Littleton church keeps arts scene lively

Nov. 19 free concert will feature Colorado Chamber Orchestra String Quartet

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Seven really happy-looking musicians swung into “East of the Sun and West of the Moon” on Oct. 22 as pianist Purnell Steen and the Five Points Ambassadors presented the first concert of Littleton United Methodist Church's Fine Arts Series, a local treat that has been sorely missed around here since the entertainment world stopped spinning, in our area and just about everywhere!

The audience enjoyed a piano, bass, two guitars, drums, sax and trumpet, as well as a vocalist. Steen, a member of a musical Denver extended family, was last heard at LUMC when he played at a memorial service for longtime friend and jazz fan Charlie Carroll, an active member of this church.

Church members have contributed over the years to bring a series of free concerts to LUMC and we'll hope they can be extended. At present the Master Artist Series includes the Steen group plus the Colorado Chamber Orchestra String Quartet, which will perform “two monuments of chamber music by Beethoven and Mendelssohn” in a free show at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 19, according to David Kates, the church's director of Music and Fine Arts Ministries.

The professional chamber orchestra has been directed by Thomas Blomster and has appeared as a group in the metro area at various venues over past years. We'll hope to see more of it in the near future. In the meantime, the upcoming evening with the principal string players will be a “don't miss” for classical music lovers.

Next Fine Arts Series supported listing will be at 10:30 a.m. on Dec. 12 with the LUMC Choirs and Orchestra: “A Festival Service of Carols.”

The final listing at present is “Close n'Counter” at 2:30 p.m. January 30, 2022, which presents an eclectic guitar trio playing favorite standards with a blend of steel and gut strings.

We'll watch and hope for additions, and are thrilled to find lots to report now.

Also programmed at this busy church are a number of other concerts ...

LUMC is home base for the Littleton Symphony Orchestra, which played a sold-out concert on Oct. 15, featuring pianist Katie Mahan performing “Rhapsody in Blue.” On Dec. 3 at 7:30 p.m. the symphony will perform a holiday concert: “Vivaldi, Dvorak and Other Favorites” with violinist Laura Anderson. These are ticketed at reasonable prices, but no tickets will be sold at the door, due to COVID restrictions, so buy in advance!

Longtime LSO Maestro Jurgen DeLemos, who plans to retire, will conduct a New Year's Eve concert at 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 31. The orchestra will host guest conductors in the new year as it searches for a new leader on Feb. 18 (David Brussel), April 8 (Scott O'Neill) and May 20 (Bill Hill).

Also planned in the new year (Feb. 7 and March 18) are a pair of concerts by Voices West, which was once the Littleton Chorale, started by the late Bud Nicholson. Dr. Michael Todd Krueger is director and we will look for more information about these performances soon. The February concert will be a benefit for Littleton Public Schools' music program, which the chorus has long supported, and the title for the March event is “Sing Out My Soul,” a time to “remember, mourn, celebrate and sing ...”

On April 23-24, the Littleton UMC Arts Festival will return with visual art, music and hopefully theater. A newly commissioned work by internationally recognized choral composer Thomas Keesecker will be performed. Watch for more information on this festive weekend.

While we have listed the LUMC events we are aware of at present, we will remind as we hear more about these programs and add anything else we hear about as we move into a new year at this community treasure. We hope readers will enjoy and support wonderful music of all sorts.

Littleton United Methodist Church is located at 5894 S. Datura St. in Littleton. The phone number is 303-794-6379 and the website is littletonumc.church.

While the COVID-19 pandemic continues, public events frequently are canceled or rescheduled. Check with organizers before you go.

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