Category Archives: Past Concerts

A Tribute Concert Honoring the Legacy of Dr. Jeffry A. Jahn

How Can We Keep From Singing?

3:00 p.m. Sunday, April 19th
Catalina Methodist Church
2700 E. Speedway Blvd.

The Arizona Repertory Singers presented one memorial Tribute Concert honoring the late Dr. Jeffry A. Jahn. How Can We Keep From Singing? included a retrospective of his favorite choral works performed by ARS over the last 25 years that reflected why “life is a song that must be sung.”

The concert was presented free to the public as a gift to Tucson, honoring Dr. Jahn’s belief that “ARS sings for the public, not for themselves.” There was a reception immediately following the concert for the public to share their fond memories of Jeffry Jahn and his lasting influence on the musical arts community in Tucson.

Program Notes

Standing Ovation Crowd Honors ARS and Jeffry Jahn’s Legacy
ARS performed for a ‘full house’ of 475 people. Read a concert review and watch the Tribute video, ‘The Art of Jeffry Jahn’ by Daniel Buckley.

2014 Holiday Concerts: Heavenly Light

Experience the festive atmosphere of voices raised in song that reflect the traditions of choral music. Heavenly Light features the heart and soul of the holiday season with new arrangements of well-known Christmas carols and beloved classical works. The program includes holiday pieces by Johannes Brahms, 20th century composers Francis Poulenc and Gustav Holst, and contemporary composers John Rutter and Morten Lauridsen.

Heavenly Light demonstrates that choral music, because of its inherent blending of music and words, can touch and move one’s very soul.”
—Dr. Jeffry A. Jahn

Read more in Conductor’s Corner.
View the Program. Read the Program Notes.

Sneak preview: “Ave Maria” by Franz Biebl, recorded live in concert on December 7.

Dr. Jeffry A. Jahn
Photo credit: Bill “Josh” Young


2:00 p.m. Sunday, December 7th
St. Thomas the Apostle Parish
5150 N. Valley View Road

3:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Sunday, December 14th
Benedictine Monastery
800 N. Country Club

7:30 p.m. Friday, December 19th
Benedictine Monastery
800 N. Country Club

Online tickets are available at

Open Rehearsal/Choral Singing Workshop

Sing! Learn! Laugh!

Open Rehearsal/Choral Singing Workshop

When: 7– 9 p.m. Tuesday, May 6
Where: Fountain of Life Lutheran Church Family Life Center, 710 S. Kolb Road
Who: Singers and music aficionados 18 years and older
Tickets: $10 at the door
More information: join the email list or call 520.792.8141
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Arizona Repertory Singers is holding its inaugural Open Rehearsal/Choral Singing Workshop to thank its loyal fans and the local music community for three decades of support.

If you love to sing, join ARS for an evening of choral camaraderie led by the energetic, humorous and inspiring music director and musicologist, Dr. Jeffry A. Jahn. Learn the “Seven Habits of Highly Effective Choral Singers” while observing the group behind the scenes and joining it in song.

“We wanted to do this to support and strengthen the singing community in Tucson,” Jahn said. “We want to show what ARS does. Maybe some people will realize they can do it too and will audition for ARS in August.”
This event is sponsored by Kirsten and Gary Cook.

Voices at an Exhibition

Arizona Illustrated Host, Debi Mabie, interviews Music Director, Jeffry A. Jahn and artist, Sheryl Holland, also a 20-year veteran singer with ARS. Watch the interview at

“The 45-voice ensemble might be setting a record of sorts; it’s not every day you find a choir – or any classical ensemble – rolling out four commissioned works in one concert.” – Caliente, April 24, 2014

Experience the premiere of four original artworks and compositions: The Trumpet, Bloom, Ask and Glimmer of Hope

Read Dr. Jeffry A. Jahn’s notes about Voices at an Exhibition in Conductor’s Corner
Read the Voices at an Exhibition Program Notes

Celebrating 30 years of choral excellence, Voices at an Exhibition features an exclusive musical and artistic multimedia presentation with commissioned compositions that demonstrate the relationship between choral music, written text and visual media. The concerts will also include audience favorites performed by ARS through the years.

