The women's chorus began in 1981 as a project for a University of Arizona graduate student. After his graduation, instead of disbanding, the group came under the direction of the late Terry Howell and incorporated as the Foothills Women's Chorus. Terry retired in 1998 to pursue his work with the Rose Theatre Company and the women's chorus hired Terrie Ashbaugh as music director.
In the summer of 2006, the chorus changed its name to reflect a new image and status. Now operating as the Southern Arizona Women's Chorus, the women perform from the ever expanding repertoire written specifically for women's or treble voices. As the premier women's chorus of Tucson, they strive to sing quality music that showcases the women's voices and fulfills their desire to entertain. Performances have included such music as the late Baroque period "Missa de Profunctis" on the same program as Broadway medleys, or Spanish folksongs and jazzy samba. The music is extremely diverse and sometimes very difficult. However, the women find that learning the music in a fun and encouraging environment keeps them coming back for more. Their reward is realizing something previously thought impossible. Singing with this chorus provides a deep sense of accomplishment and a sense of belonging that comes from the caring and support these women extend to each other.
While continuing to maintain their relationship with the senior community of Tucson, the chorus is also available for community events, fund raisers, holiday parties, and other large gatherings. The group is currently 70 plus members. Daytime concerts will often provide an average of 35 singers, so keep that in mind when planning your next event, featuring special music by the Southern Arizona Women's Chorus.
Be sure and join us for our annual spring and winter ticketed public concerts. Check the concert schedule page for more details.
Rehearsals are held from September through May, Monday evenings from 7:00p.m. - 9:00p.m. at Ascension Lutheran Church, 1220 West Magee Rd. An optional session is held during the month of June. Rehearsals are open to visitors or those interested in joining the Chorus. Annual tuition is $225 (discounted).
(Special thanks to the gracious and generous people from Ascension Lutheran Church for providing the rehearsal space. Without this loving environment and their faithful support, our outreach to the community would not be possible.)
Southern Arizona Women's Chorus is a member of Chorus America.
Terrie Ashbaugh has been a professional musician for over 35 years. She received her BA in piano performance from Seattle Pacific University and Masters Degree in Choral Conducting from the University of Arizona under Dr. Maurice Skones.
As a director, Terrie directed the Columbia Boys Choir and Columbia Girls Choir (2 separate choirs) Preparatory and Training choirs (concert level choirs consistently won top awards), and the Kirkland Choral Society, Kirkland, Washington, in addition to directing music ministries at several churches in the Seattle area. In Arizona, she retired after 10 years as the first individual director of the Faculty/Staff choir at the University of Arizona and since 1998, has been directing the Southern Arizona Women's Chorus. Terrie is also full time Director of Worship at Ascension Lutheran Church and School. In 2008 she was nominated as an Individual Artist for the Governor's Arts Awards, in 2009 received a letter of recognition from the Mayor of Tucson for her contribution to the community, and in 2011 was nominated for the Tucson/Pima Arts Council Arts Educator Award. She has had the privilege to direct on the stage alongside Dr. Rene Clausen, Dr. Kirby Shaw, Rollo Dilworth, and Dr. Julian Ackerley.
As an accompanist, Terrie has accompanied the Internationally Award winning Columbia Boys and Girls Choirs, for Victory Productions "Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat", Arizona Theatre Company "Swingin' On A Star", Tucson Arizona Boys Chorus, Tucson Girls Chorus, as Anshei Israel Congregation pianist, and for the University of Arizona, choral, voice, and brass studios. She has traveled to USSR, Czech Republic, Germany, and Quebec, Montreal, Powell River, Canada accompanying award winning choirs.
Terrie has been a guest clinician for Hand Bell techniques at the Regional Hand Bell conference, Tacoma, Washington and Spring Ring, Tucson, Arizona; for vocal techniques with the Sunshine Chorus; Tucson chapter of the SPEBSQSA (twice); and choral techniques for Shoreline High School (Woodinville, WA), Santa Rita, and Amphitheatre High Schools (Tucson, AZ). She has also served as adjudicator for the ChoDa Choral Festival for Middle Schools, and the Arizona Music Educators Regional Solo competition in Tucson, Arizona.
As a private voice instructor, her students have obtained roles with Seattle Opera Company, won 1st and 2nd place awards in National Association of Teachers of Singing Competitions, placed in the music theatre program at the University of Arizona (very strenuous auditions/program) and consistent Regional and All State Choir winners.
Terrie also composes and arranges music for her various choirs.