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The Daily Wildcat


Hitting the high notes with UA choir

Sofia Moraga
The UA Community Chorus practices during their dress rehearsal on Saturday April 14 at the Crowder Hall at the UA.

The University Community Chorus, a self-sustaining ensemble open to students, faculty, staff and community members, presented its accomplishments during its spring concert, “Music of the Americas.” 

Alyssa Cossey, assistant professor of choral music and music education in her first year at the University of Arizona, organized and led the chorus in its spring performance, which included music composed by Ariel Ramirez, Argentine composer, pianist and director. 

Members of the chorus are part of a “critical ensemble” for the UA’s Fred Fox School of Music. These singers and musicians work with the community to act on their obligation to service and develop the cultural knowledge of people in the Tucson area. 

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Because this chorus is so diverse in it’s membership, the group is able to reach wider audiences and study music from a variety of cultural backgrounds.

Cossey has been studying the choral arts for most of her life and has an extensive repertoire in music education, as well. 

According to Cossey, in the last years, the chorus members have grown and refined their abilities in both choral music and literature. 

“It’s been great; one of my highlights for sure is getting to work with this group,” Cossey said. “They just have a lot of heart, and they’re a service-oriented community.” 

The UA Community Chorus practices during their dress rehersal on Saturday April 14 at the Crowder Hall at the UA.
The UA Community Chorus practices during their dress rehersal on Saturday April 14 at the Crowder Hall at the UA.

The group hasn’t performed or studied Spanish music just yet, and the pieces in the concert seemed like a “nice fit for UCC and Tucson,” according to Cossey. Because it was in a different language, the music was advanced and challenging material for the chorus.

“Pushing a choir to do more than what they believe they are capable of doing is one of my favorite parts of working with this group,” she said. “There is such talent and dedication in the singers in this group, so it’s really exciting”.

Although it was difficult to master another language for the performance, they came together and pulled it off in the end. 

“It’s really exciting to be a part of that process,” Cossey said. 

Cossey described friendship and full-hearted dedication as core qualities of the community, referring to her chorus members as “really stunning humans.” A lot of members have been friends for years. Similarly, a lot of people treat this like an extended family.

“Some people have been in it for 30 to 40 years; the wide range of folks builds the idea of community,” said Gabriel Nuñez, a singer and member of the chorus. “I feel like it’s a way for a lot of generations to connect.”

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Anne Morgan, also a member, said there is a liveliness and energy that members get from taking part in rehearsals or performances. 

“The pieces in the show were very difficult, coming here and doing something totally different elicits a lot of energy,” Morgan said. “This is something I do for me, as well as for others.”

The chorus itself also fosters a calm and supportive environment for people, as well as a platform for members to cultivate meaningful connections with one another. 

“One of our members, one time, said it was the cheapest therapy he ever got,” said Jennifer Rich, a section leader in the chorus. “It does something for your soul; it really does; it moves me in ways that nothing else does.” 

The chorus is “inspiring, uplifting and allows for members to take pride in their accomplishments.” The program is unique from other community groups and involves the full commitment of the members.

The University Community Chorus rehearses every Tuesday night from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at the UA School of Music room 146. 

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