Opening Minds through the Arts

In tandem with the multimedia celebration of Voices At An Exhibition, ARS will work with Opening Minds through the Arts (OMA) to select school children from a local elementary school who, through careful and critical listening, will use instrumental music to interpret and create an original piece of visual art.

Read more

“To premiere four pieces of music and four pieces of art at once – you won’t find that being done anywhere else in the nation,” said ARS Music Director Jeffry A. Jahn. “We are very excited to be part of something unique.”

Inspired by “Pictures at an Exhibition,” a Russian composition depicting a tour of an art collection, ARS has commissioned four original art-inspired choral compositions for Voices at an Exhibition. The artwork that inspired the music is by ARS singers who are also artists: Sheryl Holland, abstract painter; David Neve, U.S. Air National Guard Master Sgt. and photographer; Jan Sturges, photographer; and Ingrid Williams, casein painter. (See more below)

“I wanted to show the diversity of talent in this group for our 30th anniversary,” Jahn said. “We have a lot to celebrate and we wanted to do a lot to celebrate it.”

Experienced composers Ray Braswell and Dave Plank and accomplished young composers Anthony Constantino and Grant Jahn each wrote an original choral composition inspired by a different piece of art. The composers all have a connection to ARS so, while the lyrics and styles vary, each piece is a great fit.

“When you get the opportunity to rehearse a piece that no one has ever sung and perform a piece that no one has ever heard, it’s tremendously cool – and it becomes personal and emotional,” Jahn said.

[tab name=”The Trumpet”]

Photograph by David Neve

David-NeveDavid Neve has been a military photographer for 19 years. His primary photographic duty at the Arizona Air National Guard is photojournalism, but also covers studio portraiture, investigative documentation and public affairs. In his free time, Neve prefers the classic outdoor landscape and enjoys singing in ARS.

“I have been a member for only three years, but my involvement has given me the greatest musical fulfillment that I’ve experienced in decades,” Neve said. “Having been given the chance to combine one of my most personal photographs with the choir that I cherish is a once-in-a-lifetime honor for me.”

Artist Statement: The image was photographed in September of 1997 at The Gettysburg National Military Park and Battlefield. I was able to combine two of my passions: photography and the Civil War.

Choral Composition by Anthony Constantino

Anthony-ConstantinoBorn and raised in Tucson, Anthony Constantino, 19, is pursuing a Bachelor of Music in Composition at the Manhattan School of Music where he also sings with the Manhattan School of Music Chamber Choir.

In 2011, while he was singing with ARS, the ensemble premiered Constantino’s Beauty Has the Coldest Heart at its Spring concerts. In May of the same year, Constantino received a commission from Carnegie Hall for his piece Thus it Was as part of the Carmina Burana Choral Project, which premiered February 2012. He participated in the Tucson Symphony Orchestra’s Young Composer’s Project for three years and TSO featured his Vesuvius in six educational concerts in May 2012.

In October 2013, Constantino was selected as a YoungArts Winner and invited to YoungArts Week 2014 in Miami, where his Duo for Clarinet and Bassoon was performed at the New World Center by members of the New World Symphony.

Artist Statement: I was attracted to the poem “The Trumpet” by Edward Thomas because of the title’s correlation to the artwork. I wanted to use a text I could imagine the angel saying, and a call to rise up seemed most appropriate. The music is born completely from the text — no preconceived compositional techniques were used in the process of writing. I simply allowed myself to follow my instinct and write what I heard in an improvisational style. I hope to present the audience with an inspirational call to arms — not to war with others but to battle with their inner selves in order to filter the clutter we all deal with, and to find what sparks true passion in the soul.


[tab name=”Bloom”]

The Bloom – Painting by Sheryl Holland

Sheryl-HollandSheryl Holland taught art and humanities in Michigan public schools before retiring to Arizona where she developed a joy and passion for painting large abstracts. Holland loves the spontaneous process of moving vivid colors on canvas, forming unexpected images and shapes. Her process is unpredictable and full of surprises, but design principles are paramount. “I rarely start with an idea in mind and can never predict the outcome,” she said. “The image constantly changes and I constantly chase it, trying to see where it wants to go, what it wants to be.”

