Thomas Wilson, Conductor + Music Director

We are an adventurous community. At the Seven Falls Winter Lights Ceremony a few weeks ago, Santa rappelled down a canyon wall. Our classical music scene is no different. While most communities are home to…

We are an adventurous community. At the Seven Falls Winter Lights Ceremony a few weeks ago, Santa rappelled down a canyon wall.

Our classical music scene is no different. While most communities are home to a few well-established classical music groups, the Pikes Peak region is home to over 25. Among them, you’ll find a surprising amount of adventurous programming and performance, especially from Chamber Orchestra of the Springs, who regularly perform at Broadmoor Community Church.

“The Broadmoor audience is very enthusiastic, positive, and open to new music and lesser-known works, so we feel fortunate that they are willing to be adventurous with us,” says Thomas Wilson, Music Director for the Chamber Orchestra for the past 20 years. “Our Broadmoor audiences have grown dramatically, to the point that we often have to add chairs to accommodate everyone. It’s nice to feel so welcome!”

That’s right – the Chamber Orchestra has to add chairs for its Broadmoor concerts. Wilson attributes the attraction to the Chamber Orchestra’s “polished, exciting, and innovative performances” of old and new music for small orchestras.

“Our season always has amazing scope,” Wilson says. “This season, we’re performing music that spans nearly 400 years from a wide variety of composers. Our programs are unusually focused compared to most orchestras; we always have a central idea that connects the pieces, no matter how far apart in time they might be. So, in every phase of our interaction with the audience, we are sharing our passion for music through a framework of ideas. In any given season, audience members can expect to walk away from several concerts having heard music they never knew but will immediately love. Nothing makes me happier than hearing about audience members leaving the concert to immediately search for a recording of their new favorite piece! Our musicians share their love for music with the audience, as well. More intimate venues make it easier to capture the subtleties of our musicians’ interactions, and they enjoy mixing with audience members before and after concerts. We also have very nice intermission receptions where our audiences meet and make new friends who share their excitement for the Chamber Orchestra.”

You aren’t alone if chamber music isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word “innovative”. But the Chamber Orchestra seems to accept and enjoy the challenge of pushing against those assumptions through its programming, collaborations, and technical acrobatics.

Collaborations allow the Chamber Orchestra of the Springs to surprise their audiences with unexpected connections across artistic genres during concerts. Recent collaborators include Ormao Dance Company, Pikes Peak Library District, Colorado Springs Conservatory, and the Taylor Memorial Series.

Technical acrobatics push the audiences and also the musicians. At a recent evening rehearsal at Broadmoor Community Church, violinist Kelly Dean Pilarczyk was exhilarated by a Mozart piece’s technical demands. “The last movement of the Mozart will be the most adventurous for me in this concert because the second violins – we are screamin’ in that last movement! Keep an eye on us because you’ll see us walking out of there with some sore arms!” But she adds, “It’s gonna be a blast.” The intimate size of the orchestra and its small concert venues mean you get to see the reactions of the musicians as they play, and mingle with them during intermissions.

So if you are an adventurous sort, you might consider taking a break from your canyon rapelling to snag a seat at the next Chamber Orchestra of the Springs concert in your  neighborhood. You might find yourself equally exhilarated by discovering music you never realized you could love. After all, Thomas Wilson suggests, “Nothing replaces the immediacy and excitement of a live performance.”


Originally written by Angela Seals of the Cultural Office and published in the Cheyenne Edition on Dec. 7, 2016.