Celebrating our 40th year in 2013!
Soli Deo Gloria Founders: Judith and Ken Westcott
Soli Deo Gloria co-founder Judith Westcott.
Judith Westcott, along with her husband Ken (now deceased), are the founders of Soli Deo Gloria Choir. Judith holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Trenton State College, Trenton, New Jersey. She received her Master of Music degree from the prestigious Esther Boyer College of Music, Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Ms. Westcott then spent several years performing at the University of Pennsylvania.
Judy hosted the first Festival of English Choral Music in Colorado Springs (1989). She is the former Director of the UCCS Concert Choir and has extensive teaching experience in choral and instrumental music in public schools. Judy is currently employed as Organist / Choir Director of St. Raphael's Episcopal Church. She is also the director of Abbey Singers, a small choral ensemble in the English style, as well as instructor in Choral Music at UCCS.
History of Soli Deo Gloria Choir
1973 - 1986
Some musicians may recognize 'Soli Deo Gloria' as the signature phrase of Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) who concluded all his manuscripts with the initials "S.D.G." In the very beginning, the choir had no name. In the fall of 1973, Bethany Lutheran Church was asked to provide the music for the Annual Lutheran Reformation Service to be held on the Colorado College Campus at Shove Chapel. The choir director at Bethany, Judith Westcott, established a community choir using Bethany's choir as a nucleus, augmented by church singers of various denominations. That December, on the first Sunday of Advent, the choir performed the Christmas portion of Handel's Messiah at Shove Chapel. Because of the joy members found in being part of a community choir, they decided they wanted to become a permanent, nondenominational choir. One founding member Irma Borgen, Latin teacher and musician, suggested the name "Soli Deo Gloria," which means, "To God Alone Be Glory," and the name was unanimously adopted by the membership.
K. Kenneth Westcott served as director with Judith Westcott as assistant director and accompanist through the spring of 1986. Soli also owes a great deal to Dr. J. Julius Baird for providing encouragement, rehearsal space, and concert venues during the early years. Soli has traditionally sung in church sanctuaries throughout our history, although several performances have been held at the Pikes Peak Center.
Mr. Westcott envisioned a community choir with the musical range that would not only perform the great choral masterpieces with orchestra, but that also would freely provide those masterpieces to the community, thereby enriching both performers and audience. The breadth of that community grew when in 1980 the choir raised over eighteen thousand dollars to send fifty-four members to Washington, DC to perform as part of President Ronald Reagan's first inaugural festivities. In 1982, the choir performed with the Colorado Springs Symphony at the July 4th Celebration in Memorial Park. In 1986, at the Pikes Peak Center, the choir participated with other choral groups in the production of America!, a celebration of the bicentennial signing of the Constitution.
Some of the major works presented under Mr. Westcott’s guidance included The Passion According to St. John and Magnificat by Johann Sebastian Bach, A German Requiem by Johannes Brahms, Mass in E Minor by Anton Bruckner, St. Nicolas by Benjamin Britten, Requiem by Gabriel Fauré, The Hymn of Jesus by Gustav Holst, Great Mass in C Minor and Requiem by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Under Mr. Westcott’s direction, the Choir also presented the complete Messiah by George Frideric Handel several times with members of the Colorado Springs Symphony.
1986 - 1994
In 1986, Anna Hamre became director and remained for eight years with Calvin Rogers directing for one year while Dr. Hamre took sabbatical leave. Some of the major works presented under Dr. Hamre’s guidance included Gloria and Requiemby John Rutter, Lord Nelson Mass and Creation by Joseph Haydn, Elijah by Felix Mendelssohn, Mass in Honor of the Eucharist by Norman Dello Joio, Rejoice in the Lamb by Benjamin Britten, Cantata 142 by Johann Sebastian Bach, andChichester Psalms by Leonard Bernstein.
In the fall of 1991, Soli Deo Gloria Choir became a prominent part of the City of Colorado Springs' "Festival of Lights" with a performance of Bach's Magnificat. In 1993, the choir again performed with the Colorado Springs Symphony at the July 4th Celebration in Memorial Park.