Holland has been a dedicated member of ARS for 20 years. “It’s in my blood, along with painting. I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to express the art of beauty in both sound and color.”

Artist Statement: For this painting, I chose bold colors that I love, deep purples and golds. The energy of these opposites are palpable and lend themselves to the big, bold strokes made with large brushes. It is a long process of painting in and painting out to discover a composition that is unified and alive.

Choral composition and text by Grant Jahn

Grant-JahnComposer and clarinetist Grant Jahn was raised in a musically rich Tucson household; his father, Dr. Jeffry A. Jahn, is the ARS music director, and his mother taught vocal music in Tucson schools and sings soprano in ARS. In 2011, during his junior year at University High School, Jahn was selected to participate in the Young Composers Project, which resulted in the Tucson Symphony Orchestra premiering his orchestral work Lament and Escape. While a student at the University of Arizona School of Music, Jahn’s Rhapsody for Solo Bb Clarinet, Chatter for flute and oboe and O magnum mysterium for mixed chorus premiered in 2012 (the last by ARS), and the first two movements of Sonata for Clarinet and Piano, with Grant as clarinet soloist, premiered in 2013. Jahn is now majoring in Music Composition at Arizona State University where he also performs and composes in the clarinet studio.

Artist Statement:

This painting inspired a flood of creative thought that inspired my accompanying text. The painting made me think of the constant eternal struggle to emerge from death. In this struggle, there is optimistic hope and sad remembrance for all things that have passed. Eventually we all return to the Earth, and that is exactly what I hoped to convey through my interpretation of this amazing painting.

[tab name=”Ask”]

Photograph by Jan Sturges

Jan-SturgesJan Sturges graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree from Denison University and toured with the international performing and educational organization, Up With People, as a cast music director. She received her Master’s of Education Degree in Counseling and Guidance from the University of Arizona in 1986 and has had a 28-year management career in health care and aging, including at the UA as an elder care specialist. “The experience of singing with such talented singers in ARS under the incomparable and passionate musicianship of Dr. Jeffry Jahn is a privilege that has enriched my life beyond measure!,” she said. “I am humbled and honored that Dr. Jahn selected my photo for Voices at an Exhibition and equally flattered by Ray Braswell’s thoughtful composition.”

Artist Statement: Photography is a life-long passion of mine. I attempt to create both feeling and metaphor for the viewer in my photos. I am grateful to Ray Braswell for reverently capturing the evocative mood and message in song and text of what I wanted to communicate, that when we rely on God’s presence and He opens a door before us, we are beckoned to step across that threshold and leave the momentary comfort of a shaded patio for the bright light of promise and opportunity that lies just beyond – and the hope that is ours for the ‘asking.’

Choral Composition by Ray Braswell

Ray-BraswellRay Braswell received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music from Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina and has been a church choir director and band director ever since.

Braswell completed a doctorate in education from Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia. His band, choral and orchestral compositions have been performed across America and in the United Kingdom. His musical style is contemporary romanticism, with melodic passages and accessible harmonies.

Artist Statement: “Ask” is based upon the Biblical passages from the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew, which speaks of opening doors for those who ask. It is simple in meaning, yet profound in the concept that prayer uplifts man and draws him closer to God, when he seeks knowledge and strength through prayer. The second section, based on Matthew 7:13-14, describes the journey one must take to seek the kingdom of God.

I was extremely honored that Dr. Jahn asked me to write this composition for ARS. Having sung with the group for several years while I lived in Tucson, I know that ARS has a reputation for choral performances that are highly demanding, emotionally thrilling and outstanding in quality and musicianship.

[tab name=”Glimmer of Hope”]

Painting by Ingrid Williams

Ingrid-WilliamsIngrid Williams has been painting with casein since 1978 and has shown at galleries around the nation. Last winter, Zuzi Dance Troup chose her water paintings to accompany its Solstice Poetry of Water show and her “Portable Monsoon” exhibit displayed in Tucson at the main library and at the airport. Her work is currently at Violante and Rochford Design in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Williams has sung with ARS since 2005.

