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.

Save the Date!

Our 40th Anniversary Gala Celebration is scheduled for

Sunday, April 28, 2024 at 3pm

at Catalina Foothills High School.


This spring, we break tradition with only one performance at the end of April: a gala concert event. 
We will honor Julian Ackerley, Director, Tucson Boy’s Chorus and Marcela Molina, Director, Tucson Girl’s Chorus.
This anniversary gala will feature a newly commissioned piece by a prominent composer, a raffle, and a reception with hors d’oeuvres, desserts, and mocktails.
More information coming in January!

GROWING UP: ARS HONORS THE WORLD OF CHILDREN WITH “KIDSONG”

Contact: Julie Ray, Communications Consultant
julie@julieraycreative.com
(520) 891-8098
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 
Tucson, AZ, March, 2022 — This spring, the Arizona Repertory Singers present KidSong, a celebration of children’s songs, ballads, games, and lullabies. With a repertoire of over a dozen pieces in six languages, the program encompasses not only the playfulness and enchantment of childhood, but also its complexities.

ARS music director Ryan Phillips decided on the theme soon after he his wife welcomed twins, on the heels of an ARS rehearsal. “These songs hold a warm place in my heart,” explains Phillips, “and flow organically from the joys and wonders we’ve experienced watching them grow this past year.” In their honor, he prepared his own arrangement of “All Through the Night,” a centuries-old cradlesong he has sung countless times for his little ones as his mother did for him.

These deep connections we feel to our early years — from generation to generation and across cultures — is a through line for the entire concert, and many songs will stir wistful memories, longing, or even sorrow. The plaintive “Only in Sleep,” by Ēriks Ešenvalds, proposes that our childhood friendships live on in dreams (something of a consolation) while Eric Whitacre’s beseeching “Child of Wonder” invokes solace after devastating loss. Watching over all is “Sudraba Meness (the Silver Moon),” its reassuring presence captured in a stirring ode by composer Laura Jēkabsone and sung by ARS in the original Latvian.

The program includes many feisty and fun pieces as well, kicking off with “Hela Rotan,” a rousing tug-of-war tune from the island of Maluku, arranged by Ken Steven and sung with percussive panache in Indonesian; its lyrics extol the benefits of both healthy competition and necessary cooperation. “KidSong,” an energizing medley from Stephen Caldwell (the tempo marking is simply “as fast as possible”), revives treasured children’s classics, accompanied by claps and stomps, and may well prompt listeners to sing along.

Other traditional selections include the frolicking “Bó na Leathadharice,” arranged by Desmond Earley and sung in Irish with bodhrán accompaniment, and “We Rise Again,” an uplifting coalminer’s ballad of children carrying their forebears’ legacies forward, from darkness to light; it’s composed by Leon Dubinsky, arranged by Stephen Smith, and accompanied by piano.

In a similar vein, “Prayer of the Children” by Kurt Bestor and featuring tenors and basses, calls for hope and peace. The altos and sopranos take center stage for “On Children,” composed by Sweet Honey in the Rock’s Ysaye Barnwell with lyrics by Lebanese-American poet Kahlil Gibran. Its message to parents and elders urges them to champion the independence and individuality of children.

Finally, ARS will reprise last year’s ever-popular “I Love You/What a Wonderful World,” the well-known lyrics harkening to the beauty around us, a gift to our children. Like the rest of the program, the piece invites audience members to travel down “memory lane” or encounter a familiar feeling in a new song. KidSong sets the charms and challenges of childhood to music and captures our shared experience. This universality is central to the endeavor. As Phillips says, “There’s something for everyone.”

CONCERT SCHEDULE
Sunday, April 16 3:00 pm Desert Skies United Methodist Church, 3255 N. Houghton Road, Tucson
Friday, April 21 7:30 pm St. Mark Catholic Church, 2727 W. Tangerine Road, Oro Valley
Sunday, April 23 3:00 pm Christ Church United Methodist, 666 N. Craycroft Road, Tucson

Tickets are $18 in advance at https://arsingers.org/buy-tickets/ and $20 at the door. Students are admitted free with ID.

Covid Policy: As a performing arts organization, our audiences come first. All ARS Singers are vaccinated and have had a booster shot. We recommend that patrons attending our concerts wear a mask.

Celebrating their 39th season, the Arizona Repertory Singers is an auditioned ensemble of nearly 50 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. For more details, see arsingers.org.