Lindy Casados, Director of Evergreen Children’s Chorale (ECC), is one of those people who everyone in town seems to know - and respect and admire. It’s easy to understand why on both counts; she has lived in Evergreen since she was one and has been active in our community in a variety of ways since she was seven – that’s right, seven. In 1972 her father, Dick Phelps, was a founding member of Evergreen Chorale and her mother, Marcia Phelps was the Business Manager. “My first stage show was Oklahoma; I was one of the villagers,” she laughed.
Lindy attended Bergen Elementary, Evergreen Middle School and graduated from Evergreen High School. “That was before Conifer High School was built; I had a lot of pals over there [Conifer].” She studied and earned her degree in music at the University of Northern Colorado and went on to earn her Masters degree at Colorado Christian University.
Her first teaching job in Monte Vista enabled her to teach K-6, Middle and High School students every day of the week. “I loved working with all grade levels every day.” After three years, she returned to Jeffco, on the other side of the grade book. She taught for 12 years at three different schools and then at Ralston Elementary (on Lookout Mountain) for five years, and is now at West Jeff and Elk Creek.
Asked what has been most rewarding in teaching, Lindy hesitated and sat quietly in contemplative thought. She happily expressed that there have been so many rewards during her lifetime, that it was tough to identify one specific highlight. “I would have to say it is seeing kids in a performance after seeing them do such hard work. I’ve worked with challenged kids. I have such a loving relationship with these kids.” She reflected back on one particular fourth-grade boy who was so excited to tell her that he had been given a stack of CDs for his birthday. “I was sure that I wouldn’t know any of the names of the groups but then he told me, and they were all bands I grew up with! Music is these kids’ thing.”
Lindy, who took over the reins of ECC this year, has invited and welcomes Elaine Sorweid, former Director of ECC, back to help with the music. “We always worked so well together, I love to have her back.” She served as Assistant Director with Elaine for 17 years.
Prior to Elaine’s departure, the two leaders “formed small focus groups with the kids to see what makes them want to come back each year and what changes they would like to see in ECC,” said Lindy. “We’ve honored their input and have made changes.” One of the changes was presenting a shorter show before intermission and an olio afterward. “It allows us to put small groups together and offer the kids a second experience in performance.”
Currently, Lindy is working with 42 students for the upcoming ECC winter performance. She hopes that many alumnae will attend the show. “I wish it for my own sake - to see more of them. I miss them.” While many things have changed to keep ECC fresh and new for the Evergreen audience, one thing remains constant: current and former members joining on stage to sing and sign “A Simple Song of Peace.”
Lindy, not wanting to sound cliché was genuinely sincere when she said, “I am living my life’s dream. I am married to the best man on the planet [Rob Casados] and I’m living where I want to live and doing what a want to do.” She reflects on finding her passion as a young child, “I guess I didn’t realize it at the time, but when I was in ninth grade everyone had to find a business person to shadow for a day. I shadowed Mike Weiker [former Music and Artistic Director of Evergreen Chorale] at Bear Creek High School. He and Bill Loper [former EHS Choir Director] were my mentors.”
Due to the overwhelming load of teaching in Jeffco and directing ECC, Lindy stepped back from singing with the Chorale, something that was a very difficult decision.” She fulfilled her duty as Board Member until the end of her term. “The Chorale was truly my second family.” Meanwhile, her other families of ECC kids and Jeffco students call, and Lindy is there for them.