“Painting makes my eyes come alive, just like singing makes my ears come alive,” she said. “Resounding together in harmony is how we exist here on earth.”

Artist Statement: “Sunrise” was an easy choice for ARS’ Voices at an Exhibition; it’s my most recent work, an attempt at painting snow and ice with a Chinese character for “Snow” and a mini-snow storm above it. The sun is dark. Strange shapes loom. Dave Plank has captured the essence of the painting with the idea that we may wish for an easier road, but move forward anyway, guided by a higher power.

Choral Composition by David L. Plank

David-PlankDavid L. Plank received a Master’s in Education from the University of Arizona and taught in Tucson public schools for more than 20 years. He also served on the faculty of the University of Wisconsin/ Madison Summer Music Clinic for 10 years, both as a performer/clinician and teacher of composition, arranging and improvisation. Plank has written many choral works for Tucson area high school choirs as well as the UA. He has had choral works published by Shawnee Press, Aberdeen Music, Kendor Music, and Curtis Music Press as well as a jazz band series published by Kjos West. The Tucson Symphony Orchestra, Tucson Pops Orchestra, Queensland Australia Pops Orchestra and the Southern Arizona Symphonic Winds have performed his instrumental works. Plank has performed at jazz festivals in the Southwest United States as well as the International Cervantino Festival in Mexico. Plank has also worked with entertainers including Liberace, Debbie Reynolds, Bob Hope and Steve Allen.

Artist Statement: My daughter, Lori Green, sings in ARS and I was delighted when Jeffry Jahn asked me to write a composition based on Ingrid William’s incredible painting. As I studied it, I felt that the white areas in the painting represented hope, even in the face of danger and despair. In looking for suitable text about hope, I found a poem written by the ancient Greek playwright Euripides. Then I created music that reflected what I perceived to be the appropriate mood.


Lift Up Your Voice


Photo by: Chris Richards; Benedictine Monastery, December 2013

What did our audiences have to say?

“Crystalline voices in a gorgeous acoustic and setting.”…“Coordination between chorus and orchestra – excellent!”

Special thanks to everyone who supported ARS for our special 30th Anniversary holiday concerts – Our audience, concert sponsors, concert program advertisers, talented orchestra and soloists and our concert volunteer ‘ambassadors’!

Lift Up Your Voice

Dr. Jeffry A. Jahn
Photo credit: Bill “Josh” Young

We will inaugurate our 30th anniversary season with performances of J. S. Bach’s Magnificat in D major and Respighi’s distinctive yet seldom-heard work, Laud to the Nativity. Both compositions capture the essence of their respective eras: Bach’s Magnificat is noted for its “Festive” five-part scoring for mixed voices and orchestra, and is a stylistic masterpiece of the Baroque era (1600-1750). Respighi’s pastoral cantata, Laud to the Nativity, has simplistic charm and utilizes his unique orchestral color and subtle harmonic nuance characteristic of early 20th century Italian music.

Program Notes
Conductor’s Corner
ARS – 30 Years at a Glance

Read about our five outstanding soloists and orchestra

2:00 p.m. Sunday, December 8th
St. Thomas the Apostle Parish
5150 N. Valley View Road

7:30 p.m. Friday, December 13th
Benedictine Monastery
800 N. Country Club

3:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Sunday, December 15th
Benedictine Monastery
800 N. Country Club

Online tickets now available at Tickets can also be purchased at the door or from an ARS member. All sales are final. To assure available seating, please purchase tickets online or arrive early. Students 18 years and under admitted free at St. Thomas the Apostle Parish.

To receive concert and other information about ARS, join our private email list.


