All summer, the Golden Concert Choir hosted a thorough recruitment campaign. The group participated in Buffalo Bill Days and had a booth at the Golden Farmers Market one weekend. Members posted flyers at local coffee shops and breweries and promoted the choir online.
This month, the group has seen the fruit of its labor with 15 new members from Golden and surrounding areas, bringing the choir to about 35 total members.
“I love singing, and … I wanted to get back into it and be more social,” said Moira Manning, a new alto who joined the choir at its Sept. 18 rehearsal.
The Golden Concert Choir started rehearsals for its 2023 fall season Sept. 11, with new members accepted through Sept. 25. The nonprofit choir, which was founded in 2000 and had about 60 members at one point in its early years, rehearses weekly at Calvary Church, and hosts performances in December and May.
Sally Berger, a board member and alto in the choir, described how the group kept meeting virtually through the COVID-19 pandemic. She recalled how Director David Bell compiled one performance by splicing together individual videos of the members singing.
Still, it was rough going, and the choir dwindled down to about 12 members, she said.
For its fall 2022 and spring 2023 seasons, the group had 20-25 members with two leaving after the spring season. Maddie Kraft, who joined in fall 2022 and eventually became a board member, and other members put together the recruitment campaign this summer.
The nonprofit is funded by grants, donations and membership dues. With more singers, the choir can meet more of its fixed expenses, such as facility costs and paying the director and accompanist, Berger said.
Kraft, who lives in Golden and works in recruitment, said she wanted to help the choir because she appreciated how it’s a welcoming, low-stress environment for people to perform. Members don’t need to audition — they just need to be able to carry a tune — and it’s the perfect starting point for those who’ve never performed in a group before, she continued.
Although Kraft studied music performance in college, not everyone in the choir has a musical background. And for those who do, she said, it’s a non-intimidating way to “re-enter the music space” if they’ve been on hiatus.
Kraft hadn’t performed since the pandemic and moving to Colorado, and after reading about the choir in the “Golden Informer,” she thought it would be a great way to meet people and get back into music. She’s grateful she did, saying she loves the sense of community among the choir members.
Manning, who lives in the Green Mountain area, performed in her high school choir but hadn’t done much singing since then. After she met members at their Golden Farmers Market booth this summer, she was excited to join. The fact that she didn’t have to audition was a bonus and she appreciated the warm welcome at the Sept. 18 rehearsal.
‘Less spoken, more felt’
The Golden Concert Choir will host its annual winter concert at 4 p.m. Dec. 2 at Calvary Church. The choir is rehearsing 10 new pieces, plus a few old favorites, for the performance.
Bell said this year’s theme is “the magic of winter.”
Berger and Holly Bluel, a fellow board member, said Bell always selects music that’s “instructive and beautiful,” and he sometimes writes original pieces for Golden Concert Choir.
After the Dec. 2 concert, the choir will kick off its 2024 spring season in January. Anyone interested can join at that time, Berger said.
Choir members have ranged from college-age adults to 96-year-old retirees, Bell and others described, and some have joined after not having practiced music in years or even decades.
While the current membership skews a little older, Bell and Berger said many of the new members are younger people looking to socialize while practicing music, like Manning.
Whatever their reason for joining, both longtime and new members said they’ve stayed because of the sense of community.
Berger added that the connection between people who sing together is unique, saying that bond is “less spoken, more felt.”
“Hearing other voices mixing with your own … there’s no joy like that, I think,” she continued.
For more information on the group, visit goldenconcertchoir.org.