ARS, under the musical direction of Ryan Phillips, M.M., has been hailed by audiences throughout Southern Arizona for its choral blend, technical precision and vocal artistry. A hallmark of the ARS tradition is our commitment to presenting high quality performances of the best new choral music as well as standard repertoire – from the Renaissance to well-known choral masterpieces, Americana and jazz, contemporary pieces and works commissioned by the group.
We share the belief that there is nothing more transformative than the human voice lifted in song.
Although ARS specializes in unaccompanied a cappella choral music, many of our concerts include larger works with orchestra and soloists, or instrumental accompaniment such as piano, harp, organ, strings, woodwinds, and percussion.
The Arizona Repertory Singers was founded in 1984 as the Arizona Recital Choir by Dennis Bonner while he was a doctoral student in Choral Conducting at the University of Arizona. The name was changed to the Arizona Repertory Singers in 1986.
ARS’s reputation for choral artistry flourished under the guidance of our widely respected Music Director for 25 years, Dr. Jeffry A. Jahn. As a tribute to Dr. Jahn’s exceptional musical leadership and contribution to the life of choral arts in Tucson, he was inducted posthumously into the 2014 Tucson Musicians Museum for “proven dedication to music, support and participation in community service … that has exceeded … the expectations for the award.”
During our 2015-16 season – a transition year for ARS following the unexpected passing of Dr. Jahn – we were fortunate to experience the musical leadership of Thomas E. Lerew as Interim Music Director while he concluded his doctoral degree in Choral Conducting at the University of Arizona, Fred Fox School of Music.
Our mission continued to expand under the expert musical direction of Dr. Elliot Jones. Highlights included the first performances in Tucson in decades of Arthur Honegger’s masterwork, King David (including at Temple Emanu-El), our musical participation in the ceremony marking the deconsecration of the Benedictine Monastery, and the presentation of many stunning 21st century choral works, including a world première of Karen Siegel’s “Festival of Lights” and pieces by celebrated Tucson area composers Daniel Asia and Gerald Near.
Our Rich Choral History – Vocal Depth, Versatility
To inaugurate its 30th anniversary season as one of the oldest choral organizations in Tucson, ARS performed J.S. Bach’s festive Magnificat in D major and Respighi’s charming and vocally lush cantata, Laud to the Nativity, for our December concerts. These works were selected to demonstrate the versatility and vocal depth of ARS.
The grand finale for the 30th year celebration featured Voices at an Exhibition, an innovative choral music and artistic multimedia celebration of original commissioned compositions and original works of art by local artists who also sing with ARS. The première of this work demonstrated the relationship between choral music, written text and visual media, and was praised by the Arizona Daily Star, “The 45-voice ensemble might be setting a record of sorts; it’s not every day you find a choir – or any classical ensemble – rolling out four commissioned works in one concert.”
As part of our 25th Anniversary season, ARS performed a gala concert at the prestigious University of Arizona’s Stevie Eller Dance Theatre. The event included “Songs for Braithwaite,” a new work commissioned to honor founding ARS board member Dr. Helen S. Schaefer, by well-known contemporary choral composer Vijay Singh.
Sharing Our Passion for Choral Music
Since 1984, the Arizona Repertory Singers has enriched our community with live performances at more than 75 venues for audiences of all ages and backgrounds. Our goal is to entertain, educate and enhance the musical vitality of Tucson with free concerts that also benefit local non-profit organizations.
In March 2019, ARS was invited to sing at the Tucson Museum of Art during TMA’s ‘SundAZe Family Day’ for Museum visitors and guests. In April 2017, ARS was invited by Patronato San Xavier to perform two concerts benefiting the Patronato’s ongoing effort to restore this historical landmark.
In prior years, ARS performed at the dedication of the University of Arizona’s Helen S. Schaefer Poetry Center; the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum for the dedication of the Harris Hawk Sculpture (honoring the memory of Space Shuttle Columbia astronaut, Laurel Clark); Interfaith Community Services ‘Music for the Soul’ concerts at the Fox Theatre; Carondelet Hospice Holiday ‘Tree of Memories’ event and the annual ‘Music’ and ‘Memories’ concert sponsored by the Academy for Cancer Awareness.