Performance favors classical

Collegiate Peaks Chorale will sing three different versions of “Hodie Christus Natus Est” as part of their Choral Christmas concerts 7 p.m. Dec. 1 at First Presbyterian Church, Salida, and 7 p.m. Dec. 2 at Mountain Heights Baptist Church, Buena Vista.

Chorale Director Jerome Hogan said “Hodie Christus Natus Est” is an “old Latin text used in the Catholic Church” that “dates back to 758 A.D.” The title translates to “Today Christ is Born,” and Hogan said, “What’s more Christmas than that?”

The concert is classically focused this year. Hogan said the Chorale’s performance last year with the Salida Brass was so well received, they decided to do another classically focused concert but with a string quartet. Following the “Hodie” set will be “Magnificat” by Johann Pachelbel.

This season the choir has 65 members. Hogan said a “substantial choir” is required to achieve the proper texture of the holiday selections. “We couldn’t do these pieces with a small choir.”

After the intermission the choir will perform three English pieces: “The Holy Boy,” “Seeking the King” and “The Yearning.” They are meant to be a “treat” for those who don’t like Latin songs, Hogan said.

Three Mozart pieces, “Ave Verum,” “Laudate Dominum” and “Jubilate Deo” K. 217, will finish the concert.

“When I looked up ‘Ave Verum’ on the Internet, it said, ‘It’s the most beautiful song Mozart ever wrote.’ Well, I don’t know about that, but it makes me feel good.”

The string quartet, comprised of Pamela Chaddon, Mary Hallman, Noelle Hogan and Ian Riley, will accompany on “Magnificat” and the three Mozart pieces.

Hogan has been directing the Chorale since 2009. When Hogan and his wife Debra, who is the accompanist for the Chorale, moved to Buena Vista in 2008, they sang with the then Alpine Chorus, which initially was a subset of the Alpine Orchestra. Hogan asked Director Farrell Coy if he could borrow the group to put on a spring concert. Then, when Coy attended the concert, he told Hogan, “The job is yours.”

Once Hogan took over the choir, he changed the name to Collegiate Peaks Chorale because there was another group with the name “Alpine Choir” in the state.

After the concert series, the Hogans will be moving back to Wisconsin to be closer to family. “One of the hardest things (about leaving) is giving up the choir. We love the people. It’s been the highlight of every Monday night for nine years.”

The Collegiate Peaks Chorale board is actively seeking replacements to continue the choir. In addition to the choir, the Hogans are leaving their respective jobs. He works at St. Rose of Lima in Buena Vista, and Debra works at First Presbyterian Church in Salida. Hogan said he thinks highly of the choir members and their dedication to “making beautiful music. They sing from their very core and not just in the concerts but in every rehearsal. It’s been a conductor’s dream.”

While the performances are free, donations are encouraged. The money goes back to the choir to buy music, hire musicians and publicize concerts.