GREEN MOUNTAIN FALLS • Church in the Wildwood in Green Mountain Falls offers a Christian experience with musical vigor, worship with a lyrical message.
Under the direction of Teresa Allen, the selections are diverse, a mixture of old and contemporary. “I was always drawn to church music,” said Allen, who plays piano, organ and handbells.
Before moving to Colorado a few years ago, Allen, a ninth-generation resident of Berks County, Pa., combined a career in music and agriculture. “I ran a dairy farm for 25 years and was also a church musician at the same time,” she said. “I worked a lot of hours.”
Well-known in that area, Allen bred purebred Holsteins. “I had a bull that was one of the Top 10 in the nation,” she said.
The Holstein designation paved the way for the move west to concentrate on music full-time. “I decided to cash in on all my genetics and sell my dairy farm,” she said.
She brought her credentials with her. Along with the breeding business, Allen developed a music program St. John’s Lutheran Church in Sinking Spring, Pa. that included a chorale and two bell choirs.
At times, among the churches where she directed the music, Allen would run into controversy. “A musician is like a lightning rod for everybody’s preference of music,” Allen said. “So, you have to weigh the pros and cons of different kinds of music and decide what serves your congregation the best.”
There’s purpose to the selection. “What is going to speak to them? How can the Holy Spirit speak to them through this music?” she said.
At the historic Church in the Wildwood, Allen spices up the music each Sunday with selections ranging from gospel and contemporary to the traditional. “But the music from the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries is with us because it’s solid,” Allen said. “I don’t think you should throw everything out and just be contemporary. So, we are drawing from the entire Christian life in music and taking it with us.”
A professional handbell ringer, Allen has stepped up the church bell choir to 11 members who play at various times throughout the year.
This month, Allen secured a grant from the Kirkpatrick Family Fund for the church to sponsor a handbell conference Oct. 1 and 2. The conference features Forte Handbell Ensemble of Colorado Springs.
“We’re going to try to reach people up the pass who don’t have the opportunities that people in the big cities do,” she said. “The Kirkpatrick Family Fund is interested in many things about music in Ute Pass.”
The conference is open to the public and will offer lessons from the handbell ensemble, the details to be announced. The conference concludes with a free concert by Forte at 7 p.m. Oct. 2 at the church, 10585 Ute Pass Ave. (80819).
The music is another Christian note to a church with a legacy of more than a century in Green Mountain Falls. Part of the United Church of Christ, and led by Pastor Darlene Avery, Church in the Wildwood is a place for worship as well as social connection and sense of community.