“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

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

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.

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.


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2023-24 Season

The 2023-24 season represents a momentous occasion for the Arizona Repertory Singers: our 40th anniversary.

Founded in 1984, our ensemble has remained “Uniquely Tucson,” a description held dear to our hearts. For 40 years, our choir has delighted audiences in our beautiful desert oasis with our signature choral performances of varied repertoire, instrumentation, and styles. In selecting our concert venues, we offer multiple concert dates with varied locations so that everyone in the Tucson area may find a performance location close to home.

This year promises exciting opportunities for the Arizona Repertory Singers as we impress upon our listeners what “Our Choral Legacy” is built upon. Our legacy not only includes our collaborations with other ensembles (in recent years we performed alongside the University of Arizona and the Tucson Arizona Boys Chorus), but also the repertoire that we choose to perform. Every performance this season showcases music from our vast library. A small committee of long-term singers helped to select pieces that are “uniquely ARS.”

For our holiday concert,What Sweeter Music: 40 Years with ARS,” choral favorites such as Morten Lauridsen’s O Magnum Mysterium and John Rutter’s What Sweeter Music were performed alongside Steven Landau’s engaging composition Hark! in 7/8 and an audience favorite two years in a row, Brightest and Best by Shawn Kirchner.

This spring, we break tradition with only one performance at the end of April: a gala concert event, “All the Beauty.” This anniversary gala will feature a newly commissioned piece by a prominent composer, a raffle, and a party of hors d’oeuvres, desserts, and mocktails to celebrate the Arizona Repertory Singers achievement of bringing quality choral music to Tucson for 40 years. This performance will take place on April 28 in the beautiful auditorium at Catalina Foothills High School. Through this performance, we broaden our theme of “Celebrating Our Choral Legacy” to include the legacy of all choral music in Tucson, especially to those that raise young voices in song.

We will honor both Dr. Julian Ackerley and Dr. Marcela Molina, directors of the Tucson Boys Chorus and Tucson Girls Chorus, for their work in nurturing thousands of young singers and instilling a love of music in our community’s youth. Our Music Director, Ryan Phillips, holds this dear to his heart as an alum of the Tucson Boys Chorus. He credits Dr. Ackerley’s direction in allowing him to pursue music as his life’s passion and grow into the role as the Arizona Repertory Singer’s music director.