40th Gala is a STUNNING success

ARS singers performing Alleluia at the 40th gala

Thank you to all who made All the Beauty: 40th Anniversary Gala a stunning success! With friends, family, and community members, we gathered together on April 28, 2024 to pay tribute to four decades of choral virtuosity and community engagement. Our 250+ guests were treated to a mix of song, ARS history, community, hors d’oeuvres and raffle prizes. Each ARS music director – founder Dennis Bonner, Dr. Jeffry Jahn, Dr. Tom Lerew, Dr. Elliot Jones and current director Ryan Phillips – were recognized with music from their tenure. Each of our special honorees, Dr. Julian Ackerley of the Tucson Arizona Boys Chorus, and Dr. Marcela Molina of the Tucson Girls Chorus, conducted one of our pieces. We are so grateful for the incredible contributions they have each made to the choral communities of Arizona and beyond.

A very special thanks again to our sponsors for the gala – Mike and Beth Kasser, The Morris A. Hazan Family Foundation, La Posada Communities, and Rick Sack and the Buy Tucson Lots Team. It was an afternoon we will not soon forget, and highlighted the joy we have for this organization, joining and raising our voices together.

Stay tuned for our 2024-2025 season announcements and watch this space for updates as we head into our next 40 years of sharing our choral excellence and legacy with audiences of all ages, including Tucson area youth! We are excited for what is to come!

Parlor Guitar, Original song, Ballet Tickets and More raffle prizes!

With its mix of song and community, hors d’oeuvres and raffle prizes, the 40th Anniversary Gala promises to be an exciting must-attend event for choral music aficionados, arts lovers, and ARS supporters. It’s rare for ARS to hold a fundraiser, and the proceeds will fund ARS music and education programs in the years ahead.

ARS Music Director Ryan Phillips sums it up simply: “It’s a celebration of who we are and the music that we’ve brought to this community.”

A sample of the generously donated raffle items:

Melinda Bargreen: Original Song
Ballet Tucson: 2 Tickets (excludes Nutcracker)
Horton & Sons Guitar: Parlor Guitar
Van Naerssen Fine Art: Oil Painting
Locale Neighborhood Italian: 2 50$ Gift Cards
Sheryl Holland Art: Original Acrylic Painting
Navajo Turquoise & Silver Pendant
Gadabout Salon Spas: Gift Certificate
Hollowell Physical Therapy: Gift Certificate
The Invisible Theatre: Gift Certificate
Handmade quilts
San Jose House Tombstone Stay
The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures: One year of passes for 2
Diane M Thomas: Original Watercolor
Seestar S50 camera/telescope combo
9′ Golf Putting Ramp

Melinda Bargreen Composed new WORK for ARS 40th Gala

For our upcoming 40th Anniversary & Gala celebration, ARS commissioned a new piece from noted Seattle-based composer Melinda Bargreen, who will attend the Gala. Entitled “For All the Beauty,” the song’s beautiful harmonies tug at the heart with lyrics that capture “why we sing,” according to piano educator and ARS board president and singer (bass) Craig Sale, “and the power of music to accompany us as a community through good times and bad.” As Bargreen’s words remind listeners, “We give our thanks without end/For each loved one and each friend.”

In her words:

”A choral commission for an important anniversary is a cherished opportunity. When asked to write a piece for the Arizona Repertory Singers’ 40th anniversary season, I thought about all the great music that these singers have brought to the world during all those years: songs old and new, sacred and secular, all of them meaningful and performed with purpose. How thankful we all must be for so much beauty, in good times and also in times of challenge.

What makes choral singing so special is the uniting of words and music, and it was a joy and an honor to provide a new text and new sounds that speak to the Arizona Repertory Singers’ mission of creating a beautiful experience for so many listeners.”

About Melinda

Melinda Bargreen composer

Melinda Bargreen is a Seattle-based writer and composer whose award-winning choral works have been featured in performances from China to Belgium, as well as on recordings and on PBS television. She is the author of two books about music, Classical Seattle (University of Washington Press, 2015) and 50 Years of Seattle Opera (Marquand Press, 2014).

She was classical music critic of The Seattle Times from 1977 to 2008 (now freelancing). Melinda has written reviews and articles for several national and international publications, including the New Grove Dictionary of American Music, MusicWeb International, The American Record Guide, Symphony Magazine, The Christian Science Monitor, and NPR’s “Performance Today” series. 

Melinda holds B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of Washington, and a Ph.D. in English and Comparative Literature from the University of California, Irvine.

“ALL THE BEAUTY” Celebrates 40-YEAR LEGACY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tucson, AZ, February, 2024 — This spring, the Arizona Repertory Singers (ARS) pay tribute to four decades of choral virtuosity and community engagement in All the Beauty: 40th Anniversary Gala, a combination concert, reception, and fundraiser. In addition to highlighting an extraordinary history, this one-of-a-kind event affirms ARS’s commitment to future generations of singers and audiences by recognizing the contributions of two remarkable music directors who have cultivated a love of music among Tucson youth — Dr. Julian Ackerley of the Tucson Arizona Boys Chorus and Dr. Marcela Molina of the Tucson Girls Chorus.

