Entertainment Magazine: Tucson: Events: December

Women's Chorus Presents Holiday Concerts

Raises Funds to Perform at D Day Ceremonies in France

December 11 and 13

The Southern Arizona Women’s Chorus presents its winter concerts on Dec. 11 and 13 with a program of American Christmas traditions. The choir is raising funds for a trip to France as the only chorus invited to perform at D-Day ceremonies.

Artistic Director Terrie Ashbaugh will conduct the holiday concerts and the performances in France, as she has since 1998. She also led SAWC in its 2006 Carnegie Hall debut.

“By public demand we are returning to the old favorite carols and pop songs brought to life in a brilliant choral setting. Bring the family and join us for ‘Sleigh Ride,’ ‘Silver Bells,’ ‘Silent Night,’ ‘Deck the Halls’ and many more,” Ashbaugh said. The chorus has more than 70 highly accomplished “sophisticated and saucy” who range from college students to retirees.

The concerts will be presented

  • Friday, Dec. 11 at 7 p.m. at Catalina Foothills High School, 4300 E. Sunrise Dr., and again on
  • Sunday, Dec. 13 at 4 p.m. at Ascension Lutheran Church, 1220 W. Magee Road (just east of La Canada Drive).

Tickets are $15.
Children age 10 and under are welcome at no charge. Group and military discounts also are available. Tickets can be purchased from SAWC members or online at www.southernarizonawomenschorus.org.

SAWC members will travel to France this summer as the only choir invited to represent the United States at ceremonies commemorating the D-Day invasion of Normandy in World War II. June 6, 1944 is the date when nearly 200,000 Allied troops boarded 7,000 ships and more than 3,000 aircraft and headed toward the beaches of Normandy. This was the largest amphibious invasion in history and changed the course of the war.

Roughly 50 of SAWC’s singers will perform in the French village of Sainte-Mere-Eglise, the first to be liberated by American troops, and at two official public ceremonies. The chorus also will give a concert in Paris.

Four members of the chorus have surviving WWII veterans in their families. In all, there are 26 members with family connections to veterans who fought in that war. “Some cannot afford to pay to travel to France to honor Americans who served at this critical point in history,” Ashbaugh said. “Unlike some arts groups that only take those who can pay, we prefer not to exclude those in need.” Fundraising is underway.

Expenses are estimated at $3,000 for each choir member. Fundraising will continue throughout the season. SAWC presents a busy schedule of sing-out performances at festivals, events, schools, senior communities and conferences throughout Southern Arizona. The chorus also is available for fundraising events, holiday parties and other large gatherings. SAWC also is raising funds online at https://www.gofundme.com/sawcdday.

The chorus is known for its eclectic and versatile repertoire that spans from classical music to Broadway, folk, jazz, spiritual, seasonal and other popular songs. SAWC singers have entertained this region for nearly 30 years and perform an ever-expanding repertoire written specifically for women's or treble voices.

From Mar. 31 to April 2, 2016 SAWC will co-host the third Women in Song Festival for Women’s Choruses, which Ashbaugh co-founded. The inaugural festival was in 2010 in Seattle with choirs from Arizona, Washington, Alaska and Canada. The second festival was held in Tucson in April of 2013.

In June SAWC will join the official musical unit of the American Musical Salute to commemorate the historic D-Day invasion that ultimately led to the liberation of Europe from Nazi tyranny. “This invitation is based on your outstanding reputation and a recommendation from an alumni of ‘The President’s Own’ U.S. Marine Band,” wrote Earl Hurrey in the letter of invitation from Historic Programs, a nonprofit organization that produces celebrations of people, places and events that have shaped the world.

SAWC is a member of the Arizona Choral Arts Association, which Ashbaugh founded.
She also co-founded the Women in Song Festival for Women’s Choruses. The inaugural festival was in 2010 in Seattle with choirs from Arizona, Washington, Alaska and Canada. The second festival was held in Tucson in April of 2013, hosted by SAWC.
Asubaugh also is director of worship at Ascension Lutheran Church and School.

For more information about SAWC, visit www.southernarizonawomenschorus.org or call (520) 404-3148.

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