As section leader of the Symphonic Choir's bass section,
Chip Ritter shares his talents with the community.
Choir member Chip Ritter has settled into Bozeman, living here for the past seven years. However, his connection and fondness for our town go back to his childhood. Chip's father grew up in Bozeman along with four siblings and because he chose to serve in the Army, Chip didn’t grow up here. Regardless, some of Chip's first memories are of visiting his grandparents at their house on South 5th Ave.
Chip’s wife Nicole was born and raised in Great Falls and like many with roots in Montana, the couple looked for ways to come home after school, starting careers and, in their case, living abroad. When they moved back to the U.S., Chip and Nicole had family and a support system ready here in Montana. And, they’ve been here ever since! Chip says they couldn’t be happier with their choice, and neither could the Bozeman Symphony!
With two kids in the Bozeman Public Schools, Chip volunteers as much as he is able in their classrooms and for the activities they’re involved with. Whether it’s teaching coding sessions to his daughter’s class or working on Emily Dickinson’s new playground, he feels it is satisfying to be part of the “public” in public schools.
With a son in High School (a freshman at BHS) parental involvement has taken on a whole new meaning. He’s involved in cross country, marching band, and speech and debate, so opportunities to support him and those activities abound.
The couple auditioned for the Symphonic Choir the first fall they were in Bozeman. It wasn’t even a question Chip says. “We met singing, and music had been a part of our lives since we were kids. We hadn’t had the opportunity to sing with a group like this for quite a long time and needed, quite literally needed, to have music and singing part of our lives again. We’ve been singing with the Symphonic Choir ever since.”
Like many children, Chip started playing instruments in elementary school. Beginning with the trumpet in 4th grade, in middle school moving to the baritone, and in high school playing the tuba. Band was his thing. During sophomore year of high school, he saw some friends in a school musical and said to himself, “I need to do that!” and joined choir the next semester.
With past participation as part of small groups that were featured during the last two collage concerts, Chip will be a featured soloist this time around. For the upcoming performances on March 3rd and 4th, he will sing a piece entitled Fussreise from Hugo Wolf’s (1860-1903) Mörike-leider (1888), settings of poems by Eduard Mörike (1804-1875).
Fussreise relays the storyteller’s experience of how walking through the woods makes him feel closer to his Creator, like Adam must have felt in the first days of Eden, and his hopes to remain present in that moment. Chip says: “I think it’s particularly relatable for Bozeman.” Fellow Symphonic Choir member and piano teacher, Karen Abelin (soprano) will join Chip as his accompanist.
We asked Chip what makes collage concerts so exciting to which he says: “collage concerts are exciting because they give us musicians a chance let loose a little. We get to sing and play pieces we wouldn’t normally get to perform for you—pieces audience members might not have a chance to experience here in Bozeman. Collage concerts are as much fun for us as we hope they are for the audience.”
In Chip’s words, if you haven’t seen a collage performance before, “they are incredibly fun! You just don’t know what’s going to come at you next. It could be an opera chorus, a percussion piece, solo violin, full orchestra, uplifting, dramatic, humorous, silly…it’s a unique musical experience!”