Over the next several weeks, you'll have the opportunity to see her coordinating Nazis, nuns, and nannies as well as a number of children at Center/Stage as the Evergreen Chorale presents Sound of Music through October 7th. As artistic director for a musical that involves a cast of 40, Christine Gaudreau welcomes the challenge.
Music has been her life. Having grown up in Germany, she was part of vocal and dance groups and sang in an opera choir as a teenager. At 21 she moved to California to study with a particular voice instructor in San Diego and earned degrees in Music History and Vocal Performance as well as a Masters in conducting.
She's worked with both children and adults in music programs at schools, churches, community and semi-professional choral, orchestral and theatre groups from California to Italy with stops in North Carolina and most recently Colorado in 2002.
In 2010 she was named Artistic Director for the Evergreen Chorale, succeeding Mike Weiker, who'd held the position of Musical and Artistic Director for 30 years, pushing members to high levels of achievement. Following in his footsteps meant satisfying the great expectations of choral members who'd known excellence to be the norm. With reverence for those who came before her and all that had been achieved by the community choral group prior to her arrival on scene, Christine has met the challenge with enthusiasm to press the group to new heights with a wide breadth of music.
She seeks excellence, not perfection, she points out, looking for the very best product possible from a team effort. Respect is key to her style, emphasizing that it is a very important value – respect for one another's time and differences as well as a respect for the music and the composer who created it. With every production, she strives to come as close as possible to performing as the composer intended it to be performed. With that criterion in mind, she does a fair amount of research, preparation and working with the group in rehearsals.
"The conductor is only one piece of the puzzle," she is quick to point out. "It's not about me."
"The cooperation of voices is beautiful to see.... The unified effort gives me chills in the end when I know we've succeeded." she says with her eyes that squint when she smiles. "Singing is quite a selfless art form."
It's important to Christine to be welcoming to all the members and to engage the community with an openness that naturally evolves into collaboration and produces excellence. She has the personality to make that happen.
From her first performance at Center/Stage, I've personally enjoyed watching her style as a director. Her body moves with the music, and one can observe her drawing out the best of those on stage. She's an extension of the performance itself. From our first meeting, her regard for respectfulness and building relationships has been apparent. She's appreciative.
The new season, which just kicked off with "Sound of Music," will reflect that collaboration as the Evergreen Chorale works with The Jefferson Symphony Orchestra on the "Messiah" in December and the Fiesta Colorado Dance Company in May to produce "Fiesta!" – a concert of dance and song from Central and South America. In May they'll combine forces with the Jefferson Symphony Orchestra and the Evergreen Children's Chorale at the Colorado School of Mines for "Carmina Burana." Sandwiched in between will be a production of "1776" with a cast of 27 actors from the metropolitan area.
She's reintroducing the masterworks at least once each year. Her welcoming attitude and commitment to authenticity of a performance have invigorated the membership, attracting members from as far away as Highlands Ranch, Boulder and Dillon.
With all the fabulous musical talent we have in this community, it's a delight to have the consummate professional as their leader.