A Messiah for everyone

High school music directors hope to spur interest in the arts

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Planned meetings and rehearsals

Where: In the Moffat County High School choir room

• 6 to 7 p.m. Oct. 21 (Organizational meeting, all interested parties please attend)

• 6:30 to 9 p.m. Nov. 27

• 6:30 to 9 p.m. Nov. 29

• 6:30 to 9 p.m. Dec. 7

• 6:30 to 9 p.m. Dec. 13

• 6:30 to 9 p.m. Dec. 15

• 6:30 to 9 p.m. Dec. 18

• 6:30 to 9 p.m. Dec. 19 (Dress rehearsal)

— Sean Teets and John Bolton live music, and they think there are others in Northwest Colorado who share that passion.

The two men work together at Moffat County High School - Teets is the choir director, and Bolton is the band director - but they want to do something that reaches beyond the building.

"Messiah," planned for Dec. 20 at the high school auditorium, is the first project they hope will spearhead public interest in the performing arts. It is a traditional oratorio - an orchestral and choral performance of religious music - often times performed at Christmastime.

The plan is to perform the first act, which centers on the Messiah's herald and his birth. Teets and Bolton also look to perform "Hallelujah Chorus," the oratorio's most famous musical number, which usually closes the second act.

"We wanted to do something to involve the whole community," Teets said. "We want something to bring the community together."

A project like this has been a long time in the making, Bolton added.

"This is something that has been missing from our community," he said. "We lack an ensemble that involves a large quantity of people. I think we have a lot of talented people in our community that don't have an outlet for the talents they learned in high school and college."

Bolton grew up in Helena, Mont., where townspeople would meet at a cathedral and perform throughout the year. "Messiah" is a piece Bolton grew up with every year, and he is looking forward to being involved instead of sitting in the audience.

This production is for anyone interested, Teets said. He and Bolton have contacted people in the local area who might be interested in performing for the orchestra.

So far, interest has been positive, they said. Several teachers and students from the high school have come by for information.

For the students, Teets and Bolton want this project to change their attitudes about choir and music.

"Their attitude is that choir is something they take as a class," Bolton said. "They don't seem to understand human beings sing. We play music. These are things we do as a matter of living."

The two will be working with Julia Foster, the high school choir accompanist, "who is kind of invaluable for what we do," Teets said. There is also an effort to bring in a vocal major from a regional college to perform as a soloist.

There need to be other soloists and orchestra performers, as well, and the search has turned up some interest in Rangely, although anyone from the area is welcome to audition and use their own instruments.

Everyone interested will have a role, Teets said. The performance will be free and open to the public.

People interested in participating can call Teets or Bolton at the high school at 824-7031, or they may show up at the first meeting, from 6 to 7 p.m. Oct. 21 in the high school choir room.

Collin Smith can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 209, or at cesmith@craigdailypress.com

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