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Aspen Noise celebrates two years of community choir

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Alycin Bektesh
/
Aspen Public Radio

Aspen Noise meets at the Aspen Chapel each week. They sing lots of songs you know, and probably some others you don’t. And for two years, each meeting of Aspen Noise starts with a quick bit of meditation.

The participants sit in a circle and try to be completely in the moment.

Barbara Lynn Bloemsma has led Aspen Noise for its entire existence. She remembers going through this process the very first time the group met.

 
“I played some music and talked about how it made us feel,” said Bloemsma. “There are all kinds of different genres. Maybe you have a visual response. Does it take you to a place? How does it make you feel?

 
Bloemsma had been leading youth singing groups for years at the Aspen Chapel. But two years ago she was approached to lead a new kind of group. One that she wanted to be as humble as possible. The group came together organically. Today, both teens and adults into their 70s and 80s participate.

 
“It’s an art so how could it ever be wrong? It’s creation,” she said.

She’d been in environments where she felt music was too rigid. Do it this way. Do it that way. She was fed up with the stuffy music world. Each week she brings about eight people together to sing and prepare for performances in the Roaring Fork Valley community. They perform at the Aspen Chapel and at other spiritual services.

 
“My goal was to create an opportunity for all different kinds of people to join and to share joy through music,” said Bloemsma.

And that’s what she’s done. Aspen Noise includes multiple differently-abled singers, as well as people who have made a living in music.

 
“I didn’t even want to call it a choir,” said Bloemsma. “I didn’t want it to be uptight. I wanted it to be a singing group. The kids come but honestly the adults come more. We have way more adults than kids.”

 
The group was recently presented an award in Denver for inclusion. Bloemsma said that all of the hard work she’s invested over the past few years have been worth it.

 

“I was a little bit nervous to make sure that I did a good enough job, and I was also especially happy and thankful, and I just felt really connected with everybody,” she said.

 

Patrick Fort grew up in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, nurturing a love for ice hockey and deli sandwiches. After moving to Colorado in 2010 to attend the University of Colorado to study music, Patrick discovered his love for journalism. In 2013, Patrick created and hosted the award-winning radio program Colorado Stories, a news program that covered CU and the surrounding community. An avid mountain and road cyclist, Patrick also referees youth ice hockey. He loves '60s pop bands and and trying new recipes ranging from milk-braised carnitas to flourless cakes.