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Arizona Repertory Singers to perform “Triumphs!”

Chris Richards

“Triumphs!” will feature a pre-concert talk by one of two historians. Dr. Stephen Keyl, a UA musicologist, will provide context for “Triumphs!” through his expert knowledge of music history, and Dr. Kenneth Peoples, who specializes in 16th and 17th century British history, will explore the work through the time in which it was written.

The Arizona Repertory Singers will perform their concert “Triumphs!” at Catalina United Methodist Church this Friday at 7:30 p.m.

The Arizona Repertory Singers is a group of singers from the Tucson area who audition for the group. The choir has been in place since 1984.

Directed by Elliot Jones, “Triumphs!” will include a variety of songs ranging from songs dating back hundreds of years to songs made last year. The concert will include music from “The Triumphs of Oriana,” a collection of music from 1601.

Originally thought to be created to honor Queen Elizabeth I, “The Triumphs of Oriana” may have actually been composed to honor another queen by using a poetic name for Queen Anne of Denmark, according to Jones.

While the Oriana collection’s madrigals may not be the most popular events per se, Jones believes their performance will stand out above regular ensembles. A madrigal, popular in the 16th and 17th centuries, is a song type where multiple singers often perform without instruments.

“It is hard to get people excited about madrigals composed in the 1600s, but these are the best of the best,” Jones said. “I hope the recent musicological evidence that they were composed in honor of somebody else will generate interest among listeners.”

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Jones believes the concerts will have something of interest for those all types of music fans. Jones said there is a mix of acapella as well as music for choir and harp as well as choir and organ.

“We like to mix old with new music along with famous and not-so-famous music into our performance,” Jones said. “There are a whole lot of variables but you need a bit of each to keep everyone’s attention.”

Jones became the music director of Arizona Repertory Singers last August and holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Choral Conducting from UA.

“My favorite part of directing is leading people in this music resulting in this beautiful sound of voices coming together,” said Jones. “I always attempt to do pieces I have never done before so I am always most excited about trying new songs.”

Jones said he is happy with the Arizona Repertory Singers, and they have a tradition of mainly classical music that fits with what he wants to do.

“It is a lot of fun to put concerts like this together with this group,” Jones said.

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Jones believes fans are in for a great show and encourages the community to come out for a concert.

“It is going to be beautiful, moving music, some fast and peppy while so tranquil and beautiful,” said Jones. 

The Arizona Repertory Singers will perform “Triumphs!” Friday, April 21; Friday, April 28; and Sunday, April 30. Each show will include a pre-concert talk a half hour before the start of the concert. Tickets for “Triumphs!” are $18 in advance and $20 at the door. The concert is free to students who bring their CatCard. Tickets can be purchased online.

Follow Ivan Leonard on Twitter.

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