ARS Presents “I Can See the Light”

DATE: March 8, 2021

[TUCSON, AZ]This April, Arizona Repertory Singers offers its second virtual choral concert to the community.

“Our Spring concert, I Can See the Light, celebrates resilience,” said ARS music director Ryan Phillips.

“Our world is full of grief and loss right now. And, at the same time, life continues to also offer us the gifts of music and nature, love and hope. This is why we keep singing,” Phillips said, “to be reminded of the beauty of life and the solace of music.”

The virtual concert will open with “Requiem,” arranged by Craig Hella Johnson. Texas singer, songwriter, Eliza Gilkyson wrote “Requiem” in response to the devastating 2004 tsunami in Indonesia.

“It’s a gorgeous and powerful song to acknowledge the grief of the pandemic,” Phillips said.

“We will end the concert with Dolly Parton’s “Light of a Clear Blue Morning,” which is where our concert title comes from,” Phillips said. 

In between the ensemble will perform songs to celebrate nature, music, singing, and love.

“Ballade to the Moon” is about finding joy in nature,” Phillips said. “When Music Sounds” celebrates the inspiration and joy of music; and a sacred piece, sung in Basque, called “Cantate Domino” is about the joy of singing and it is a spiritual song of praise.”

Three songs will celebrate the journey of love. “I am Loved,” composed by Christopher H. Harris, “This Marriage,” by Eric Whitacre, and “My Companion,” by Elaine Hagenberg.

“This collection of music will hold us, lift us to see the beauty of life even in the sorrow, and give us a quiet glimmer of hope for the days ahead,” Phillips said. “It’s going to be a beautiful and deeply meaningful concert for right now.”

Like the ensemble’s Winter concert, the videos will be presented within an online flipping book, much like an interactive concert program. Director’s notes, along with art and photos will accompany the videos of the singers. For instance, on the song “This Marriage,” Phillips arranged wedding photos of ensemble members in the video.

Since the ensemble can’t meet to rehearse safely in person, Phillips and his wife sing and record practice tracks for each part: soprano, alto, tenor, and bass. Each choral member records a video of themselves while watching a prerecorded video of Phillips conducting. Phillips takes the recordings each member sends him and carefully matches up the voices to create the virtual ensemble. Each video he produces takes about 20 to 30 hours.

The spring concert will include eight choral videos, a piano piece by ARS accompanist Trissina Kear, and a guitar piece in four parts by Phillips.

“I’m very proud of this community of singers,” Phillips said. “The Arizona Repertory Singers have never stopped singing, even when it seemed impossible.”

Tickets for the virtual concert are $20 per household, available at Ticket holders will be sent a link to access the concert online on April 30. The link will be accessible through May 15.

The Arizona Repertory Singers is an auditioned ensemble of singers from greater Tucson. Since 1984 this choir has developed an extensive repertory and prides itself on presenting high quality performances of the standard repertoire and new music. Our community of singers, selected through a rigorous audition process, represent a variety of work life careers in business, education, engineering, information technology, law, medicine, social service, science, and the arts.