Pueblo Children's Chorale

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"Magic of Music" Spring Concert May 11, 2013 Concert Review by the Pueblo Chieftain

Varied chorale concert a delight

Saturday afternoon at Hoag Hall on the campus of Colorado State University-Pueblo was the place to hear the Pueblo Children’s Chorale performing their spring concert before a large, enthusiastic audience.

Admittedly, evidence of that enthusiasm came from proud parents, other relatives and friends, cheerleaders for the 45voice chorale.

The chorale’s program was varied, you might say quite eclectic, stretching from classical to modern genres directed by Brook Mead and Zachary Friberg, and accompanied by Lori Judkins, piano.

Guest artists were from Centennial High School; a choral group, “Una Voce,” directed by Mead, displayed an impressive blend of their 25 voices in a cappella form. They performed three pieces, ranging from spiritual, traditional to 16th century, ending with a work by Paul McCartney, an interesting trio, well performed. There were two excellent solos.

Next on the program was a performance by the Centennial High School string quartet, “Da Capo,” in works by Vivaldi, Pachelbel and Mozart. Members of the string quartet are Julius Chi, violin; Fausto Rosales, violin; Kristin Miller, viola and Christopher Wells, cello. These young musicians performed surprisingly well in these familiar but demanding pieces.

The chorale then returned to the stage and the string quartet remained, to accompany the chorale, along with Judkins on piano, and conducted by Mead in a choral work by Handel. The result was a musical treat.

After the strings departed, the chorale performed several compositions conducted by Mead and accompanied by Judkins, with impressive solo work by Tristan Shiflett.

Following a spiritual, “Didn’t My Lord Deliver Daniel,” the chorale performed a lively treatment of a medley of songs from “Mary Poppins,” directed by Friberg and accompanied by Judkins.

Christina Andersen, executive director of the chorale, recognized alumni and awarded members for their long-term service, the audience applauding enthusiastically.

All in all, a delightful way to spend a Saturday afternoon of music.




By PIERRE KENYON | pierre@citystar.com | Posted: Sunday, May 6, 2012 12:00 am
Proud parents, grandparents, siblings and friends responded enthusiastically to a performance by the Pueblo Children's Chorale Saturday afternoon at Hoag Hall on the campus of Colorado State University-Pueblo.
Brook Mead, director, and Zachary Friberg, associate director, helped the young choristers in memorizing the music, responding to the dynamics, learning the words and working with the support of parents and teachers.

No small task by all concerned.

The discipline involved in these activities, some say, builds character and encourages good results in the classroom in other subjects. I tend to agree.
After all, these young singers are part of our future, most of whom will be high achievers in school, college and beyond. Therefore, how well they do now has a bearing on this process.

I'm happy to report that the Chorale performed very well in this concert billed as "Sweet Sixteen . . . Spring Concert," signifying the Chorale's 16th year.

First on the program was an exciting piece, "Somagwanza," which Mead directed while wearing and beating a bongo drum as the young singers filed in and mounted the risers, a nice effect.

The singers displayed good projection with this piece and another from Africa, "Dansi Na Kumba" (dance and sing in Swahili); Mead still with a bongo beat and accompanied by Lori Judkins on piano.

Friberg took over to conduct "Obwisana," presumably also of African origin; the Chorale showing good dynamics and good rhythms.

Mead returned to direct a British folk tune, "Over the Sea to Skye," a song I haven't heard for more than 50 years. I sensed sentimental sensitivities, good harmony and nice accompaniment by Judkins. The ending was impressive with sustained notes by the singers.

Friberg then returned to conduct another sea chanty, less sentimental, with more jolly treatment, interesting changes in tempo and pronounced dynamics.

Christina Anderson, executive director, then introduced a number of very young local guest artists who displayed considerable talent and played valiantly.

Mead and the Chorale returned to the stage to perform a Scottish lullaby, "Coulter Candy," and a piece by John Rutter, "For the Beauty of the Earth."

This music was nicely performed; the 40 voices blended well and their enunciation was impressive.

After Anderson awarded a number of singers for their service, the Chorale ended the concert with a lovely rendition of "Children of the World," a fitting finale. The audience, over half filling the hall, rose to its feet, shouting and clapping with its appreciation.

All this in a well-earned response to a fine performance by the Chorale.



Children's chorales share cultural pride

By JOANNE DODDS | Posted: Friday, April 13, 2012 12:00 am

Whenever children perform there is magic in the air. The Pueblo Children's Chorale and Ugandan Orphans Choir performance last night was no exception.

It had taken a year to coordinate the event. A host of local sponsors provided food for the children and use of the Olde Towne Carriage House hall. The resulting performance was unique.