The rich legacy of the Arizona Repertory Singers (initially called the Arizona Recital Choir) began in 1984 when doctoral student Dennis Bonner sought to create a group devoted to choral excellence, magnificent music, and community connection. The group’s artistry and reputation thrived under the direction of Dr. Jeffry A. Jahn who took the helm in 1990 and led ARS through a 25-year period of growth in musicianship, popularity, repertoire, and membership.

After Jahn’s unexpected passing in 2015, his widow Nadeen Jahn, a music educator and conductor as well as a soprano in ARS, conducted a moving tribute concert for her husband. Thomas E. Lerew (2015-16) and Dr. Elliot Jones (2017-2019) led ARS for shorter terms, and Ryan Phillips came on board as music director in 2019, ushering in a new period of innovation and vision for the group. When Covid hit, Phillips organized virtual concerts, a previously unexplored medium. “Singing remotely gave the ensemble new-found musical gifts,” says Phillips. “We gained new members and learned new ways to practice.”

The Gala concert program includes 17 selections culled from the ARS archives. Audiences may well remember beloved classics from earlier concerts, such as the dynamic “How Can I Keep from Singing?” by Z. Randall Stroope and the joyful “If Music Be the Food of Love” by David Dickau as well as a rousing spiritual from an ARS virtual concert, Stacey V. Gibbs’s “Great Day” and a newer piece by Josu Elbedin sung in English, Basque, and Latin, “Cantate Domino,” a favorite of Phillips.

Though the program focuses on celebrating past repertoire, ARS commissioned a new piece from noted Seattle-based composer Melinda Bargreen, who will attend the Gala. Entitled “For All the Beauty,” the song’s beautiful harmonies tug at the heart with lyrics that capture “why we sing,” according to piano educator and ARS board president and singer (bass) Craig Sale, “and the power of music to accompany us as a community through good times and bad.” As Bargreen’s words remind listeners, “We give our thanks without end/For each loved one and each friend.”

Looking to the future of choral music, ARS partnered for several years with Act One (a non-profit that matches arts organizations with underserved schools), reaching more than 1,900 Tucson students through their performances. Currently, ARS organizes concerts through the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, performing for young audiences and continuing to educate, entertain, and inspire the youth of Southern Arizona. Gala honorees Ackerley and Molina embody this ongoing commitment across generations. Phillips himself is an alum of the Tucson Boys Chorus and his son is a member of their touring group.

With its mix of song and community, hors d’oeuvres and raffle prizes, the 40th Anniversary Gala promises to be an exciting must-attend event for choral music aficionados, arts lovers, and ARS supporters. It’s rare for ARS to hold a fundraiser, and the proceeds will fund ARS music and education programs in the years ahead. The festivities are sure to please those in attendance; as for the singers, they couldn’t be happier. As Jahn explains, “We are reveling in this wonderful music.” Phillips sums it up simply: “It’s a celebration of who we are and the music that we’ve brought to this community.”

ALL THE BEAUTY: 40TH ANNIVERSARY GALA AND FUNDRAISER

Sunday, April 28, 2024
3:00 pm to 6:00 pm
Catalina Foothills High School Auditorium
4300 E. Sunrise Drive, Tucson
Honorees:
Dr. Julian Ackerley, Director, Tucson Arizona Boys Chorus
Dr. Marcela Molina, Director, Tucson Girls Chorus 

Purchase tickets.
Preferred Seating: $100 (includes three raffle tickets)
General Seating: $75 (includes one raffle ticket)
Raffle Tickets: $10/each for donated goods and experiences.
Raffle tickets for donated goods and experiences will be provided upon check-in. Must be present to win. Gala and raffle tickets are not tax-deductible.

40th Anniversary Gala

Flyer for Arizona Repertory Singers 40th Anniversary Gala

Sunday, April 28, 2024 at 3pm
Catalina Foothills High School Auditorium

Please note that online ticket sales end Friday, April 26 at 6pm.

This spring, the Arizona Repertory Singers pay tribute to four decades of choral virtuosity and community engagement in All the Beauty: 40th Anniversary Gala, a combination concert, reception, and fundraiser. In addition to highlighting an extraordinary history, this one-of-a-kind event affirms ARS’s commitment to future generations of singers and audiences by recognizing the contributions of two remarkable music directors who have cultivated a love of music among Tucson youth — Dr. Julian Ackerley of the Tucson Arizona Boys Chorus and Dr. Marcela Molina of the Tucson Girls Chorus.

The Gala concert program includes 17 selections culled from the ARS archives. Audiences may well remember beloved classics from earlier concerts, such as the dynamic “How Can I Keep from Singing?” by Z. Randall Stroope and the joyful “If Music Be the Food of Love” by David Dickau as well as a rousing spiritual from an ARS virtual concert, Stacey V. Gibbs’s “Great Day” and a newer piece by Josu Elbedin sung in English, Basque, and Latin, “Cantate Domino,” a favorite of Phillips. Though the program focuses on celebrating past repertoire, ARS commissioned a new piece from noted Seattle-based composer Melinda Bargreen entitled “For All the Beauty,”

With its mix of song and community, hors d’oeuvres and raffle prizes, the 40th Anniversary Gala promises to be an exciting must-attend event for choral music aficionados, arts lovers, and ARS supporters. Tickets are $75 for general seating (includes one raffle ticket) and $100 for preferred seating (includes three raffle tickets). Additional raffle tickets may be purchased for $10. Download flyer. Read our 40 years of highlights!


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