Tucson Masterworks Chorale

Summer 2020 Newsletter
 From the Board President – Stephanie Tashiro

We are still here! The 2019/2020 season did not turn out quite the way we had hoped.  We were very pleased to welcome a new Artistic Director, Angelica Dunsavage and to welcome back our Accompanist, Russell Ronnebaum.  Angelica came to us as a third year doctoral student in Choral Conducting with a minor in Music Education at the University of Arizona. She has since attained her doctorate. Russell has been with us since 2015.  In addition to having a Master’s Degree in Collaborative Piano from the University of Arizona, he brings a wealth of knowledge and experience. We are fortunate to have them both remain with us as we enter the 2020/2021 season.

We started with the Fall 2019 program “Sing Darkness to Light”.  This program was designed to show the importance of music, even during the most difficult times and how music can help bring light to darkness. The pieces in this program ranged from “It is the Silence from Anne Frank: A Living Voice”, “Only in Darkness” by Rob Redei, to “The Road Home” by Stephen Paulus, and “Luminous Night of the Soul” by Ola Gjeilo.  There were several other pieces as well.  The program was well received, with many audience members telling us they were moved by various pieces based on their own backgrounds. 

In January, we began working on our Spring 2020 program, “The Seasons” by Joseph Haydn.  Rehearsals were going quite well and preparations were being made to perform in a concert with an orchestra in April.  Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic took us by surprise. We were forced to cancel rehearsals in mid-March in order to ensure safety of our members and audience.  We have rescheduled this concert for April 25, 2021.  Our ability to go forward with this schedule will be determined by the situation with the pandemic.

The pandemic remains a challenge for us but we are determined to keep singing.  We will begin rehearsals on Labor Day for a Virtual Fall Concert.  This is a new experience for many of the members but many do plan to participate.  We also have received several new members to participate as well.  Our program “We Rise Again” is designed to express the strength of the human spirit. In times of uncertainty and doubt, the program speaks of unity, perseverance, and hope for the future. We are working toward a release date for this virtual concert in late November.

From the Artistic Director – Angelica Dunsavage

Dear TMC Singers and Friends,

            Well…it has been quite a year. I don’t believe any of us could have predicted where we are now, but I do know that having Tucson Masterworks as a part of my life this past year has been a bigger blessing than I could have realized upon my hiring last June. I have been inspired by each member’s dedication, honest music-making, and openness in my artistic vision for this organization. I’ve been humbled by the positive reception to the new works proposed and performed at our Fall 2019 concert, Sing Darkness to Light. Thank you to those who have shared their personal experiences with the rehearsal and performance of those pieces, including some powerful transformations that I believe could not have been possible without the commitment of the chorus, both musically and emotionally. That concert program has truly been one of the most memorable conducting experiences of my life, and I will always be grateful to the TMC board, chorus, and supporters for it.

            In the continuation of gratitude, I am grateful for our spring rehearsals for The Seasons, despite the piece never coming to a concert performance. This spring semester was perhaps one of the most difficult in my professional life to manage; I was always coming on or off a plane from somewhere, and I now believe that long-term jet lag exists! I am forever in the debt of our board and musical staff, who allowed me the flexibility to grow as a professional and complete my degree and remain a part of this organization. TMC was the magnet that grounded me, and eventually the reason for my staying in Tucson as the pandemic wiped out future work for so many. I was and am blessed to be able to get a “do over” on this season (both this season and The Seasons…) and remain with TMC.

            As we begin a new season, many things have changed, both for me personally and for choral organizations across the country. Despite the obstacles, I have managed to finish my degree, get married, and find not one, but two new teaching jobs to support me in the upcoming year. The 2020-2021 school year/season I’m sure will be known in the future as the “year of virtual choir.” What will never change, however, is people’s desire to make music with others. The TMC board and I have been blown away by the enrollment for our virtual fall season: this is proof that choir is not dead. We will sing, in whatever way we can do so safely. To paraphrase Dr. Seuss: I will teach you in a room. I will teach you now on Zoom! Levity aside, I truly believe this fall program will be one of our most meaningful yet, due to the power of the music in these challenging times. We Rise Again is meant to be a message of community and hope: a gift of labor and love to our supporters in Tucson and across the country. Our virtual concert can be shared and viewed from anywhere! So please, spread the message that TMC is determined to survive another 70 years, and has an amazing concert coming out in November that you can support without changing into “real clothes.”
            Much love to all of you, and I hope as we begin this next rehearsal season we think of the words of Stephen Sondheim – “If I cannot fly, let me sing.”

                                                                        Yours Musically,
                                                                                    Angelica Dunsavage, DMA!

Your 2020 TMC Leadership Team
Board of Directors                                                      Section Leaders
Stephanie Tashiro – President                                    Soprano 1 – Roberta Latham
Shirin  Antia – Vice President                                     Soprano 2 – Kathleen Kelly
Wendy Reed – Secretary                                              Alto 1 – Melanie De Sa 
Fred Brinker – Treasurer                                            Alto 2 – Prudie Eppers                            
Linda Shaw – Member                                                   Tenor – George Bray
Neil Jacobsen – Member                                               Bass – Carl Olsen
Andrew Comrie – Member                                              
Alison Futrell – Member                                                 
Prudie Eppers – Member
George Bray – Member
David Brooks – Member
Gary Bacal – Member
Janet Rowe – Member
Marcia Gold – Member

Some Important Dates – 2020 / 2021 Season

All rehearsals for Fall 2020 are on Mondays at 7pm via Zoom

Labor Day September 7th           First Zoom rehearsal

November 29th        Scheduled release of Fall Virtual Concert

April 25th 2021          Spring Concert 3 pm, St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church