughout the spring concert series.

Kelly Thompson, Music Director and Conductor of Symphony in the Valley, has led the orchestra through an exciting and innovative 25th anniversary season that included presentations of silent movie music performed to the movies themselves, collaboration with two local ballet studios to perform the Nutcracker, and the ever-popular Symphony Swing ballroom event at the Hotel Colorado. “I am thrilled that we can present a major work like this as the finale to our 25th anniversary celebration – having voices and instruments performing together is a joyful experience for the musicians and the audience,” said Thompson.  He added, “I’m very pleased that our celebratory concert will include gorgeous works by Walton, Sheldon, Rutter, Spears, Beethoven and Copland – composers whose music connects us to each other through folk melodies and rich orchestration. ”

The inclusion of High Country Sinfonia in the collaboration will provide the additional grandeur called for in the scoring of the piece by John Rutter. Wendy Larson is the Coordinator of High Country Sinfonia. “High Country Sinfonia is excited to join this unique collaborative effort,” said Larson. “As a string orchestra, our performing repertoire could never include such a massive symphonic work alone, so this is a unique opportunity for us.” High Country Sinfonia will also perform several short chamber pieces by Bach, Mozart and Bartók during the concert. Ms. Larson is the former Music Director and Conductor of Symphony in the Valley and has been invited to conduct the pieces by Beethoven and Copland with Symphony in the Valley as part of the finale of their 25th anniversary season.

An exciting element of the concert series is that it will be performed from one end of the Roaring Fork Valley to the other. Concerts will be held Friday, May 10th at 7pm in Aspen (Harris Hall), Saturday, May 11th at 7pm in Rifle (Ute Theater), and on Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 12th at 4pm, in Glenwood Springs (Glenwood Springs High School).  

Additional information and tickets for all performances are available at and

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About Symphony in the Valley (SITV)

Symphony in the Valley musicians are people from all walks of life living in Garfield, Eagle, Pitkin, Rio Blanco, and Mesa counties who come together for the love of live classical music. The orchestra typically performs twin concerts in Glenwood Springs and Rifle, Colorado in the months of October, December, March, and May, as well as Independence Day concerts in July.

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.

About High Country Sinfonia (HCS)

High Country Sinfonia is a small chamber orchestra comprised of semi-professional and professional musicians in the Roaring Fork Valley. It was founded in 2015 by Wendy Larson from the inspiration of Ritchie Zah. They perform the major chamber orchestra repertoire without a conductor. All of the musicians have formal training in their instrument. They normally perform two concert “seasons” a year in venues up and down the Roaring Fork Valley. They strive to have their concerts appeal to a general concert-going public.

Contact information for Interviews with SITV, ACS, or HCS:

Liz Winn, ACS Marketing & Public Relations

(c) 720-224-6507