Our children have been the brave bearers of much of the oddity of the last year and a half. From masks at school to rearranged extracurriculars, they have taught us lessons in resilience and flexibility—and so it feels especially good to make things as normal as possible for them right now.
Evergreen Children’s Chorale (ECC), the longstanding, premier, mountain area children’s performance group, was swept up into the makeshift rules and schedules, and last year, due to COVID, all ECC productions were canceled. This year, ECC Company and Prelude are back and bigger than ever, and they’re preparing their first performances for next month.
“Kids who have been in ECC for many years are glad to have some sense of normalcy back in our rehearsal space, the larger number of rehearsals and songs, field trips, and are looking forward to a musical in the spring,” said Kristin Courington, ECC’s business manager. “Over half of the membership is brand-new this year and they seem excited for the opportunity to be part of ECC when it wasn’t as available last year.”
Company, ECC’s group for students in 5th-8th grades, will kick off the celebratory performances with the holiday-timed “Seasons of Love” concert, which will certainly pay tribute to the sense of community found in ECC since its inception three decades ago. “The music selection reflects favorites from the past 30 years of ECC, with modern hits, holiday classics and, of course, a fun sneak peak song from ‘Moana,’ their spring 2022 musical,” said Courington.
Twenty-five years ago, ECC added Prelude, a program for kids in 2nd-4th grades, so that the younger ones could enjoy a high quality musical program and prepare for the larger expectations of Company. Prelude will perform their “High Hopes” concert next month as well, featuring songs from Katy Perry, Harry Styles, Panic at the Disco and more.
While everyone is highly anticipating these upcoming concerts, the kids are happy even to be back in rehearsals. “ECC has always been a place where kids can come together and let off steam after a long day of school,” Courington explained. “They can express themselves through singing, see their friends from other schools, and have the rewarding feeling at the end of a show season, seeing how their hard work paid off. They learn how to work together and the value of being part of a team.”
These 2021 performances represent much to celebrate, including the dedication and work of Lindy Casados, who has been with ECC for 25 years. “She’s been an incredible asset to the organization,” Courington said. “Her extra energy and dedication this year has been so exciting to watch and will definitely come through in the quality of the performances.”
The announcement is the first of many changes for ECC. Stage Director Gail Montgomery will also be stepping down following the spring 2022 performances, after giving eight years to the program. Change is bittersweet, but shifts focus to the new, the exciting. Courington noted, “This year we have two new assistant directors who bring tons of experience as elementary music educators. Anne Schatz has joined ECC’s Company after years of community choir experience in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Cortez Daniel is working with our Prelude students and brings experience from teaching music in Iowa and as a performer himself in the Denver area.”
All of these wonderful visionaries have contributed to the December concerts, which will be open to the community. Company will perform “Seasons of Love” on Saturday, December 4 at 7 pm and Sunday, December 5 at 2 pm. The following weekend, Prelude’s “High Hopes” debuts on Friday, December 10 at 7 pm and runs again on Saturday, December 11 at 2 pm. You can find more information at evergreenchildrenschorale.com/concerts. Tickets can also be purchased online, or call 303.674.9004.
Courington added that ECC is especially grateful for the generous support of the mountain communities. “This year, individual donations to our programs were the largest in its history,” she said, including that it really is about the kids. “They are so excited to be able to come together and sing and feel the love from a community that supports them.”