For 21 years, Augustana Arts has been serving the Denver community through high quality classical/traditional music performance and education programming and has recently been named one of the top 10 arts organizations in the community by another local newspaper.
Community is what Augustana Arts is all about and in large part why they joined the Greater Glendale Chamber of Commerce. “I think Augustana Arts is about relationships and enriching lives and we are neighbors, we’re friends, and we’re family here,” said Lynn Nestingen, Executive Director of Augustana Arts. “It’s a big city but if we can all build relationships and touch lives, it’s about humanity and making a difference. That’s why it is good for us to be part of the Glendale Chamber of Commerce. This is our family, our home, and our community.”
Nestingen has a passion for what she does and has been the Executive Director of Augustana Arts for two years. “Music changed my life when someone put an oboe in my hand in third grade,” said Nestingen. “My band teacher said you are going to play this. I grew up in Northern Wisconsin and couldn’t really afford it. It gave me so much. A sense of discipline and confidence.”
Augustana Arts began in 1997, presenting classical music through its Concert Series. In 1998, the organization formed a community chamber orchestra to supplement its classical music offerings to the community. Over the years, the orchestra evolved into a more expressive, contemporary music experience prompting the name change to Stratus Chamber Orchestra.
Augustana Arts focuses on five main areas: Stratus Chamber Orchestr
a, City Strings, Choral Music, Colorado Women’s Chorale, and the Colorado Men’s Chorale.
Stratus Chamber Orchestra is changing the rules of engagement by performing classical music in unexpected ways and often in unconventional places. Stratus embraces both the time-honored concert tradition of audience as observers, as well as concerts that fully immerse the audience into the experience.
Stratus Chamber Orchestra performs new commissioned works along with some of the greatest chamber orchestra repertoire ever written. Audiences are
fully immersed in the experience while the artistic process unfolds.
In 2002, City Strings was founded to bring the power of music education to the least fortunate children in Metro Denver. Targeting chronically low-income neighborhoods, City Strings aids in the cognitive development of students and positions them for significant academic achievement through lessons taught by highly skilled teaching artists.
The program exposes at-risk children to music, but it also helps them to attain other educational goals by teaching self-discipline and developing self-confidence. Every City Strings student has a group and private lesson each week from a Suzuki-trained music teacher. “Many of the children we serve in early elementary pay $20 for the year to get a weekly lesson by a qualified suzuki teacher plus the use of an instrument,” said Nestingen.
In 2003, Colorado Women’s Chorale (CWC) was formed giving expression to the centuries-old art of the all-female choir. CWC focuses on broadening the exposure of quality women’s choral music in Colorado while providing a creative performance outlet for female vocalists. The most recent addition to Augustana Arts’ repertoire is the Colorado Men’s Chorale (CMC) which began this spring, providing a complement to female vocal artists in CWC.
This quintet of programming provides a rich landscape of classical and traditional music, securing Augustana Arts’ unique position in the community as a multidisciplinary organization committed to providing accessible high quality classical and traditional music experiences.
Choral music has a long and proud history dating back for centuries. The Colorado Women’s Chorale again raises its voices, magnifying and contemporizing this vibrant tradition of human expression. You’ll find seasonal and holiday themed concerts, family sing-alongs, journeys through cultures and eras, and unique collaborations.
The Colorado Men’s Chorale made their debut performance with Augustana Arts in May 2016. Founded in 2016, the CMC looks to create diverse, entertaining music and explore all types of choral genres, as well as focus on outreach in Denver community.
Stay tuned for more details on a performance by the United States Air Force Academy Band’s Stellar Brass coming September 20, 2019.
Augustana Arts is located at 5000 E. Alameda Avenue in Denver. For more information, visit www.augustanaarts.org or call 303-388-4962.