ARS Ushers in Holiday Spirit with Rejoice and Be Merry!

DATE: October 17, 2019

Contact: Julie Ray, Communications Consultant
(520) 891-8098

Arizona Repertory Singers Ushers in Holiday Spirit with Four December Concerts: Rejoice and Be Merry!

[TUCSON, AZ]—Arizona Repertory Singers returns to its choral roots this December with traditional holiday favorites and fun and festive new music. The 45-member choral ensemble will usher in the holiday spirit with songs like Hark! In 7/8 by Steven Landau and Bring Us In Good Ale by Gustav Holst alongside stunningly beautiful classics by Francis Poulenc, Ola Gjeilo, and up-and-coming composer Connor Koppin.

The winter concerts Rejoice and Be Merry! are the first led by the new music director of ARS, Ryan Phillips, M.M. Phillips said the concerts offer diverse and beloved choral music with a fun twist on tradition. Phillips grew up in Tucson singing with the Tucson Arizona Boys Chorus. He earned his Bachelor’s of Music Education from the University of Arizona, and a Master’s in Choral Conducting from Northern Arizona University.

Phillips expects There is No Rose by American composer Connor Koppin to be a highlight of the concert. Written in 2013 when Koppin was in his early 20s, it is based on a much-loved traditional English text. “It is so beautiful and full of texture as it splits into eight voices,” Phillips said.

Audiences will also enjoy the lively Brightest and Best, a soaring piece by American composer Shawn Kirchner, featuring bluegrass fiddle and wild piano accompaniment by Trissina Kear.

Classic works will include O Magnum Mysterium, published in 1952 by French composer Francis Poulenc, and O Nata Lux from the 1500s, written by Thomas Tallis, the father of English choral music. Newer choral pieces that match the classics’ haunting beauty are The Rose by Norwegian Ola Gjeilo, which will be accompanied by string quartet, and an arrangement of the Hanukkah song S’vivon B’sheva by Tucsonan Robert Lopez-Hanshaw, a tenor with ARS and music director at Temple Emanu-El.

Phillips will accompany the chorus on guitar for the rhythmic and festive Abreme la Puerta, a Puerto Rican “aguinaldo.” “The song is traditionally sung by groups traveling from house to house late at night in December with the sole intention of waking up the owners of the house to receive food and drinks from them,” Phillips said. “It will be fun.”

This year’s December ARS concerts include two afternoon concerts and two evening performances, at four separate venues.

2019 ARS Holiday Concerts: Rejoice and Be Merry!

7:30 p.m. Friday, December 6
Christ the King Episcopal Church
2800 W. Ina Road

3 p.m. Sunday, December 8
Grace St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
2331 E. Adams Street

7:30 p.m. Friday, December 13
St. Alban’s Episcopal Church
3738 N. Old Sabino Canyon Road

4 p.m. Sunday, December 15
Christ Church United Methodist
655 N. Craycroft Road

ADMISSION: $18 in advance, $20 at the door

Tickets are available online at, at the door or from an ARS member. All sales are final. Students admitted free.

Email for group ticket discounts – $15 each for groups of 10 or more.

AZPM Classical 90.5 regularly broadcasts ARS holiday concerts as part of its Community Concert Series, making the ensemble’s diverse choral repertoire available to Arizona radio listeners as well as people around the world via streaming audio on the Internet. Check for broadcast time.

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. ARS funders include the Arts Foundation for Tucson and Southern Arizona and the Arizona Commission on the Arts.