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OUR HISTORY

The TUCSON GIRLS CHORUS was founded in 1984 by Margie Kersey, who had previously directed community Girls Choruses in Iowa. 63 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. 

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Tucson Girls Chorus Founder Margie Kersey

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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.

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The River Road building and rehearsal hall announcements (1994)

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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.

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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 Dr. Molina was named Director of the Tucson Girls Chorus, assuming both executive and artistic responsibilities.

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In 2013, the Tucson Girls Chorus launched its Community Engagement program to to expand geographic access to Tucson Girls Chorus programs.

 

The Community Engagement Program began with Engagement Choirs (now called Las Estrellas) in schools that did not otherwise have a choral program, and has expanded to include in-classroom support for music educators, annual festivals, and professional development workshops.

In 2013, the Tucson Girls Chorus launched its Community Engagement program to to expand geographic access to Tucson Girls Chorus programs.

 

The Community Engagement Program began with Engagement Choirs (now called Las Estrellas) in schools that did not otherwise have a choral program, and has expanded to include in-classroom support for music educators, annual festivals, and professional development workshops.

In 2019, the Tucson Girls Chorus established its first full satellite location in Tucson's northwest Oro Valley.

 

Serving singers in grades K-5 and, eventually, a high-school Pop Acapella Group, TGC's Northwest location enabled the Girls Chorus to reach even more singers throughout the greater Tucson area. 

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In 2022, the Tucson Girls Chorus Bumblebee Singers (grades K-1) made history as the youngest choir to ever perform at a national choral conference. 

On January 15, 2022 the Bumblebee Singers performed at the ACDA Children and Youth Retreat in Tucson in a concert featuring Arizona's choral ensembles. The Advanced Choir also performed. 

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Since 2006, the Advanced Choir has traveled to the following destinations for tours:

2007 - Boston

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

2014 - Pittsburgh/Toronto, Canada

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) [CANCELED DUE TO COVID-19]

2022 - Northern Arizona

2023 - Southern California - San Francisco, LA, and more

2024 - Spain & Portugal

2025 - New England & New York City (including a performance at Carengie Hall, conducted by Dr. Molina)

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Since 2009, the Jubilate Choir has toured regionally each spring  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, CA

2019 - Los Angeles, CA

2022 - Phoenix, AZ

2023 - Albuquerque and Santa Fe, NM

2024 - San Diego, CA

2025 - New York City (including a performance at Carnegie Hall, conducted by Dr. Molina)

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