Aspen Choral Society will sing the Simons' praises with fundraiser and new archive
Over nearly four decades, Aspen Choral Society co-founders Virgil and Jo Simon amassed an enormous collection of recordings, documents and business materials.
Now, with the help of the Simon Family, the organization plans to digitize and organize the collection in time for the choir’s 50th anniversary in a few years.
The organization plans to formally announce the Virgil and Jo Simon Archive at a fall fundraiser on Nov. 5 to honor the couple's legacy. Virgil is 97 years old. Jo passed away Jan. 7, 2021, at the age of 95.
Virgil, who spent years singing in the bass section and serving in various capacities for the organization, was a board member, the president and the group's “most prolific fundraising and public relations advocate,” according to a news release.
Tickets for the fundraiser are available through Sunday on the Aspen Choral Society website.
Board member Stephanie Zaza is working with the Simon family to sort through and digitize their collection.
The choir started in 1977, so there’s a lot to work with, even though some of the material is already archived in portfolios, she said.
“We're talking about 46 years of posters, programs and other concert materials,” she said.
Zaza said there are also “closets full” of recordings on CDs and DVDs.
The couple’s daughter Leslie Simon, who has spent years going through the family’s collection, is working with the choral society on the archiving.
She said she doesn’t think her father knows much about the formal project yet.
But when he does find out, “he'll be excited," she said. "I mean, he'll be so glad.”
“Music has been a part of his, of my mother's life, forever,” she added.
Although the archive will begin with the Simons' collection, Zaza said it could also include materials from other people involved in the organization.
“There are people who've been collecting material and memorabilia for a long time because we've had probably thousands of singers over the 46-year history of the choir,” she said. “And people are already calling me and saying, ‘Hey, I have some stuff. Would you like it?’”