A Musical Valentine: Heartbeat At Ah Haa, 2/14
Anyone can do flowers and chocolate. But from swooning 1950s ballads to contemporary pop songs, the sound of music is a great way to celebrate the Big Day of Love. So if you really want to make your heart – or hearts – sing on Valentine’s Day, you will attend the Heartbeat Valentine’s Concert in the Daniel Tucker Gallery at Telluride’s Ah Haa School for the Arts, February 14, 6 p.m. The concert is FREE (though donations are always gratefully accepted).
“The concert runs about an hour with a repertoire of love songs and songs we love,” explained Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer. “Some of the music will be familiar—from folk classics such as ‘Scarborough Fair’ and ‘Shenandoah’ to jazz standards such as ‘When I Fall in Love’ and ‘Boy from New York City’ to pop songs from across the decades including ‘Here Comes the Sun,’ and ‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love’ and contemporary pop songs such as ‘I’m Yours’ by Jason Mraz and ‘Run to You’ by PTX. The songs range from rollicking to heart-opening. Overall it is a feel-good event, great for all ages, for families, friends, lovers, singles … We are celebrating all kinds of love!”
How to make your heart sing? Heartbeat, an eight-woman a cappella group, performs both upbeat and intimate concerts.
Heartbeat began in 1994 as a group of women who gathered once a week in the Telluride Elementary School attic to sing a cappella. There was no leader. Everyone was equally responsible for learning, finding music to sing, helping the other women and being objective about the sound. This is still the case.
Within a year, the group had a name and began performing at Telluride functions. In 1996 and 1998, Heartbeat opened the Telluride Jazz Celebration. In 1999, the group sang at the Sand Island Bluegrass Festival in Bluff, Utah, and performed on the Navajo reservation. In 2000, Heartbeat opened the Telluride Bluegrass Festival. Since 1997, the group has had its own annual concert.
“Some of our favorite concerts have been the impromptu ones, such as the post office, the bike path tunnel, the stairwell at the elementary school and even standing in the Gunnison River singing to boaters,” continued Trommer. “I think that part of what makes our concerts so much fun is that we have a lot of energy and spontaneity every time we perform. We’re up there having a great time making music.”
Long before the concept of flash mobs, Heartbeat began offering impromptu concerts including performances in the bike tunnel, the elementary school stairwell, the post office, the library, performances for boaters on the banks of the San Miguel and Gunnison Rivers, and more.
Heartbeat’s music is as diverse as the interests of its members. The repertoire began with simple rounds and international folk songs, but has extended into bluegrass, jazz, classical and pop. The group has received grants from the Colorado Council on the Arts to write and compose their own music, and it has a growing repertoire of original pieces inspired by the Telluride landscape.
Though the membership has shifted, at times reaching 11 women, there is a core of eight women who presently make up Heartbeat: Suzan Beraza, Nancy deCastro, Donna Burd Fernald, Judith Kohin, Jenny Sher Birrettella, Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer, Ulli Sir Jesse, and Deb Stevens.
Heartbeat mission statement:
The women of Heartbeat make a cappella music together on a regular, nonstressed basis, hoping that the harmony of their voices translates into their own lives and the lives of those who hear them. The group strives for challenge – trying new styles of music and performing in new venues – and also for excellence. Above all, the group aims to have fun and to celebrate our voices, our community, our womanhood and our lives.
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