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About CVAE

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About CVAE

CVAE rehearses during a retreat. The singers are lined up in a switchback fashion up a green hill, while conductor Teske stands below them.

Colorado Vocal Arts Ensemble (CVAE) was founded in 1992. Under the direction of Deborah Jenkins Teske, the Ensemble has garnered praise for “flawless sound” and “courageous programming,” and been hailed as “a hidden gem in the middle of Colorado.” Now celebrating 30 years of steadfast commitment to artistic excellence and community involvement, CVAE believes that art thrives where it is planted.

CVAE’s annual concert series features traditional works and new music sourced from all over the world. Programming is carefully crafted and highly varied, designed to create memorable experiences for audiences. While a cappella singing is at the heart of CVAEs identity, collaborations have brought opportunities to explore a broader repertoire. Vital partnerships with the Chamber Orchestra of the Springs, Parish House Baroque, and the Colorado College Summer Music Festival have allowed for performance of such diverse works as Brahms’ A German Requiem, Menotti’s The Unicorn, the Gorgon, and the Manticore. and Stravinsky’s Les Noces.  Other important collaborators have included the Green Box Arts Festival, Ormao Dance Company, Colorado Springs Children’s Chorale, The Denver Brass, and The Colorado Ballet Society.

The Covid pandemic challenged CVAE to stay focused on mission and connected to audiences. The December 2020 release of A Virtual Wintersong touched many people during a difficult time.

Being able to watch Wintersong online provides a beautiful moment in midst of our shared dark winter. Many thanks to CVAE for this gift of music.”

    -Wintersong YouTube listener

CVAE members pose on a staircase during a retreat.

"CVAE takes an audience away from earthly concerns and give them a moment on another plane, not just serving a community but changing lives."
-Thomas Wilson, Music Director, Chamber Orchestra of the Springs

“Colorado Vocal Arts Ensemble is one of the finest vocal ensembles that I have ever heard.  It is absolutely a hidden gem in the middle of Colorado. If a chorus were portable I would ask CVAE to sing in every choral work that I conduct anywhere in the world.”
-Scott Yoo, Director, CCSMF
     Chief Conductor Mexico City Philharmonic
     Host/Executive Producer Now Hear This on PBS 

Beyond the concert hall, CVAE has shared the choral art with community members of all ages. Gateways: Opening Door to the Choral Art is an annual high school residency program allowing CVAE to mentor secondary choral programs. Voice, Verse and Vision, a multimedia arts collaboration featuring singers, poets, visual artists, and composers earned Chorus America’s prestigious Education Outreach Award for 2003. The Mysterious Musical Machine (1998-2006) took CVAE into elementary schools with a traveling music history show complete with costumes and puppets.


CVAE has performed extensively throughout the state of Colorado and ventured into new territory with a seven-day tour of Southern California in 2006. The Ensemble has been a featured performer at national conferences of Chorus America, The American Guild of Organists, and The Association of Anglican Musicians. CVAE has received the Pikes Peak Arts Council’s Arts/Business/Education award and been recognized three times by the Council for Best Concert by a Small Ensemble.  


Looking to the future, CVAE is making renewed commitment to supporting the artists who bring the music to life. All singing members of the ensemble now receive financial compensation for their work. This represents a significant shift in organizational structure and culture. While only small steps along this new path have thus far been possible, CVAE is proof that great things come from small beginnings.

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