History of the Tucson Girls Chorus
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.
Tucson Girls Chorus Founder Margie Kersey
1985 Winter Concert Photo at Crowder Hall
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.
Through contacts with the city of Tucson, the house at Mehl Park was provided for the TGC in 1994. The west wing rehearsal hall, is named for the Susan Harbin, former assistant director of development services for the City of Tucson, who helped the TGC secure the building. The two-car garage on the east side of the house was enlarged to create a main rehearsal hall. TGC has since worked with the City to ensure that all spaces in the rehearsal hall are accessible for all.
The River Road building and rehearsal hall announcements (1994)
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 leadership has resulted in continual growth in creating access to a world-class program that holds all students to high standards musically and personally. In 2019, Dr. Molina was awarded the honor of Choral Director of the Year by the Arizona Choral Directors Association.
Beth Walkup, wife of former Tucson mayor Bob Walkup, was the executive director for the Chorus when Dr. 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.
Since 2013, the Tucson Girls Chorus has expanded its programming to create access for Tucson's diverse communities. The Outreach Program began with Engagement Choirs in schools that did not otherwise have a choral program, and has expanded to include support for music educators,
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
2015 - China-fifteen cities in twenty-one days!
2016 - East Coast: New Jersey, New York City, Washington. D.C.
2017 - Midwest: Minnesota, Iowa, Chicago
2018 - Montreal and Quebec City, Canada
2019 - Midwest: Ohio, Michigan, Indiana
2020 - Germany (Stuttgart, Hamburg, Berlin) and Poland (Krakow)
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
2015 - Albuquerque and Santa Fe, NM
2016 - Seattle, WA
2017 - Anaheim and San Diego
2019 - Los Angeles
In December 2015, TGC Alumnae from all over the country gathered to celebrate 30 years of the girls chorus. The
founder, Margie Kersey, was on hand to conduct several pieces at the Sounds of Winter concert to a sold out show.
It was truly an inspiring moment.
Tucson Girls Chorus has recorded 2 CDs, with plans to record an additional CD in 2020.
Over the years, TGC has grown and changed to continually better serve our community and cultivate collaborations. We look to the future with optimism and excitement for what music will continue to do in our girls' lives.