The evening opened with the Pueblo Children's Chorale singing songs honoring Africa, a sea chantey and "Children of the World." The choice of songs were respectful of the Chorale's guests and each was nicely done. "Somagwaza" was a pretty opening song. The children obviously enjoyed performing "Obwisana," which featured clapping along with singing.

The Ugandan Orphans Choir was next. Their performance was not typical. It was genuine, well-done and fun to watch but not what one would expect. In the past, African choirs have tended to be copies of European choirs. The difference was in the songs and the music.

Last night, a bit of tribal life came to Pueblo. Handmade instruments, energetic dancing and songs celebrating Ugandan life took the audience to another place and musical heritage.

The children were barefoot. The girls wore bright orange tops and a sort of bustle made of straw and black feathers. At times the bustle shook with a vigor that was faster than the eye could follow.

Unfortunately, the hall lacked a stage and the audience could not see much of the body movements. Nevertheless, the children's zest and energy transcended any technical problems.

Which takes us back to the magic that is a part of any performance by children. As the line from the song "Children of the World" declared children "seem to light the way." They certainly did last night.

The Ugandan Orphans Choir will perform at the Buell Children's Museum today at 2 p.m. Tickets are $4.

The Pueblo Children's Chorale Spring Concert at Colorado State University-Pueblo Hoag Hall will be May 5 at 3 p.m.


"Sweet Sixteen...What a Hoot" All Pueblo Reads concert Reviews! - October 2011

Give a Hoot!

-John M. Valdez, PPAG Reviewer

“Give a Hoot, Don’t Pollute.” Are you old enough to remember this Woodsy Owl campaign? I remember as a child having a great coloring book with Woodsy, I loved it. Today kids are far more complex, far more educated, and dynamic. But they can still be swept away by a good book, and owl story.

This year’s “All Pueblo Reads,” music concert promoted the wonderfully rich story of a group of students who are fighting to save an owl sanctuary from a greedy restaurant developer. Carl Hiaasen’s book “Hoot” provided the perfect backdrop.

The Pueblo Children’s Chorale opened its 16th season with the show, “Sweet Sixteen…What a Hoot” along with guest choirs from South Mesa Elementary and Centennial High-School. South Mesa, the first choir to take the stage set the mood fro the night of fun.

The full-house crowd watched as the choir along with their director, Harriet Warren took the stage in costumes and their bare feet, their tribute to the book’s characters. The students were charming, and spot on with song and dance were an absolute awesome opening performance.

Next on stage was Centennial’s Schola Cantorum, under the direction of Mr. Brook Mead. Having filled in for a missing choir and late to planning they had songs of their own to perform, they were outstanding. As a choir performer and tenor since grade school I was blown away and amazed to hear Bass Dmytro Muradov start the choir’s version of Faithfully. Basses rarely get solos. The choir also had us cheering at their rocking and fun rendition of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody.

The Pueblo Children’s Chorale also under Brook’s direction took the stage next. Their set of wonderfully sweet songs included a very stunning and touching version of Alan Menken’s Colors of the Wind, a fitting tribute to the book’s environmental theme. Having followed the Chorale for some time now it is wonderful to see a different energy and new path they are taking. Mr. Mead has taken this group of students with a large number of first timers to new exciting heights.

Again as a member of many different choirs during my long life I tend to notice things others might miss. One young man in the front row was a particular joy to watch. Sid Gangar broke many rules, including keep your hands out of your pockets, tuck in your shirt, and no dancing unless it’s choreographed. All this aside this young boy was a true representation of the love of music that he seemed to sum up the entire nights performance. Watching him I’m sure made many others smile as well.

The last song of the evening was performed by all three choirs. Easily over 120 students on stage at once singing Michael Jackson’s Heal the World” was a perfect ending to a terrific night of music. A hardy well done to all involved, and special “shout-out” to Mrs. Christina Anderson, Executive Director of Pueblo Children’s Chorale. For more information please visit the group’s website, www.pueblochildrenschorale.org.


Children's choirs a fall delight

Posted: Wednesday, October 19, 2011 12:00 am

On Tuesday evening while we enjoyed the approaching coolness of autumn, and as we wended our way up the hill to Hoag Hall, we might have pondered how the Pueblo Children's Chorale would perform in concert under its new music director, Brook Mead.

 What difference would a new music director make, one might ask. Over the years I've enjoyed and reviewed (both) the performances of the Pueblo Children's Chorale under the direction of Betsy Barto, Ken Butcher and Jennifer Shadle-Peters, all getting various responses out of these young singers, and most of them entertaining.

"Hey, that's my daughter you're talking about!" Parents, grandparents and friends loyally attend these concerts and entertain their own biases, understandably.However, it's important to support the efforts of these young singers. Who knows, a few of them may become outstanding musicians in later years as they mature. And some academicians believe that those who study and perform music do well in other subjects in school, apart from the benefits that music itself brings.

