5280+ Encore Chorales

One week in the summer of 2013, Brian Leatherman directed a choir for the national Road Scholar/Elderhostel program held in Ft. Collins. His long-time colleague, Cindy Runkel served as accompanist. As the week of rehearsals and performance closed, Brian suggested that he and Cindy should pursue something like this in Denver, as Brian was due to retire from public education in June 2014.


During the fall and spring of 2014-2015, they discussed and explored the possibility of a day-time, non-auditioned choir for folks 55 or better. A member of the Ft. Collins choir from Maryland suggested contact with Jeanne Kelly of Encore Creativity in Washington D.C. and the rest is history. 5280+ Encore Chorale was founded in July 2014!

If you have sung sometime in your life, want to return to singing, or have never sung outside of the shower, come meet new friends at our educational and enjoyable weekly rehearsals. Learn proper breathing techniques and how to improve your voice through correct tone production. Sessions culminate with combined performances as well as special concerts by the individual choirs or smaller groups. 

Our Co-Founders

Cindy Runkel

Brian Patrick Leatherman



Brian Patrick Leatherman, Co-Founder of the 5280+ Encore Chorales, leads a multi-faceted life as conductor, teacher, singer, and clinician. Since 1995 he has served as Artistic Director & Conductor of Denver’s Cherry Creek Chorale, a thriving community chorus of 100+ members. He retired in 2014, after 30 years as a vocal/general music specialist—the last 15 in the Douglas County school district, students and adults under his direction have performed at the National Conference of the American Orff-Schulwerk Association and the Colorado Music Educator’s Association annual Clinic/Conference. He is an active choral clinician and adjudicator. His conducting posts have included the Pueblo Chorale, church choirs, and the Chorus of the Rockies—a Road Scholar/Elderhostel choral program for seniors. Mr. Leatherman has appeared as guest-conductor with the Arapahoe Philharmonic, Boulder and Pueblo Symphonies, and the Greeley and Colorado Springs Chorales. As tenor and counter-tenor soloist he has sung with numerous Colorado choirs and orchestras as well as the San Antonio Symphony, Santa Fe Desert Chorale, Robert Shaw Festival Singers, and Robert Shaw Festival Chorus. He holds degrees in Music Education and Choral Conducting from Colorado State University and cites as his two biggest influences Barbara Grenoble in pedagogy, and Robert Shaw in conducting.

Cindy Runkel​, Co-Founder of the 5280+ Encore Chorales,​began musical training with her father while in kindergarten, then studied piano with Elizabeth Pastor, concert pianist and faculty member at The Cleveland Institute of Music and Ashland (OH) University. Ms. Runkel served as accompanist for her award-winning high school choral program and received multiple college scholarships, including a full piano scholarship to Miami University (OH). There she held various choral leadership roles, accompanied and sang in multiple ensembles, performed in two European concert tours and graduated with a Bachelor of Music Education degree. Cindy currently serves as Executive Director and is now in her 12th Season as Principal Accompanist ​for one of Colorado’s largest adult community choruses, the Cherry Creek Chorale. She performs professionally throughout the Denver area for a variety of public and private events, at senior living communities and churches, and has served as accompanist for Chorus of the Rockies, a Road Scholar/Elderhostel, Inc. experiential choral program for seniors.

Our Presenting Sponsors