The Arizona Repertory Singers is an auditioned ensemble of 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.
ARS is pleased to begin its 34th season of sharing professional quality choral music with audiences of all ages in Tucson and Pima County. We are very pleased to announce that ARS will continue its legacy of choral excellence under the direction of our Music Director, Dr. Elliot Jones. Elliot holds degrees from New York University, Indiana University, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Choral Conducting from the University of Arizona. Dr. Jones has held music faculty positions at the college level for several years, serves as a clinician, guest conductor and adjudicator, and has held regional leadership positions in the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA). The Arizona Daily Star and Tucson Weekly have described his performances as “powerful,” “outstanding,” and “chill-inducing.”
A hallmark of the ARS tradition is its finely-honed choral tone, and its commitment to presenting the best new choral music as well as pieces spanning several eras – from the Renaissance to well-known choral masterpieces, Americana and jazz, contemporary pieces and works commissioned by the group. Although ARS specializes in unaccompanied choral music, many of its concerts include larger works with orchestra and soloists, or instrumental accompaniment such as piano, harp, organ, strings, woodwinds, and percussion.
For 25 years ARS performed under the talented direction of the late Dr. Jeffry A. Jahn, our widely respected and visionary music director and conductor. As a tribute to Dr. Jahn’s exceptional musical leadership and contribution to the life of choral arts in Tucson, he was inducted posthumously into the 2014 Tucson Musicians Museum for “proven dedication to music, support and participation in community service…that has exceeded…the expectations for the award.”
During our 2015-16 season – a transition year for ARS following the unexpected passing of Dr. Jahn – we were fortunate to experience the musical leadership and programming creativity of Thomas E. Lerew as Interim Music Director while he concluded his doctoral degree in Choral Conducting at the University of Arizona. Tom is now Dr. Lerew, Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities at Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, Tennessee.
To inaugurate its 30th anniversary season as one of the longest-standing choral organizations in Tucson, ARS performed J.S. Bach’s festive Magnificat in D major and Respighi’s charming and vocally lush cantata, Laud to the Nativity, for the December concerts. These works were intentionally selected to demonstrate the versatility and vocal depth of ARS.
The grand finale for the 30th year celebration featured Voices at an Exhibition, an innovative choral music and artistic multimedia celebration of original commissioned compositions and original works of art by local artists who also sing with ARS. The premiere of this work demonstrated the relationship between choral music, written text and visual media, and was praised by the Arizona Daily Star in this review, “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.”
As part of its 25th Anniversary season, ARS performed a gala concert at the prestigious Stevie Eller Dance Theatre at the U of A. The event included “Songs for Braithwaite,” a new work commissioned to honor founding ARS board member, Dr. Helen S. Schaefer, by well-known contemporary choral composer Vijay Singh.
Through the years, the Arizona Repertory Singers has built a reputation as the choral ensemble to request for musical entertainment at important community events. ARS has performed at more than 70 venues. They include: the dedication of the Helen S. Schaefer Poetry Center at the University of Arizona; the dedication of the Harris Hawk Sculpture at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, honoring the memory of Space Shuttle Columbia astronaut, Laurel Clark; Interfaith Community Services’ Music for the Soul concerts at the Fox Theatre; the Carondelet Hospice Holiday Tree of Memories event and the annual Music and Memories concert sponsored by the Academy for Cancer Awareness.
Starting in December 2014, ARS was invited to perform for students from Tucson area Title 1 schools at the Berger Performing Arts Center through a sponsorship by Act One, a not-for-profit organization that engages students from underserved schools in arts learning opportunities. Based on the positive response from students and teachers, ARS continues to present concerts sponsored by Act One. Over the last three years ARS has performed for more than 1,275 students, and will continue its partnership with two concerts for students from Title 1 schools during 2017-18.
Throughout its 33-year history, ARS has also performed in concert with other musical organizations in Tucson, including the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, Tucson Pops Orchestra, Tucson Masterworks Chorale, the Sonoran Bells, and the Faculty Artist Series at the U of A.
AZPM Classical 90.5 regularly broadcasts ARS holiday concerts as part of its Community Concert Series, making the ensemble’s diverse choral repertoire available to Arizona radio listeners as well as people around the world via streaming audio on the Internet.
The Arizona Repertory Singers is grateful to have received multi-year grant funding from the Arizona Commission on the Arts (ACA) and from the Arts Foundation for Tucson and Southern Arizona (formerly Tucson Pima Arts Council).