The Saratoga Sun -

Saratoga choir 'tunes up' for Sunday concert


FW Broschart

The Saratoga Community Choir rehearses for the group's Christmas Concert.

Four generations of Valerie Larscheid's family have been involved in the Saratoga Community Choir, for somewhere around 30 to 35 years, she says. Larscheid laughed at the fact that, even as a director of the group and a relative of a founder, she is not completely sure when the group was founded.

It is fair to say, though, that the Choir has been performing Christmas concerts in the Valley for about 30 years. The Community Choir was originally started by her grandmother and a few others who were part of the Episcopal Church Choir.

"It originally was made up mostly of choir members from the Presbyterian Church," Larscheid says, "but today it's open to anyone." This year, thirty residents have joined the choir and will perform Sunday.

The choir has an excellent makeup of local artists, both amateur and professional, who will work to make sure the performance is the best it can be.

"Our choir is especially unique this year because normally choirs struggle with the mens' section, the tenor and bass section," Larscheid says. "Our tenor and bass section is really powerful, and the bass section especially is the foundation."

The number of participants are up this year compared to last, she says, saying that typically, about 20 or 25 people make up the choir. "I don't really know what that is," Larscheid says when asked why the Saratoga and Encampment choirs have both reported larger than usual numbers of participants.

For Larscheid and many of the others in the choir, it is the love of music that keeps performers, and crowds, coming back year after year.

"This area attracts a lot of artistic types," she says. "And music is art." The choir, she says, has musicians ranging from novice to professional performers who have master's degrees in musical performance. Among the ranks of choir members are a current music teacher, Cody Sheldon, a music teacher at Saratoga Elementary School. There are also retired music teachers who work with the choir, and the group's accompanist has a master's in piano performance, Larscheid says.

The spirit of Valley residents and the isolation also means attendance tends to be high. Because Saratoga is not a large town with the depth and breadth of music scenes - for performers here it's a more organic experience, she says. A "do-it-yourself" attitude unites performers and patrons.

FW Broschart

Valerie Larscheid directs the choir in rehearsal. Takoda Pedersosen joins on flute.

The choir, Larscheid says, is non-profit and operates from grants and donations given by patrons during the show.

This year, the choir will be performing for a couple hours, presenting several types of music. The first section will be Christmas On Broadway, a collection of Christmas songs from musical theater. There will also be other sections of Christmas music, including traditional Christmas music, as well as some traditional songs with a different slant as far as rhythms, Larscheid says.

There will also be a special section of ensembles after the medleys which will feature duets, and traditional songs.

After the music is done, the group will have a meet-and-greet with patrons as well as a reception.

The concert is scheduled for 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 11 at the PVCC theater. Donations are accepted at the concert.


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