Colorado Springs Children's Chorale co-founder celebrates final performance, '40 Years on Broadway'

By Michelle Karas Updated: May 31, 2017 at 2:57 pm • Published: May 31, 2017 0
photo - 2017 Summit Ensemble Photo by Ted Mehl of A Better Image Photography
2017 Summit Ensemble Photo by Ted Mehl of A Better Image Photography

The Colorado Springs Children's Chorale will visit the 70s, 80s, 90s and 2000s with a tribute to Broadway musicals on Sunday. "We're starting with 'The Wiz' and going through 'Hamilton,'" said Brad Peterson, co-founder, artistic coordinator and Summit Ensemble Conductor for the youth singing group. Peterson and his wife, Colleen, longtime accompanist, have seen the chorale though a large part of those decades firsthand.

"It should be a really wonderful concert," he said. "I hope people can come and see."

The performance "is more about the chorale than just me," Peterson said. It will be the final Chorale performance for the Petersons, who are retiring. After four decades, it's time to give someone else a chance, Brad Peterson said. He co-founded the Colorado Springs Children's Chorale with accompanist Bob Crowder in 1977, left the organization in 1979 and returned in 1991 to conduct its high school group, the Summit Ensemble Choir.

Four chorale groups consisting of singers ages 7-18 who attend 14 different schools the Pikes Peak region will be part of the show. There will be 150-170 young singers on stage at once, Peterson said. "Plus, all the alums are coming back."

"It's bittersweet because I love the Chorale," Peterson said. "But I think it's time to pass the baton for the next 40 years."

His successor will be named at a future date, he said.

Marcia Hendricks, the Chorale's executive director, said in a prepared statement, "Brad has been an inspiring visionary of the chorale since its inception," said "All of us, students and staff included, appreciate the leadership, talents, musical gifting, and guidance he has shared with us."

Before he passes the baton, Peterson will be going on the Chorale's international tour this summer to Australia. It's a right of passage with the young singers to enjoy a global performance trip each year and for Peterson it will be "a great ending to a career for me and my wife," he said. He added, "It's just seeing the kids and how they react to the situation and the people."

Peterson is retired from 30 years of teaching at Colorado Springs School District 11, at Irving Junior High School for 8 years and as choral conductor and music chair at Mitchell High School for 22 years.

Next on his agenda: "We're planning on doing some travel, spending time with family. But my time with the Chorale has been so worth it."

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