Telluride Choral Society’s WinterSing: 12/10 & 12/12!

Telluride Choral Society’s WinterSing: 12/10 & 12/12!

Performances of the Telluride Choral Society’s WinterSing 2021 will take place Friday, December 10, 7:00 p.m and Sunday, December 12, 4:00 p.m. at Christ Church. Tickets are $20 for adults; $10 for children at the door. 

In Telluride and around the world certain songs make-up the soundtrack of December, evoking images of Jack Frost nipping at your nose.

The holiday is Chipmunks and Charlie Brown, Grinches and Scrooges. It is Rudolph and giant conifers, baked ham and chestnuts roasting on an open fire, and one too many tipples of eggnog. The season is also classic movies such as “It’s A Wonderful Life” and “Miracle on 34th Street.” But most of all, Christmas is music. Perhaps no other holiday in the world is more closely associated with music than Christmas, whose evolution as a cultural phenomenon is reflected in those sounds.

As Christmas became more secular, spiritual songs were largely supplanted by chestnuts such as Rudolph, sleigh bells ring (are you listening?). And if you scan that list, guess who wrote the biggest Christmas hits? Answer: ironically, Jewish composers such as Irving Berlin (“White Christmas”); Mel Torme (“The Christmas Song”); and Felix Bernard (“Winter Wonderland’), etc. Fact is we live in multicultural times, when the blending and mixing of peoples and traditions is inevitable – and that is a good thing, especially in the face of global socio-cultural trends to the contrary.

Locally, Christmas music means the Telluride Choral Society’s WinterSing, one of the premier opening events of the holiday season, under the able direction of Rhonda Muckerman. The theme of WinterSing 2021?  “A New Joy!” Everyone involved is thrilled to finally be reunited after 1.5- year pandemic hiatus. Sadly though, this concert marks Rhonda’s swan song. Following the weekend performances, after 12 years as artistic director, Rhonda is retiring her baton.

“Singing in masks won’t stop us from celebrating the season with some of our favorite holiday music,” said Rhonda.“The Choristers, OmniVoce, the Chorale and Chamber Singers will delight your ears and warm your hearts with selections from near and far, both new and nostalgic. And we are honored to be accompanied by Susan Ensor, Travis Fisher, MaryBeth Tukman and Alan Bradley.”

Telluride Choral Society and Rhonda Muckerman, a byte of history:

Rhonda Muckerman, the talented and professionally generous artistic director of the Telluride Choral Society.

An inspired musician and teacher named John Yankee was the driving force behind and first director of the Telluride Choral Society. That was back in 1995. Yankee created a community within a community for both kids and adults, and developed the ever popular “Sings.”

When Yankee left in 2002, Dr. David Lingle stepped into those large boots, leaving his distinct imprint on Telluride’s sonic landscape: Masterworks, musicals with the Telluride Repertory Theatre, collaborations with the Telluride Dance Academy. After Lingle left town for red dirt country (and another chorus to lead) Rhonda Muckerman took up his baton.

It all began when Rhonda was on a Grail quest to find her spiritual family and moved to Telluride – a place she saw in a dream, but had never heard of – right around the time Yankee & Friends founded the Choral Society. She pulled into town one balmy July day when lots of people were milling around Main Street and a film by Almodovar was playing at The Nugget. A foreign film in a pea-sized town? Promising.

A meeting with Telluride Choral Society member/music teacher Ulli Sir Jesse sealed the deal. After a brief trip back to Seattle where she had been teaching music, Rhonda returned in August and had 25 students within a month. In short order, she also met her husband-to-be, Peter Muckerman, at a meditation class, an event two psychics in San Diego predicted would happen:

En route to the Telluride Choral Society’s podium, Rhonda taught kids brass and woodwind, sang in Yankee’s Telluride Chorale (only auditioned singers), and joined the a cappella group Heartbeat.

The rest is a history of memorable music events.

Rhonda Muckerman will be sorely missed for her talent as a conductor and teacher, her poise and grace as a human being.

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