Lift Up Your Voice – December 2013

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