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Professor of Music Monte Atkinson presents retirement masterwork concert

Colorado Mesa University Professor of Music Monte Atkinson, DMA, is retiring this May after 33 years as Director of Vocal Ensembles for the Department of Music. A special retirement choral concert will be performed in his honor and under his direction on May 4 and 5 in the Moss Performing Arts Center Robinson Theatre.

Some of Atkinson’s most notable achievements during his tenure at Colorado Mesa University included serving as department chair for 10 years, securing instruments for the campus including a 5-rank pipe organ and the campus carillon system, growing the choral area from 10 students when he was hired in 1985 to115 students in 2018 and serving for two years as faculty trustee through the institution’s critical transition into becoming a university. Atkinson was also invited four times to represent CMU at Carnegie Hall in New York City as a guest conductor. In 1984, he founded and continues to direct the Western Colorado Chorale, now in its 33rd season.

Recently, Atkinson was selected as a Colorado IBM High School Hero, an award sponsored by the Colorado High School Activities Association, IBM of Colorado, 850 KOA Radio and the Denver Broncos. The award is for service in sports or music to Colorado high schools through the years and is a recognition of teachers who excel in the classroom as well as in their community. The recipients were recognized during a ceremony at Mile High Stadium in Denver on Feb. 26.

The Retirement Masterwork Concert on May 4 and 5 will include all CMU choirs, the CMU Symphony Orchestra, the Western Colorado Chorale and approximately 100 alumni who are both local and traveling from various distances to thank Atkinson for his mentorship. “I am a life long music learner and it really all started at Mesa. I am so grateful for the time I had there and the mentorship of the one and only Dr. A,” says Vashti Summervill, a 1994 graduate of the Vocal Performance program. The alumni will participate in a reunion potluck, sponsored by the Alumni Association, and then rehearse and perform in the culminating concert.

The featured masterwork in the concert will be Karl Jenkin's Stabat Mater with alto and CMU voice faculty member Stefani Anduri, DMA, as soloist. The piece is an epic work written a decade ago in several languages, including ancient and modern Middle Eastern languages and is becoming one of the monumental major works of the world. This performance will be its Colorado premiere.

“The vocal students and my fine colleagues have made it their goal to make my final year a great one and I am so grateful. I look forward to supporting and celebrating the success of the new, vibrant choral director who takes over this fall, Dr. Adam Kluck. CMU's choral program will be in good hands.”

Tickets for the Retirement Masterwork Concert are available at