Our day began early, with everyone deposited by twos and threes at Rocky Mountain HS by 7:30 a.m. It takes dedicated students who love to sing to show up ready to make music at that hour, but this school has an amazing program filled with just those kinds of students. They apparently have a Friday ritual that Singers were allowed to join them in—but I have to admit I’m not quite sure what to call it. A DVD was played of a man leading an exercise dance; some kind of jazzercise with a bit of disco mixed in. The phrase that will remain with us for a while is “Double dream hands!” All choirs participated in this, and it did serve the purpose of waking us up with some movement and laughter.
This was really a wonderful two hours for us, as the three of the choirs of this HS there this morning sang good literature beautifully, and with heart. The main choral conductor here is Timothy Tharaldson, who is also a fine composer. It is obvious that he cares for his students very much, and they respond well. BYU Singers have his “Rest” in their repertoire this year (Matt Nielsen conducts it) and it was as much a treat for the choir to sing it for Tim as it was for him to hear the choir. He will be conducting them in their performance of it tonight, so he was happy to have a little extra rehearsal time with them this morning when Dr. Staheli left to dash to Denver for a radio interview before the afternoon rehearsals begin.
The choir was then taken to Colorado State University, where Singers alumnus Dr. Todd Queen met us to set us straight geographically, and then set us loose for a few hours before the next rehearsal. Todd is Chair of the Department of Music, Theatre and Dance at CSU; it is an added to pleasure to be hosted by a member of our Singers family. He gave us a quick tour of the School of the Arts building, which is an old high school that was renovated to be a stunning state of the art home for dance, theater, art and music. The architect did a magnificent job of keeping bits of the old high school (stairway railings, some original floors as examples) to remind them of the original purpose of the building while still incorporating beauty and current technology. It is worth the trip to Fort Collins to see.
After lunch, exploring, sleeping, visiting, iPad games and all sorts of other amusements, BYU Singers took the stage in the incredible Edna Rizley Griffin Concert Hall to do a bit of rehearsing and positioning. Then the Rocky Mountain Singers, CSU Chamber Choir and BYU Singers were rehearsed by Tim Tharaldson in his “Rest,” the closing number of this evening’s concert.
Rocky Mountain Singers and CSU Chamber Singers (James Kim, conductor) each sang a short set of pieces to begin the evening. We knew the RM Singers from this morning, and they sang well tonight. It was great to hear the CSU Chamber Singers; their Lauridsen “Mid-Winter Songs” were wonderful. The Griffin Hall has a resident choir to match its beauty. The choir and Dr. Staheli were thrilled to sing in this concert hall, which is truly a gem. Its design and the wood are beautiful, and make singing effortless. Singers sang a little heavier concert tonight than the last three nights, but it was absolutely appropriate to the setting. And the night truly flew by. All of the concerts on this tour have been well sung and well received, but tonight’s was a high point for me. I’ll let the photos end this blog entry.