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 often showcased his own compositions of musical theatre genre and took the group to retirement and nursing homes performing for shut-ins and small civic organizations. Terry retired in 1998 to pursue his work with the Rose Theatre Company here in Tucson and the women's chorus hired Terrie Ashbaugh as music director. In the past nine years, Terrie has taken this group from a small singing club to a large community-based organization.
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.
The Southern Arizona Women's Chorus has had the privilege of performing with such groups as the Tucson Symphony for the Oro Valley 4th of July celebration, the Arizona Symphonic Winds at the TCC Music Hall, and the New England Symphonic Ensemble on the venerable stage at Carnegie Hall. They have also performed with the Son's of Orpheus Male Choir of Tucson, the Arizona Youth Chamber Ensemble, and the Con Brio's Women's Ensemble from Seattle, Washington.
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.