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Pikes Peak Flute Choir celebrates 30 years with winter concert

February 10, 2014 Updated: February 10, 2014 at 2:20 pm
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photo -  Flutist Megan Leigh Todd (right) and other members of the Pikes Peak Flute Choir put on a concert at the Broadmoor Community Church on Sunday, February 9, 2014. The group is celebrating 30 years this year. (The Gazette/Jerilee Bennett)
Flutist Megan Leigh Todd (right) and other members of the Pikes Peak Flute Choir put on a concert at the Broadmoor Community Church on Sunday, February 9, 2014. The group is celebrating 30 years this year. (The Gazette/Jerilee Bennett) 

The Pikes Peak Flute Choir remembered the old and showed off the new in celebration of its 30th anniversary Sunday at the Broadmoor Community Church.

"Looking back and moving forward" was the theme for the 31-member choir that played its winter concert to a full house at the church on Lake Avenue.

"We dug up things we played a long time ago, rearranged them a bit to make them new again," director Karen Morsch said. "We are also unveiling the brand-new subcontrabass. This is its inaugural concert."

Morsch, 70, took over as director 20 years ago, when the choir's founding director, Anne Martin, stepped down after starting the group in 1983. The choir grew from 12 to 40 members under Morsch's baton, with instruments ranging from the tiny piccolo to the recent addition of the oversized subcontrabass, the only one in the state.

"We are so excited to have the subcontrabass and to be able to play new pieces of music tailored for it," Morsch said.

Colorado Springs Philharmonic principal flutist Paul Nagem performed "Poem" by Charles Griffes in his fourth appearance with the group.

"It's great to see an all-flute choir keep growing for so many years," Nagem said.

Caitlin Playle, 22, joined in June and brought her love of Celtic music with her. Sunday's program included an Irish flute performance by Playle, accompanied by assistant director Treese Kjeldsen on the Irish whistle.

"I love playing with the choir, it's really fun and different," said Playle, a medieval studies graduate from Sweet Briar College in Virginia.

"Watching the choir grow has been wonderful, especially because we have such a diversity in our members," said Morsch, flute professor at Colorado State University-Pueblo.

"We've had members as young as middle school students and as old as grandparents."

With up to 40 members, the choir has expanded as much as its director would like. More members would make it impossible to direct and control during performances, Morsch said.

"We can play such a wide range of pieces, and we have enough members to have two permanent choirs," Morsch said.

"The combined choir includes all members with basic proficiency, while the small group is comprised of advanced members."

A second, more lavish and complicated concert to celebrate the choir's 30-year history is in the works for May, Morsch said.

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