 As we waited for the program to begin there was an ever-swelling chatter from the large audience. Call it pre-enthusiasm for what excitement the concert would bring. I should mention at the outset that the Pueblo Children's Chorale was joined by two other choirs, namely, South Mesa Elementary School, directed by Harriet Warren, and Centennial High School's Schola Cantorum also directed by Mead.

 To start off the program, the South Mesa choir came on stage accompanied by a recorded song. Seven kids then read from a designated text, one by one. All on stage were barefoot, in the Halloween spirit, I suppose. The first number was Guthrie's "This Land is Your Land." They sang with enthusiasm including gestures, Warren directing.

 The second number, with more gestures, was accompanied by a recorded song by Jimmy Buffet, "Barefootin," you guessed it. Then followed "Back of the Bus" which looked more like a gym class with all its jumping around and somewhat resembling a square dance, the kids seemed to be enjoying themselves. Good moves but not much singing, at least that could be heard over the recorded music.

 By contrast, the Schola Cantorum group came on stage, resplendent in their costumes, to sing three numbers. They sang a cappella in a nice blend of harmonies. Their number encountered a glitch by the sound boys, but soon to be forgotten by excellent singing with funky gestures accompanied by a recorded band.

 In an interval, Christina Anderson, executive director of the Chorale, honored those who supported the efforts that brought about this concert.

 The Chorale came on stage to sing three numbers, directed by Mead and accompanied by Lori Judkins on piano. The 40-odd voices provided a nice blend with good projection and phrasing.

 The grand finale included all singers from all choirs on stage, about 200 strong to sing "Heal the World" by Michael Jackson. The singing seemed heartfelt as it was appropriate. Altogether a fine show with participants in fine form. The standing ovation was well deserved.

 The Chorale will appear in a Christmas concert with the Pueblo Choral Society on Dec. 3, at 3 p.m. at Praise Assembly Church.

Review of 15th Anniversary Concert, May 2011, "Simply Classic"

Simply Classic After 15 Years 
John Valdez, PPAG Reviewer

One cold January day in 1996 five highly talented women in Pueblo sat down and talked about starting a singing group; a group that would work exclusively with young people of Pueblo. And so, as with all tasks started by women it was completed and became a huge success. The following year Mr. Kenneth Butcher joined as Music Director and the Pueblo Children’s Chorale was on its way to becoming the pinnacle of children’s choirs in Southern Colorado.

The group has sung for a variety of audiences across Colorado, including the Lt. Governor. In 2004 Miss America Ericka Dunlap sang with the group. In 2000 the Chorale traveled to our nation’s capital. Throughout the years the chorale has had a number of Music Directors. The current Dr. Jennifer Shadle Peters made the 15th Anniversary concert her farewell performance. She chose a perfect way to say good-bye. Having attended chorale concerts over many years the show on May 7, 2011 at Hoag Hall was hands down one of the finest I have ever seen. Right from the start the audience that nearly filled the hall was on the edge of their seats. The opening songs Alleluia and Kyrie put the crowd in a wonderful soothing mood.

As the show moved along we were treated to three performances other than the chorale. First a lovely solo by the current Miss Pueblo Gina Rossi. A group of former Chorale members brought the crowd back in time with a great rendition of “My Girl.” However the crowd was completely enthralled with the absolutely stunning Audrey McCaw. Audrey will be studying at The Orange County School for the Performing Arts this fall. Her performance showed us all why she made the cut.

The audience was then introduced to the new Music Director. A Pueblo native and member of the terrific band, Martini Shot, and current music teacher at Centennial High School, Mr. Brook Mead. He jumped right in with an amazing version of the Irving Berlin classic, “Blue Skies”, this reviewer sees Mr. Mead taking the chorale to new places and new heights, so be ready.

The concert was brought to a close with a charming new song composed by the first Chorale Director Mr. Kenneth Butcher. The song entitled “Pueblo Children’s Chorale Celebration” got the crowd on its feet and cheering. It’s typical in critical reviews to also say something the performers could improve upon. For a while I was hard pressed to find it. Then I saw something. It may seem minor but as a performer myself I was deeply bothered. One of the young performers in the choir had a look and attitude of boredom and arrogance while singing in the large group. It really at times took away from the amazing performance.

Congrats go out to Executive Director Mrs. Christina Anderson and all involved for a top-notch performance. If you know a young singer who is looking to broaden their singing talent then please call, 719-320-0922. Sign them up to audition for this terrific group. You can also visit their web site at www.pueblochildrenschorale.org You can also see them for their last performance of the season along with the Houston Boys Choir on
June 6, 2011.


More reviews for the Pueblo Children's Chorale can be found at:



Pueblo Choral Society and Children's Chorale sing in the holidays

By ANDREW JONES, The Pueblo Chieftain

Dust off the Santa hats; it's that time of year for good cheer and carols.

