Roomful of Teeth will perform in Greeley at the Union Colony Civic Center | MyWindsorNow.com

Roomful of Teeth will perform in Greeley at the Union Colony Civic Center

Kelly Ragan
kragan@greeleytribune.com

Brad Wells founded Roomful of Teeth, a vocal ensemble group, in 2009. He chose the name because he liked the contrast between teeth, the longest lasting part of the human body, even after it decays, and the fleeting existence of the human voice.

He hoped an edgy name would tip people off they weren't in for a stuffy performance, like chamber music's reputation might suggest.

The eight-person group took months to put together. Wells auditioned a number of singers who were accomplished musicians as well as singers. He wanted them to be able to look at a score and figure it out quickly, he said.

It paid off. Roomful of Teeth incorporates Tuvan throat singing, yodeling, belting, Inuit throat singing, Korean P'ansori, Georgian singing, Sardinian cantu a tenore, Hindustani music and Persian classical singing.

Roomful of Teeth received a Grammy for Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble performance in 2014. Caroline Shaw, an ensemble member, won a Pulitzer Prize for Music for her composition of "Partita for 8 Voices." The ensemble is considered one of the most well-know chamber music groups in the country.

Now the group will perform Sunday at the Union Colony Civic Center's Monfort Hall, 701 10th Ave., . Students from the University of Northern Colorado choir program will perform with the group.

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Roomful of Teeth set its sights on Greeley when Michael Alexander, the director of UNC's School of Music, invited them to perform at the school.

"It's pretty rare to have a group on the world-wide stage that is really having an impact on where music is headed come to Greeley," Alexander said. He hopes the group's success in the chamber music and vocal genres will inspire students in their own musical careers.

It's a group, he said, you'd see in big cities like New York or Boston. He hopes it shows the university's commitment to bringing art into the community.

Sunday's concert will feature Shaw's Pulitzer Prize-winning composition "Partita for 8 Voices," which was composed for Roomful of Teeth's 2012 debut album.

For the last two years, Wells said, Shaw's piece has been voted the listeners' favorite composed in the last 20 years on a popular classical radio station, WQXR in New York.

People like the modern twist on chamber music. After winning the Pulitzer, Shaw's piece ranked No. 1 on iTunes Classical Charts for a time.

To have an opportunity to perform and collaborate with them will be huge for students, Alexander said.

"It will help them understand how high the artistic bar is and what level of creativity is possible," Alexander said. "It will show them how a modern musical career can work. That's important for our students."

As for folks in the community, Alexander said it will expand their understanding of what's possible with the human voice. He hopes the group will show folks chamber music can be for everyone.

"The music is so fun," Wells said. "It's a really high energy, exciting piece."

You won't likely have the opportunity to see the group for $15 again, Alexander said.

"It's going to be a concert you will not forget," Alexander said. "I'm sure of that."

— Kelly Ragan covers features for the Greeley Tribune. Do you have a story you'd like to tell or a question you want answered? Call her at (970) 392-4424, email kragan@greeleytribune.com or connect on Twitter or Instagram at @kelly_raygun.

Performance details

Roomful of Teeth will perform Sunday with a special guest appearance by the University of Northern Colorado choir.

When: 7-9 p.m. Sunday

Where: Monfort Hall, 701 10th Ave.

Cost: $15 for general admission, $10 for students and seniors

Tickets: Get tickets at http://bit.ly/2iYLZ4H or call 970-351-2200.

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