Community choir finding its voice
Special to the Times
While we all connect to music in different ways throughout our daily routines, Alicia Belgiovane has found ways to continue teaching the art of song even after retirement.
Belgiovane previously taught choir at the Gunnison Community Schools, starting with first grade and going all the way to seniors in high school. Her career spanned 28 years in Gunnison before she retired in 2014. Retirement usually represents the end of a chapter in people's lives. However, Belgiovane has always been a teacher inspired by music.
She works with the Community Church choir, is the collaborative pianist at Western State Colorado University, and gives four hours of her time every week to work at the high school.
“I love choir,” Belgiovane said. In fact, she hasn’t been able to get away from it — and would not have it any other way. It is her passion for music that also has taken her down a new path.
“I never thought about being a community choral director,” Belgiovane began, “but when I was approached about it I thought it was a great idea.”
For the last few months, Belgiovane has directed a newly formed community choir. The group has around 30 members ranging in age from their 30s to 70s — and all from different walks of life.
“You have past music teachers to community members who miss being a part of a choral group and want to have fun,” Belgiovane explained.
The group of singers likes to go by its nickname — GACS, or Gunnison Arts Center Singers, a name that has been used many times over the years. The GACS will present their first concert for the community this coming Friday and Saturday, Nov. 10 and 11.
“The whole goal of the group is to have fun making music with new people and sharing their love for music with the community,” Belgiovane said.
The GACS comprise a full choir — meaning there are sopranos, altos, tenors and basses — as well as offering various levels of experience. This has allowed Belgiovane to chose music that is both easy and difficult to learn.
The GACS are currently working on 10 different songs ranging from Broadway to pop. Since the group is community oriented, classical music is not a necessity.
“You can have great songs, but it has to fit the choir,” Belgiovane said about not having classical pieces.
The singers want to have fun while presenting a performance that the audience will enjoy as well. Learning 10 songs in 10 weeks can be a lot of pressure, but the singers and Belgiovane have been practicing with grace, knowing that this is only their first performance.
The 10 songs will provide them with a full program, including an intermission midway through. Additionally, the GACS are looking forward to achieving more in the coming seasons.
After this weekend’s performances, the group will take a well-deserved rest before starting their next season toward the end of January. This will give everyone time to reflect — and suggest different music for the choir to try.
During the break, prospective members interested in joining the group are encouraged to contact the Gunnison Arts Center, as Belgiovane and the singers would love to have as many community members as possible.
“We encourage anyone who has a passion for music, or wants to be a part of an amazing group of community members, to come down and see what we are all about,” Belgiovane expressed. “This is a teacher’s dream, and I couldn’t be happier about it.”
What: Gunnison Arts Center Singers Concert
When: Nov. 10 and 11. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., concert at 7 p.m.
Where: GAC’s Black Box Theatre
What else: Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for kids (under 12), seniors (60-plus) and members.