On High – Michelle Hynson
O magnum mysterium – Sally Herman
Candlelight Carol – John Rutter

Lauda per la Nativitá del Signore (Laud to the Nativity) Ottorino Respighi (1879–1936)

Vanessa Salaz – Soprano
Kirsten Cook – Mezzo Soprano
Francisco Rentería – Tenor

Magnificat in D Major BWV 243 by J. S. Bach (1685-1750)

I) Magnificat anima mea – Chorus
II) Et exsultavit spiritus meus – Aria – Soprano II
III) Quia respexit humilitatem – Aria – Soprano I
IV) Omnes generationes – Chorus
V) Quia fecit mihi magna – Aria – Bass
VI) Et misericordia – Duet – Alto, Tenor
VII) Fecit potentiam – Chorus
VIII) Deposuit potentes – Aria – Tenor
IX) Esurientes implevit bonis – Alto
X) Suscepit Israel – Trio – Soprano I, II, Alto
XI) Sicut locutus est – Chorus
XII) Gloria patri – Chorus

Vanessa Salaz – Soprano
Mackenzie Romriell – Mezzo Soprano
Francisco Rentería – Tenor
Juan Aguirre – Bass

Soloists and Orchestra

Vanessa Salaz, soprano

Vanessa Salaz

Vanessa Salaz

Ms. Salaz is very happy to have recently returned to her hometown of Tucson, Arizona after a decade of living and studying in New York and performing opera around the world.

Ms. Salaz was the national first place winner of the prestigious NATS Artist Award (NATSAA) leading to her Carnegie Hall debut in Stern Auditorium in 2001 and many subsequent guest recital appearances throughout the country. She has been a multiple prize winner in the Metropolitan Opera Auditions, including 2nd place in the Western Region. She has also participated in many international competitions, including the final round of the Francisco Vinas International Singing Competition in Barcelona, Spain. She has participated in prestigious young artist programs such as Music Academy of the West, Opera Theater of St. Louis, International Institute of Vocal Arts in Chiari, Italy, and the International Vocal Arts Institute in Tel Aviv, Israel – allowing her to receive guidance and training from many of the music world’s top artists such as Marilyn Horne, Joan Dornemann, Stephen Lord, Warren Jones and Patricia McCaffrey.

On the concert stage, Ms. Salaz made her Carnegie Hall debut as the soprano soloist with the New England Symphonic Ensemble in Schubert’s Mass in G. Other performances include solo’s in Sheherazade (Ravel), The Seasons (Haydn), Christmas Oratorio (Bach), Elijah (Mendelssohn), Exsultate jubilate (Mozart), and Messiah (Handel). She was the soprano soloist with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra and Boys Chorus in the Christmas Concert special, “Christmas at the Mission” which was nationally broadcast on PBS.

Recent operatic performances include Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro with Connecticut Grand Opera, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni with the Festival Lyrique en Mer in Belle Ile, France, and Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni with Opera in the Heights in Houston, Texas. Ms. Salaz holds a Master of Music degree and Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Arizona where she studied with Professor Charles Roe and a Professional Studies Certificate from Manhattan School of Music where she studied with Patricia McCaffrey and Warren Jones.

Kirsten Cook, Mezzo-Soprano

Kirsten Cook

Kirsten Cook

This is Kirsten’s 22nd season as a member of the Arizona Repertory Singers (ARS). Kirsten is an active recitalist and a regular soloist with ARS. She was the alto soloist in Tucson’s Messiah Sing-In for three years and has soloed with the Crested Butte Music Festival Orchestra in Colorado and sung in opera choruses there. Also an oboist, she has occasionally accompanied ARS in concert and was a member of the Messiah Sing-In orchestra for nine years. Kirsten holds degrees in Music Education and English from the University of Michigan and a Master of Arts degree in Counseling from the University of Arizona.  The recently retired public school counselor enjoys hobbies which include nature and landscape photography, hiking and being a grandma. Kirsten’s vocal coach is Dr. Jeffry Jahn.

Mackenzie Romriell, Mezzo-Soprano

Mackenzie Romriell

Mackenzie Romriell

Mackenzie Romriell is a Doctorate of Musical Arts candidate in vocal performance at the University of Arizona, where she also received her Master of Music degree in Voice. Mackenzie is originally from Pocatello, Idaho where she received her Bachelor of Music in Voice at Idaho State University. She is married and has four beautiful children.

Mackenzie currently maintains a small private voice studio and teaches opera to first graders at Dietz Elementary as a specialist in Arts Integration with the Arizona Opera Company. She volunteers her time as a choir director in her church, and is a chorus member for the Arizona Opera Company.

