Everybody I speak to seems to be utterly transfixed and intoxicated by the stunning canvas of foliage that surrounds us and reminds us why we live exactly right here, right now. For my part, the leaves remind me that some of my favorite things will soon be starting up, for example, rehearsals for Handel’s “Messiah!” (And ACT’s production of “Nunsense” which Lynnette Schlepp is directing, but I digress…)

To the 81 of you who responded to our survey last Spring, I say a big “Thank You!” Your feedback gave the board lots of useful information on which to base some big decisions this year (including rehearsal date, time, format & location.) Please read on carefully, because we have some exciting changes in the works!

First, and most importantly, we are unifying our choir. We will no longer be the “Up Valley” and “Down Valley” choir. In the future, we will be rehearsing the entire choir together at a nearly perfectly central location, Grace Church of Emma: 1776 Emma Road, Basalt, CO 81621. We realize that this will not please everybody, but based on the survey, we believe that for those who are able to attend rehearsals, it will be a much stronger experience all the way around–there is strength in numbers! If you need help coordinating a car pool, please contact our Choral Manager, Stacey Weiss.

Rehearsals will be held on Tuesday evenings from 6:30 to 8:30 PM, beginning October 21st. We will again have a rehearsal requirement this year. There will be a total of 6 regular rehearsals and 1 dress rehearsal. Out of these 7 rehearsals, we hope that everybody will attend as many as they reasonably can work into their schedule. We will require a minimum of 4 of the 6 rehearsals plus the dress rehearsal. Singers who sang with me last year using the new Novello score *may* choose to skip the first 2 rehearsals, which I will use to focus on learning the notes and interpretation in sectionals. All of us can use a brush up, but for those who have difficulty with the time commitment, these would be the 2 rehearsals to miss. New singers should plan not to miss any rehearsals, but certainly not the first 2 rehearsals. We also expect that singers will make every effort to attend each of the 4 performances.

If your schedule will not allow you to meet our rehearsal and concert expectations but would like to still sing with us, we *may* allow exceptions on a case-by-case basis. Please contact our choral manager, Stacey Weiss, and share your extenuating circumstances and she will do her best to find an equitable balance between maintaining the integrity of the group and allowing for the various exceptions that inevitably arise.

So… if you know of somebody who did not sing last year, it is important to get them out to the very first rehearsal and maybe you will want to join them for a “brush-up” as well. Here is the full schedule:

Rehearsal: Tuesday, October 21, 6:30 to 8:30 PM, Grace Church
Rehearsal: Tuesday, October 28, 6:30 to 8:30 PM, Grace Church
Rehearsal: Tuesday, November 4; Stay tuned, Time & Place TBA
Rehearsal: Tuesday, November 11, 6:30 to 8:30 PM, Grace Church
Rehearsal: Tuesday, November 18, 6:30 to 8:30 PM, Grace Church
Rehearsal: Tuesday, November 25, 6:30 to 8:30 PM, Grace Church
Choir Dress Rehearsal: Tuesday, December 2, 6:30 to 8:30 PM, Grace Church
Soloist Dress Rehearsal: Wednesday, December 3, 6:30 to 8:30 PM, Grace Church
Performance: Thursday, December 4, 7:30 PM, Grace Church
Performance: Friday, December 5, 7:30 PM, Snowmass Chapel
Performance: Saturday, December 6, 7:30 PM, Wheeler Opera House
Performance: Sunday, December 7, 7:30 PM, Methodist Church of Glenwood Springs

The board is working hard to reduce the costs incurred by ACS, but even so, financial realities have led us to ask the choristers to pay $25 in membership dues per season. Please be assured that no one will be turned away due to financial constraints, we just ask that you contribute to the sustainability of the organization and we thank you in advance for your help!

Lastly, you can help! ACS is primarily a volunteer organization and accomplishes amazing things through the work of people like yourself. First, please invite your friends who sing to join us. Share this e-mail on Facebook and forward it to your friends, but don’t stop there. Make a few phone calls and extend a personal invitation. We especially need basses and this is the most effective method I know of to recruit people who are missing out on a good time singing with us. Second, ACS needs help with various committees including publicity, fund raising, ushers, equipment wrangling and so on. If you can volunteer, please drop me an e-mail and I will add you to my spreadsheet.

For planning purposes, we need to know who will be singing with us this year. At your earliest convenience, please send a note to Stacey Weiss and let her know which voice part (Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass) you will be singing.

I believe that with our combined work, we can make this year’s “Messiah” the best yet–both musically and socially. I can’t wait to see you in 3 weeks–please put these dates on the calendar and make it a priority to enrich your life and the lives of others with your singing talents.

Love and hugs to each of you,

~Paul Dankers
Music Director
Aspen Choral Society

Ps. Did you see the video from our performance last year? Check it out on YouTube!