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"Illuminare" brings healing through music

Choral members rehearse in Carbondale's Third Street Center.
Photo courtesy of Micha Schöpe
Choral members rehearse in Carbondale's Third Street Center.

The Aspen Choral Society is taking a non-traditional approach to choral and instrumental music. Their show “Illuminare” will feature movement and lighting designed by local artist Micha Schöpe, as well as themes that include healing and strength. Here’s Music Director Paul Dankers:

"The music we're performing in this show is, a mix of many different time periods, like the Adagio for Strings by Samuel Barber, and then we have the three main pieces across the vast eternal sky, the dark night of the soul, and the luminous night of the soul worth. All three of those were composed by Norwegian composer, Ola Gjeilo.

The pieces were put together with the feeling that they get across that we wanted to accomplish the theme of healing with this concert. The normal choral concert, as we know, is very, very strict about protocol. And this concert we will have a flat stage, the choir will be moving around the stage, the orchestra will be moving around the stage, and I will not be conducting. Which makes this concert more collaborative in its nature.
So in the moments when we have to navigate things, that would be tricky without a conductor. We have to feel them together. And then of course we have some beautiful lighting cues to help accentuate the mood of the pieces and some movement that was designed by my husband Micha Schöpe. Let me just tease the fact that there is a backstory that my husband invented in order to give the choir motivation.
Just like an actor uses a backstory to motivate their character on stage, so we won't be telling the audience what that backstory is. But it could be kind of a fun thing for the audience to try to imagine what the backstory might be. I hope that people will come prepared to dive deep within themselves."

Performances of “Illuminare” will be at Glenwood Springs High School tomorrow, Thunder River Theatre on Saturday, and TACAW on Sunday. Tickets and more information are at:

Hattison Rensberry has a Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic Design and Drawing, but has worked for newsrooms in various capacities since 2019.
She also provides Editorial Design for the Sopris Sun.