1994 - 1998
In the fall of 1994, Edmund Ladouceur became director of Soli Deo Gloria. During the five years of his leadership the choir grew to 160 members. Also during his tenure, the choir repeated its performance of Handel’s Messiah as a part of its 25th Anniversary celebration. Soli Deo Gloria Choir had the honor during this period to collaborate twice with the Colorado Springs Symphony and the Colorado Springs Chorale in their productions of Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 (Resurrection) in May 1998 and Verdi’s Requiem in May 1999. In February 1999, Soli gave its first Hymn Festival at the First United Methodist Church. Some of the other major works presented under Mr. Ladouceur’s direction included King David by Arthur Honegger, Requiem by Gabriel Fauré, A German Requiem by Johannes Brahms,Gloria by Antonio Vivaldi, Testament of Freedom by Randall Thompson, In Terra Pax by Gerald Finzi, and Dona Nobis Pacem by Ralph Vaughan Williams.
1999 - 2001
From 1999 to 2001, Robert Crowder directed Soli. Large works included Lauridsen's Lux Aeterna, Stravinsky's Symphony of Psalms, Holst's The Hymn of Jesus, Op. 37, and Poulenc's Gloria. Soli Deo Gloria Choir joined with the Colorado Springs Symphony and Colorado Springs Chorale again in May of 1999 for Verdi's Requiem. In December of the same year, the choir was privileged to sing with the Pueblo Symphony in Colorado Springs and Pueblo.
In May of 2000, Soli was invited and honored to participate as the guest choir with the Air Force Band of the Rockies' Stars and Stripes Forever concert at the Pikes Peak Center as part of the annual celebration of Armed Forces Week.
2001 - 2010
Brad Peterson became director of Soli Deo Gloria in September 2001. Soli was honored at the 2002 Colorado Springs Music Awards as “Best Vocal Group/Classical.” In May 2003, Soli Deo Gloria traveled to New York City to sing theMozart Requiem at Carnegie Hall under the direction of John Rutter. Soli celebrated its 30th anniversary with a gala performance of Schubert’s Mass in G Minor and Mozart’s Requiem. In December 2007, Soli Deo Gloria had the honor of performing the Colorado premiere of R. Douglas Helvering’s Gloria with the composer present.
Other major works presented under Mr. Peterson’s guidance include Magnificat by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, Requiem by Luigi Cherubini, Gloria by John Rutter,Requiem by Maurice Duruflé, Mass in Time of War by Joseph Haydn, Solemn Vespers, Te Deum, and Piccolomini Mass by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Five Christmas Carols by Robert Millett, Magnificat by Gerald Finzi, and Missa Festiva by John Leavitt.
2010 - 2011
The concerts under Ray Killian's directorship were met with great reviews. The major works presented included Gloria by Antonio Vivaldi, accompanied by a small orchestra, and Christmas Cantata (sinfonia sacra) by Daniel Pinkham accompanied by brass and organ.
Sept. 2011 - Dec. 2011
We gratefully recognize and appreciate Ed Ladoceur for stepping up to conduct Soli Deo Gloria and providing us his excellent leadership once again.
Jan. 2012 - present
We are excited to continue learning and bringing our choir to new heights under the direction of Gary DeKler and his fresh insights and energy! For more about Gary, please click this link.
Concert Music Selections
Hodie Christus Natus Est (Chant; Palestrina) (CPDL)
O Nata Lux (Tallis) (CPDL)
O Nata Lux (Lauridsen) Peer Music
In Dulci Jubilo (Schiedt) (Arista Music Co) double mixed chorus, a capella
O Magnum Mysterium (Victoria) (CPDL)
Oh Magnum Mysterium (Lauridsen) Peer Music
Messe de Minuit (by Charpentier) (Barenreiter)
Go Tell It on the Mountain by Rowland Carter (Mar-Vel)
Still Still Still by David van Kampen, Concordia 98-4101
Coventry Carol arr Jay Rouse, Shawnee 35028245
What Child is This arr Craig Courtney, Beckenhorst BP1965
Angels We Have Heard on High (four hand piano) arr Howard Helvey, Beckenhorst BP 1957-1
O Come All Ye Faithful (orchestra/congregation) arr Rutter, Hinshaw (red book)
Hark the Herald Angels Sing (orchestra/congregation) arr Rutter, Hinshaw (green book)
Joy to the World (orchestra/congregation) arr Rutter, Hinshaw (red book)
Comments? Questions? Email us at our new email address: email@example.com.
Soli Deo Gloria!!!