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Music teachers, founders of Parlando School, a powerful force in the community – Broomfield Enterprise

todayAugust 6, 2023 3

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A husband-and-wife duo who are local music teachers will be honored with the Heart of Broomfield Arts Award to recognize and celebrate their ongoing contributions to Broomfield and communities across the Front Range.

Christine LaBerge and Travis LaBerge have been named the recipients of the 2023 Heart of Broomfield Arts Award. Christine LaBerge’s father Albert Galli nominated the pair.

“Travis is an excellent manager and organizer, and Christine will take on any challenge, she is tireless,” Galli said. “And, of course, they’re both fine musicians.”

Galli said he has always known the pair to be dedicated in their commitment to bettering the community.

Travis LaBerge, founder and executive director of Parlando School of Musical Arts, teaches an online piano lesson from his home in 2020. LaBerge and his wife Christine are recipients of a Heart of Broomfield Award for 2023. (Travis LaBerge/ Courtesy photo)

“Travis and I both grew up with music as a priority in our households,” Christine LaBerge said.

The couple met in college through a mutual piano teacher. In the 20 years since they met, they’ve built themselves and their passion for music into a powerful force in the community.

The pair are the founders of Boulder’s Parlando School of Musical Arts, a nonprofit music school dedicated to bringing music and music education to people of all ages and abilities.

“We started running it out of our house in Brandywine,” Travis LaBerge said, “until 2007 when we moved to Boulder and expanded into the Dairy Center.”

The Dairy Arts Center, a former milk-processing facility transformed into a multidisciplinary arts hub, is known throughout the Front Range as a center for all types of performance art. When Parlando moved into the center, it was to replace a failing music school. Parlando not only took over the lease, but it hired the estranged faculty and honored the tuition of 100 students who had lost their tuition to the previous school.

“Since the move, we’ve grown into having about 70 music educators, we see about 600 students every week during the school year for lessons and our outreach programs reach over 5,000 additional people a month,” Travis LaBerge said.

In addition to lessons and performances at the Dairy, Parlando is also home to Julie’s Program, an initiative to bring music to community members who are living with developmental and intellectual disabilities.

Flutist Roxanne Manthy practices playing flute at Parlando School of Musical Arts on May 11, 2021, in Boulder. The music school, founded by local couple Christine LaBerge and Travis LaBerge, are recipients of the Heart of Broomfield Arts Award this year. (Timothy Hurst/Staff Photographer)
Flutist Roxanne Manthy practices playing flute at Parlando School of Musical Arts on May 11, 2021, in Boulder. The music school, founded by local couple Christine LaBerge and Travis LaBerge, are recipients of the Heart of Broomfield Arts Award this year. (Timothy Hurst/Staff Photographer)

“Julie’s Program was named after one of Travis’ sisters who is an adult living with developmental disabilities,” Christine LaBerge said. “We have a partnership with FRIENDS of Broomfield, and we do a lot of really incredible programs with them to really honor and develop musical education within the population of adults with developmental disabilities or neurologic differences.”

The LaBerge’s music school gets its name from the Italian word “parlando,” meaning to speak in a musical way. Throughout the lifetime of the organization, the LaBerges have managed to carry that core idea into everything they do, even encouraging previously nonverbal students to make noise and sing after being inspired by music.

“There are a number of participants at FRIENDS who are considered nonverbal, and years ago at the first class, Christine and I watched two of these nonverbal students making sounds and trying to sing along while playing their instruments,” Travis LaBerge said. “Everything we ever hoped that this program would accomplish just happened in the very first class — you could see the joy and excitement that music inspires, and it was just really heartwarming.”

Current recipients of the Heart of Broomfield Arts Award, Christine and Travis LaBerge are founders of the Parlando School of Musical Arts. (File photo)
Current recipients of the Heart of Broomfield Arts Award, Christine and Travis LaBerge are founders of the Parlando School of Musical Arts. (File photo)

In addition to lessons at the Dairy and Julie’s Program, Parlando also works with local schools to provide music education. Through fundraising, donations and grants, Parlando is able to offer weekly support for schools in the program entirely for free.

“Kids who are involved in their school music programs are more likely to attend school, get better grades to the tune of a full grade letter grade higher and are more likely to graduate,” Travis said.

The pair has also made contributions to the Broomfield community outside of Parlando, including Christine LaBerge’s work with Jefferson Academy, which gives students access to a joint-use auditorium. Travis LaBerge also served on the board of the Broomfield Swim and Tennis Club, helping them rebuild tennis and pickleball courts.

“Broomfield is really near and dear to our hearts, and we really are just humbled and honored to receive this award,” Christine LaBerge said.

The LaBerges, along with the seven other award winners, will be honored at the annual Heart of Broomfield Awards celebration Sept. 29 at the Chateaux at Fox Meadows.

Travis LaBerge, left, and his wife, Christine, with members of FRIENDS of Broomfield, Joshua Coufal, left, Audrey Reed, Marvin Duran, and Gina Coufal. Christine LaBerge and Travis LaBerge are recipients of this year's Heart of Broomfield Art Award. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)
Travis LaBerge, left, and his wife, Christine, with members of FRIENDS of Broomfield, Joshua Coufal, left, Audrey Reed, Marvin Duran, and Gina Coufal. Christine LaBerge and Travis LaBerge are recipients of this year’s Heart of Broomfield Art Award. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

Heart of Broomfield

Every week leading up to the Heart of Broomfield Awards celebration on Sept. 29, we will spotlight the recipients of the awards. For more information or to purchase tickets or sponsorship, visit the Broomfield Community Foundation’s website at broomfieldfoundation.org/heart.



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Written by: Soft FM Radio Staff

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