Music is a journey that has the power to bring strangers together.
It goes even deeper than friendship for Deborah Hannigan, it’s about fellowship.
Music has been instrumental in Hannigan’s life for as long as she can remember. Her earliest childhood memories always had the backdrop of one of her father’s vinyl records, and he had exquisite taste, she said.
The honey-laden voices of Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby and Barbara Streisand filled Hannigan’s ears and planted a seed of love in her heart for music.
“Those were the things that brought music into our home,” Hannigan recalled of her dad’s affection for vinyl records.
A fan of musical theatre, Hannigan’s father acted in many productions throughout his life, including a particularly ravishing production of “Brigadoon.”
It was only a matter of time before Hannigan started showing an interest in music. In middle school, Hannigan began singing in choirs, in high school she formed a dynamic folk duo, but by the time she got to college she craved more.
Having left her home state of Illinois for Colorado Springs, Hannigan was eager to get involved in her university’s music scene.
A natural soprano, Hannigan joined several auditioned ensembles and even joined a barbershop octet (four women, four men) at one point. Through music, Hannigan was creating friendships and connections that would last a lifetime.
However, when Hannigan moved to Buena Vista in 2017, she found herself a newcomer to a community she desperately wanted to be a part of. Unsure of where to turn, Hannigan turned to music once again and joined a local chorus.
The Collegiate Peaks Chorale is a community chorus under the interim direction of Rebecca Kemper Poos. It does not require an audition to join.
This was new to Hannigan, who had spent the majority of her singing career in auditioned ensembles, but in a good way.
“There’s no intimidating audition, you just come and have fun,” Hannigan said.
From the beginning, the CPC started challenging Hannigan in new ways.
For the first time in her life, Hannigan found herself singing alto.
“It’s a good challenge that has a great outcome. It’s a great mindbender,” Hannigan said of the new vocal waters she’s exploring.
Through the friendships and memories she began to create through CPC, Hannigan finally started to feel like part of the town, like she belonged.
The sense of community fostered within the CPC was exactly what Hannigan was looking for in the Valley.
The emotions and passions that music evokes from the soul is what inspired Kemper-Poos to choose moving music for their upcoming spring program, “A Sentimental Journey.”
“It’s a journey of the human spirit,” she said.
Kemper Poos is constantly moved by the members of the chorale.
“I am continually amazed at the talent and that people help each other along,” she said.
Patsy Tucker, alto and member of the CPC for 10 years, has been moved time and again by the energy and love within the chorale.
“Hearing so many voices around me, sometimes singing unison, which is very powerful, then breaking into harmony, which is so beautiful in richness and texture ... all this makes our hearts soar together.”
The CPC continues to touch lives through their powerful, moving performances and by fostering a sense of community with their open arms and ears.
For Hannigan, the love and passion shared in the chorale made her feel right at home in the valley.
“The chorale is really an incredible team. It’s a great thing to get involved with,” Hannigan said with a smile.