The Pueblo Choral Society, under the direction of Dana Ihm and accompanied by Barbara Beck, brought holiday cheer to the Pueblo community Saturday afternoon at Praise Assembly of God church. The cherubic Pueblo Children's Chorale lent a hand in ringing in the holidays.

The large audience was treated to a traditional, sacred program at the start of the free concert. Songs such as "Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming" fit the decor of starry Christmas trees and bright poinsettias.

Handel's "Messiah" brought out the best in the sopranos, and raised the audience out of their seats as the triumphant "Hallelujah" began.

The Children's Chorale joined the festivities to encourage the audience to sing along with holiday staples "Joy to the World" and "O Come All Ye Faithful."

Even Ihm added her voice to the dozens of others filling the church. With so many singing classic Christmas songs, it was hard to believe there weren't drifts of snow or horse-drawn sleighs waiting outside.

Then the Children's Chorale was featured, beginning with the quiet "Something Told the Wild Geese," which perfectly suited the light voices of the choir. The accompaniment of Lori Judkins and direction of Jennifer Shadle-Peters guided the kids. Not a note was missed by the talented youngsters. The sections of the children's choir complemented each other well, singing in unison or building lovely major 4th and 5th harmonies.

Once again, the audience was asked to participate in the singing, this time in "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and "Frosty the Snowman." The crowd was a bit more enthusiastic about these tunes, especially the kids in the crowd.

The Choral Society wrapped up the program with more secular, lighthearted selections. The group, with their brand of harmony, gave new life to often-heard songs such as "White Christmas" and "Silver Bells."

Although the Choral Society always delivers a spot-on performance, the tenors inevitably are dominated by the sheer numbers of the surrounding sections. One can imagine how much fuller the sound could be with a larger tenor section.

But it says a lot that a chorale could be left wanting in an entire section and still deliver a powerful program. The Children's Chorale gave a beautifully soft set of songs that evoked the feeling of a quiet, snowy December night by the fire.

Only Christmas songs can get the Grinchiest of Grinches into the yuletide spirit. When it's the Pueblo Choral Society or the Children's Chorale singing, hearts will at least grow three sizes.

The Children's Chorale, which is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year, will be perform its winter concert at 3 p.m. today CSU-Pueblo's Hoag Hall. For ticket information, call 546-2309.



This was in the Pueblo Chieftain on October 21, 2010:

As the designated reviewer of a combined choirs concert at Hoag Hall on the campus of Colorado State University-Pueblo on Tuesday night, I arrived a bit early. The ambiance was somewhat agitated as a great gaggle of youngsters was already emitting sounds somewhere between a steady hum and a dull roar.

However, it is always a pleasure for me to comment on the performances of young singers, essentially because they represent part of our future in the music world and elsewhere. Who knows how they will turn out? No doubt they will excel in various fields, but we know that they are getting a good start, thanks to parents, music teachers and many others supporting this activity.

The Pueblo Children’s Choir acted as host and performed as well on their own and in combined choirs, some 100 plus singers in all.

Many individuals and organizations were involved in what has become an annual event, notably the Pueblo City-County Library District and its “All Pueblo Reads” project.

The concert was introduced by Christina Anderson, executive director of the Pueblo Children’s Chorale, who faced a lively very-nearly full house.

First to perform was a 17-voice choir from Fountain International Magnet School, directed by Carolyn Smith. They sang unaccompanied by gestures, no mean feat. The "Sioux Lullaby" was impressive in putting some of us in a wistful, sleepy mood.

Pueblo West Elementary School choir, some 40-strong, directed by Gary Hopkins, then performed four songs, including some jumbled but amusing moves. Their rendition of “Children Of The World” was effective, as was a song about a Navajo legend, “I Move Swiftly With The Rainbow.” As a change of pace, “Give Me Your Eyes,” accompanied by guitar and drums, recorded, was sung in unison. As their final piece, the choir sang what appeared to be a favorite, “A Song Of Peace,” as the choristers perked up a bit.

The Pueblo Children’s Chorale — I counted 30-plus voices — showed their stuff in singing three songs by displaying precision in harmonies and a good blend of their voices, responding to fine directing by Jennifer Shadle-Peters. Their rendition of the song, “The Black Snake Wind,” was particularly impressive. I suspect the choristers really enjoyed singing this number as they seemed to brighten up their performance a bit, much to the enjoyment of the audience.

For the grand finale, the three choirs joined together to perform “We are Here,” a song with Navajo origins. They all sang well under the direction of Dr. Shadle-Peters and as accompanied by Lori Judkins on piano. It was quite a sight to see and hear as these 100 voices entertaining an appreciative audience, which responded with extended applause, shouts and whistles.

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