We had the good fortune of connecting with Kali Paguirigan and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Kali Paguirigan, what inspires you?
100% of the credit for the Choir League is its artistic founder, Katy Lushman. Without her vision, hard work, and dedication, this organization wouldn’t exist! The other people I think have added to my inspiration are my in-laws here in Denver. My husband, and his entire family have been dedicated to music here in Denver. My husband is a freelance trumpet player here in Denver. His mom was principal flutist in the CSO for many years, and his father was the director of the Denver Municipal Band which is still ongoing. To see them make a family business of music has taught me a lot about the possibilities of living as an artist.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I have been a passionate lover and player of music since I was 4. I spent my childhood playing the piano and violin. I fell in love with orchestral music in high school by playing in an orchestra that would travel and tour around Europe in the summers. The orchestra had a soprano soloist touring with us one summer, singing Puccini arias. She became a friend, and I secretly showed her that I loved to make my own voice do that. Fast forward a few years, I auditioned at the music conservatory she attended in upstate NY and started training as an opera singer. In my early twenties, I really thought I would become an opera singer, without really considering the lifestyle required to do so. In the meantime, I had started working on a Master’s Degree that involved working on new works, and singing from all over the world–Ghana, India, Bali, and the Balkans, specifically. I was very intrigued by how versatile the human voice is, and it sort of naturally took me off my track of singing only classical music. In the meantime, I had fallen in love with a modern jazz trumpet player from Denver. We lived in Los Angeles, and then Brooklyn, and spent a lot of our time going out to hear improvisational music that seemed so alive and connected to me. For me, music is a deep love. To be honest, I prefer to make my rent by working a more conventional job (I’m a teacher) and to sing with people out of the love of singing and playing. When we moved back to Denver in 2015, I began singing with a local semi-professional choir, Kantorei. I love the community. We’re like a family. And I’m eager to start singing and working with the singers in the Choir League and sharing my love of connecting musically with them and with our audiences!

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
As a person who frequently has friends visiting from NYC, I’ve thought about this a lot! One of the very best parts of living in Denver is the versatility of this city. Whatever your passion: nature, beer, weed, architecture, shopping, art, fitness etc. there’s something for you here! I’m a yogi, and have been intrigued by the variety of styles and studios in Denver. It’s a very different scene than in NYC. I practice mostly at this great studio called Courageous Yoga, founded by Jordan Smiley who I adore. It’s located at Sherman and 13th. It’s above City O’ City. I love the energy of that whole block. We could start with some yoga, and then have brunch at City O’ City. Every day, I could pick a different neighborhood in central Denver, and just walk around, taking in the architecture, and the interesting (sometimes crappy!) juxtaposition of the old and new in this town. I think Red Rocks is magical, and love introducing folks to that place and the view. And of course, a drive into the mountains. My husband and I have spent a lot of time in Georgetown where we have a family home. I love to ride my bike around that sweet town. Then of course, I would show them that amazing bar called Bread up in Silver Plume where they serve the most delicious cocktails, and take a spin through the history museum in that town. There’s a really cool classroom that’s still set up as it was back in the day. I love the ghosty feel of those little mountain towns. One of my very favorite activities is to ride my bike around Denver. My husband and I often pair our bike rides with breweries which is exactly how we found Raices, which is one of the breweries that Choir League has used for rehearsals.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
100% of the credit for the Choir League is its artistic founder, Katy Lushman. Without her vision, hard work, and dedication, this organization wouldn’t exist! The other people I think have added to my inspiration are my in-laws here in Denver. My husband, and his entire family have been dedicated to music here in Denver. My husband is a freelance trumpet player here in Denver. His mom was principal flutist in the CSO for many years, and his father was the director of the Denver Municipal Band which is still ongoing. To see them make a family business of music has taught me a lot about the possibilities of living as an artist.

Website: choirleague.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/denverchoirleague/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DenverChoirLeague

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