The Tucson Girls Chorus was founded in 1984 by Margie Kersey, who had previously directed community Girls Choruses in Iowa. Sixty-three girls attended the first auditions in the fall of 1984, held at Hackenberg’s Pianos. Two ensembles were formed in January of 1985: Sugar and Spice Singers and the Tucson Girls Chorus; rehearsals were held during the first few years first at Naylor Middle School, and later at Catalina High School.
During the first several years of existence the Tucson Girls Chorus operated out of Ms. Kersey’s home office. Because
By 1986 the ensembles were performing at the Rodeo Parade, several Christmas tree-lighting ceremonies, and other venues around town. A third ensemble, Tucson Singers, was formed in 1987;Junior and Senior training choruses were added in the years to follow, as well as an assistant director. By 1995 the TGC summer camp was created to have all of the participants meet and make music before the academic year began.
The Tucson Girls Chorus began touring in April 1987 with a trip to Los Angeles. Subsequent tours included locations such as Washington, DC, Disneyworld in Orlando, the Pacific Northwest (Seattle and Canada), the South (Nashville and Atlanta), the Northeast (Philadelphia, New York). International tours began in 1999 starting with the United Kingdom; later the group would travel to France, Italy, Finland, Norway, Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic. Ms. Kersey’s ensembles produced three CDs: “United Kingdom Tour” (1999), “Holiday Gifts” (2000), and “Homeward Bound” (2002).
Ms. Kersey ran an apprentice program for college seniors and graduate students in Music. Education and Choral Conducting from the University of Arizona. Students would direct rehearsals and receive feedback and critiques from Ms. Kersey.
Marcela Molina joined the Tucson Girls Chorus as Artistic Director in the summer of 2006. Marcela was completing coursework at the University of Arizona for a doctoral degree in Choral Conducting. Her Graduate Teaching Assistant position had been for two years with the Tucson Arizona Boys Chorus. A native of Bogotá, Colombia, she holds a master’s degree in choral conducting and a bachelor’s degree in theory and composition from the University of Arizona and Westminster Choir College, respectively.
Beth Walkup, wife of former Tucson mayor Bob Walkup, was the executive director for the Chorus when Ms. Molina began her tenure.Beth helped the Chorus form new relationships with individuals, businesses, and other organizations around the Tucson area. Beth left the organization in 2010, and Ms. Molina was named Director of the Tucson Girls Chorus, assuming both executive and artistic responsibilities.
The ensembles at the Tucson Girls Chorus have been renamed to their current names:
Ladybugs (2nd-3rd grade) Hummingbirds (4th-5th grade)
Mariposa Singers (6th-7th grade)
Jubilate (typically 8th-9th grade)
Advanced Choir typically (9th-12th grade)
In 2012, a new choir for girls in Kindergarten and first grade, called the Bumblebees, was added to the Tucson Girls Chorus. Now the TGC serves young ladies from Kindergarten until they graduate from high school.
Since 2006, the Advanced Choir has traveled to the following destinations for tours:
2008-Europe: Vienna, Salzburg, Český Krumlov, Prague, Berlin
2009-Northeast: Philadelphia, New Jersey, New York City (including a performance at Carnegie Hall)
2010-Pacific Northwest: Alaska, Seattle, Vancouver, Bellingham
2011-Midwest: St. Louis, Madison, Milwaukee, Chicago
2012-Argentina: Buenos Aries, Mar del Plata
2013-San Francisco/Bay Area
The Jubilate Choir has toured regionally each spring since 2009 and has traveled to:
2010-San Diego, CA
2011-Albuquerque and Santa Fe, NM
2012-Los Angeles, CA
2013-El Paso, Texas
2014-San Diego, CA
The Mariposa Singers participate in a young singers' choir festival each spring in Phoenix.
Several traditions have been retained since 2006 including Homeward Bound, I am a Small Part of the World,
Circle Talk, and Warm Fuzzies.
In the Spring of 2012, the Advanced Choir spent 30 hours in Holsclaw Hall at the University of Arizona and at
Casas Adobes UCC Church in Tucson recording pieces for a CD. Two pieces to be included on the CD are by
composer Frank LaRocca. One of these pieces (Nunc Dimittis) was written especially for the Advanced Choir--the
recording on the CD is the premiere recording of the work. The CD is now for sale at the Tucson Girls Chorus office.