Recently, Mackenzie performed the role of Sesto in the University of Arizona’s portrayal of Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito. Other roles she has been fortunate enough to perform include La Zia Principessa in Suor Angelica, the Mother in The Consul, Florence in Albert Herring, Fidalma in Il matrimonio segreto, Zita in Gianni Schicchi, Dorabella in Cosi fan tutte, Mrs. Potts in Beauty and the Beast, and Katisha in The Mikado. Upcoming events for Mackenzie include performing as the mezzo-soprano soloist for Tucson’s Messiah Sing-In on December 2, 2013, and as a featured soloist in the Arizona Repertory Singers performances of Bach’s Magnificat in D major, December 8, 13, and 15.

Francisco Rentería, Tenor

Francisco Renteria

Francisco Renteria

Francisco Rentería was born in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico. Rentería holds a Bachelor of Music and a Masters of Music degree in piano performance from the University of Arizona where he studied with Dr. Nohema Fernández. He has won different prizes and awards including first prize in the Green Valley Concert Association Piano Competition in 1999.

Mr. Rentería also has always had a passion for singing. He participated with the U of A Opera Theater where he sang in several operas including La Vida Breve, The Marriage of Figaro, Student Prince, and others. Mr. Rentería started to develop his operatic technique when he began to study voice with Gail Dubinbaum in 2003. Since then he has obtained different engagements to sing as a soloist including Mozart’s Coronation Mass, Handel’s Messiah, Bach’s Saint John’s Passion, and opera previews, among others. Mr. Rentería has played several roles with Arizona Opera and Phoenix Opera including Normanno in Lucia di Lammermoor, Borsa in Rigoletto, Il Messagero in Aida and Gastone in La Traviata. He was the understudy for Rodolfo in the production of Boheme for Phoenix Opera. He also works in the Opening Mind Through the Arts program where he is part of an opera trio that teaches classroom curriculum to first grade students in the Tucson Unified School District using the musical medium of opera.

Juan Aguirre, Bass

Juan Aguirre

Juan Aguirre

Originally from Hermosillo, Sonora Mexico, Juan obtained his Masters Degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Arizona where he performed leading roles in numerous operas and was the first- prizewinner of two major Opera competitions. Juan made his professional opera debut with Arizona Opera Company in 1997 and has performed with them from time to time since then. In addition, he has sung professionally with Phoenix Metropolitan Opera, S.A.S.O and Wieck Chamber singers and Orchestra and has worked with world- renowned directors/coaches/singers such as Tito Capobianco, Richard Miller, and legendary bass, Jerome Hines.

Equally at home in the realm of musical theatre, Juan is a regular on Arizona Stages doing a wide variety of roles from dramatic to comedy.

In the world of popular music he has recorded two CDs and is the bass singer and founder of The Presidio Boys, a country/gospel male quartet.

Outside the United States, Juan sings regularly in recitals, concerts and operas throughout Mexico. He was a featured bass soloist with the Liszt Academy orchestra in Budapest, Hungary and was privileged to sing in the presence of president Maduro of Honduras and a number of his distinguished guests.

In addition to performing, Juan enjoys stage directing and most recently directed Cinderella and Les Miserables for CYT as well as Esther and Amahl and the Night Visitors for Wieck Chamber singers and Orchestra.

Juan also teaches private voice students and works for TUSD in a program called Opening Minds through the Arts (O.M.A), helping to reinforce the curriculum through Opera. In addition, he can also be seen and heard on both local and national television and radio as a bilingual actor and voice over artist.


Violin I
Toru Tagawa
Laura Tagawa

Violin II
Sandra Lanz (Dusterdick)
Deborah Bouchard

Christina Swanson
Tim Secomb 

Rebecca Bartelt
Helena Pedersen

Philip Swanson
Jay Vosk

Devin Gardner  
Sherry Jameson       
English Horn
Sherry Jameson

Brenda Buys (Willer)
Cassandra Bendickson

Carl Fetkenhour
Michael Kiefer
Betty Scott

Tina Walton

Gregg Reynolds