“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.

Women In Winter Press Coverage

Take a look and listen to some of the great press we’ve received so far:

Arizona Daily Star: Tucson holiday concerts, events to put you in a ho-ho-ho mood

Explorer News: Women composers take center stage at holiday shows (Page 9)

Arizona Repertory Singers Extempore – AZPM Classical 90.5
Andy Bade speaks with Craig Sale, president of the Arizona Repertory Singers.

Explorer News: Women in Winter
AZPM - Extempore
Arizona Daily Star article on holiday concerts

WOMEN COMPOSERS TAKE CENTER STAGE IN ARS HOLIDAY CONCERTS

Contact: Julie Ray, Communications Consultant
julie@julieraycreative.com
(520) 891-8098
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: October 21, 2022
 
Tucson, AZ, October, 2022 — The Arizona Repertory Singers (ARS) present Women in Winter, a holiday program of familiar standards, new compositions, and fresh arrangements by women. “This is a first for us,” ARS music director Ryan Phillips explains. “We were inspired by a suggestion from one of our singers to focus on female composers and arrangers, a rare endeavor within the realm of holiday choral music which, like many subgenres, has been dominated over the centuries by men. We’re excited to expand our music library, diversify our repertoire, and perform these engaging works for our Tucson community.”

Encompassing both the secular and the sacred, the program is bookended by works from Sarah Quartel, a Canadian composer, educator and conductor. The concert commences with “This Endris Night,” a lilting piece that reimagines a 15th-century text for modern audiences and culminates with “Snow Angel.”

A departure from the shorter pieces in the program, “Snow Angel” allows both the singers and audience members to experience a range of moods and rhythms over its 18-minute span. Its five movements evoke the beauty of the season through children’s eyes, guided by a celestial chorus as they journey through darkness to light. This captivating work features piano, cello, and djembe.

Fourth-generation choral composer Abbie Betinis follows in her forbears’ footsteps, composing a holiday carol each year, shared on Minnesota Public Radio. Women in Winter boasts two: “Carol of the Stranger,” a call of welcome and a wish for peace, with lyrics by poet and librettist Michael Dennis Browne; and the lively “Hail, Christmas Day!” based on a medieval-style poem by Betinis’ grandfather, John H. Burt, with alternating meter and round-singing.

Other rousing selections come from Rosaphanye Powell, a prolific composer, educator, and scholar of Black spirituals. In that tradition, ARS offers “Have You Seen the Baby Jesus?” and Glory Hallelujah to Duh Newbo’n King.” The first is a new song with a foot-tapping tempo inspired by jazz and gospel rhythms, and the second, her classic arrangement recast for tenors and basses by her husband, William C. Powell.

Canadian Kim Baryluk’s “Solstice Carol,” a round of warm, modal harmonies for altos and sopranos, conjures the timeless gatherings that mark the shift in seasons. Another celebration of community, “Hiney Mah Tov,” a Hebrew folk favorite both in concerts and at Shabbat feasts throughout the world, proclaims the pleasures of coming together in its simple message from Psalm 133: “behold how good.” This version is arranged by Iris Levine.

Collective joy is also at the heart of the well-known “Gaudete” — Latin for “rejoice” — in a new, upbeat arrangement from Annabel Rooney. In addition, the jubilant “Sussex Carol,” arranged by Elaine Hagenberg and featuring a string quartet, testifies to the enduring popularity of this traditional English piece. Capturing a more reflective mood, “There Is No Rose,” by Seattle-based writer, critic, and teacher Melinda Bargreen, transports with its haunting cadence and the ebb and swell of voices.

“We’re delighted to present such a range of holiday music this season in a program that focuses on women composers working today, primarily in North America,” remarks Phillips. “The quieter pieces invite introspection while the exuberant ones gather us in celebration as we end the year and welcome the next together.”

CONCERT SCHEDULE
Friday, December 97:30 pm*St. Mark Catholic Church, 2727 W. Tangerine Road, Oro Valley
Sunday, December 113:00 pm*Desert Skies United Methodist Church, 3255 N. Houghton Road, Tucson
Sunday, December 183:00 pmChrist Church United Methodist, 666 N. Craycroft Road, Tucson

Tickets are $18 in advance at arsingers.org and $20 at the door. Students are admitted free with ID.

Covid Policy: All ARS Singers are vaccinated and have had a booster shot. We encourage patrons attending our concerts to wear a mask. This policy will be reviewed closer to December concerts and updated, if necessary.

*Indicates new venues for ARS concerts. Thank you to St. Mark Catholic Church and Desert Skies United Methodist Church for sharing their spaces for our Winter 2022 concerts.

Celebrating their 39th season, the Arizona Repertory Singers is an ensemble of nearly 50 singers from greater Tucson. Since 1984, the choir has developed an extensive repertory, presenting high-quality performances of both standard repertoire and new music. Our community of singers, selected through a rigorous audition process, represents a variety of professions and life pursuits, such as business, education, engineering, information technology, law, medicine, social service, science, and the arts. For more details, see arsingers.org.