Chamber choir

The Fort Lewis College Music Department will be in the spotlight -- literally -- when the college's Chamber Choir takes the stage to perform Gian Carlo Menotti's The Unicorn, The Gorgon, and The Manticore at the Colorado Music Educators Association's annual meeting in Colorado Springs on January 24.

CMEA is the Colorado chapter of the National Association for Music Educators, a professional alliance of music teachers and students at all levels. The annual conference hosts thousands involved in music education from across the state.

"This is an exciting opportunity for Fort Lewis College to represent itself to music educators and students from elementary school through college from around the state," says Charissa Chiaravalloti, director of the Fort Lewis College Chamber Choir. "It is especially valuable for our students to perform at such a recognized event."

The Chamber Choir is diverse, comprised primarily of students -- both Music majors and non-majors -- with some faculty and community members. The group is one among numerous performing opportunities for FLC students, which include a symphonic band, a chamber orchestra percussion ensemble, a jazz ensemble, a large concert choir of more than 90 students, a men’s choir, and several other chamber ensembles, both instrumental and vocal.

"It says a great deal that our elite Chamber Choir will be performing this coming year. Our school is the farthest distance from the event and it shows true dedication on the part of our students and faculty to present our excellent work at this event," says Chiaravalloti. "Last year, FLC was also fortunate to be invited to be represented by our Jazz Ensemble. It is a highly coveted event and it speaks volumes that our Music Department faculty and students will again present a creative and high-level performance at this event."

The Unicorn, the Gorgon, and the Manticore was first performed in 1956 as a commission for the Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge Foundation in the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. The piece was modeled after composer Orazio Vecchi’s madrigal comedy L’Amfiparnaso, written in 1597.

Menotti intended each of the three creatures in the story to be symbolic. The Unicorn represents the creativity and excitement of youth; the Gorgon represents middle age, the strong voice shouting in the face of critics; and the Manticore represents the work of old age, expressive, beautiful, yet perhaps a bit gnarled at the edges.

"The FLC Chamber Choir has worked very hard to prepare for this important performance," Chiaravalloti says. "I am very proud of their commitment and dedication to musical excellence. It is going to be fabulous!"

Find out more about the Department of Music.