How does your choir bond as a group?
We host “Getting to Know You” dinners for members. 4 or 5 dinner dates are set each series (a series is a 14-16 week program of rehearsals. We offer two each year) at the home of a member. Members sign up for the date/host for which they will attend. Each person brings a dish to share. The host provides the location. It is our time to chat, socialize, get to know each other.
Something you do with your choir that others might find bizarre or strange!
We do physical stretches prior to rehearsal as part of our warmups. We swing our arms, jiggle everything, yawn, and laugh.
Choir Name: Tucson Women’s Chorus
Location: Tucson, Arizona
Style: a cappella, women and girls, repertoire of songs from all cultures, many genres
Number of singers: 40
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What is something you do in rehearsals that surprises new members?
Before each performance/concert we have a few moments of inner focus on our purpose and joy in offering songs to the community.
A favorite inspirational quote
“This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before.” ~Leonard Bernstein
A turning point in the life of your choir?
In 2015, a long time director passed away. The chorus was in danger of dissolving. The drive to stay together was very strong, but we had very little funds to hire another director. A member with formal musical training, but no directing experience offered to “give it a try” while we explored other resources. That member is still our current paid Artistic Director. She has become truly beloved for her energetic style, humor, and quality musical direction. She introduced a higher level of musicality and professionalism into the group. As a result, we are flourishing and growing.
An emotional moment in rehearsal?
Singing “We are Sending You Light” in honor of a departed member.
A funny moment in rehearsal
Catherine, our director, is quite funny and often spontaneously makes off hand remarks about a song (an error, or success) which makes all of us laugh.
A favorite piece of repertoire & why
“When There is Light In the Soul”. The words are so true in espousing the miracle of singing for individuals and the world. The harmony is beautiful. Also, “Woman Spirit Rising” is a favorite. Totally empowering!
What is your audition process?
We do not hold auditions. Any interested women or girl may join regardless of past musical experience or training. We offer several supports to help new singers gain confidence and skills. In support of inviting all to join, we offer a fee waiver program so that financial need does not preclude anyone from participating.
An emotional moment you had in a performance?
There was a semester I had to take away from the group due to some personal responsibilities out of state. Upon my return to sing with the other members again, the joyous welcome I received from everyone was very touching. Singing our first song together after several months away from the chorus brought on a very emotional moment. These women, I realized, are truly my ‘sisters in song’.
Eileen Erickson has always loved singing with a capella groups, and she is currently a member and co-chair of Marketing and Communications for the Tucson Women’s Chorus. Arizona weather offers much to do outdoors so she often sings as she hikes the beautiful trails of Tucson.