One September day in 2002, my friend Pat RiverSong Dell called and told me about a woman's singing group she had just found, called the Tucson Women's Chorus. She invited me to join her the next week. I did, and I have been coming back ever since. I have not missed a season in 8 years, and I'm the only chorus member with that record. In that time we've grown from a small group of about 20 women to our current 70-plus members, practicing first at the Women's Commission, then at the ORTS theatre competing with trains and bands, and now at our present rehearsal space here at St. Marks, with an additional group in Northwest Tucson.
I love singing with the Tucson Women's Chorus, because I have a rather average voice and\u2026I don't read music, so this group is perfect for me. My voice has improved and I can sing both higher and lower than I did when I joined the chorus, and I have better breath control as well. I have a better understanding of the notes and sometimes actually get the right note when looking at the sheet music.
I was in the middle lows when I started with the chorus but I somehow liked the low parts better, but I didn't want to \u201cdesert\u201d the middle lows. Then one season, Karleena did some natural voice exercises where we could explore our vocal range in a different way. I sang with the lows, loved it and have been singing low ever since. I love to see how Low I can go. I surprise even myself some times.
I am so very grateful for this Chorus and for Karleena's guidance. No matter how tired I am at the end of a workday, I amost always feel more energized by the end of the evening. I love the camaraderie and laughter that we share. This chorus is so much more than just a choral group. We are family. We are community and one of the joys of the concert is having the former members come up at the end, and sing, \u201cSure as the Wind\u201d with us. For indeed, we are sisters and we do, and will continue to \u201craise our song again.\u201d And I plan on raising my voice and my song with Tucson Women's Chorus for as long as I am able. I love you my sisters, and Karleena. Thank you.
It was not an easy step for me to accept a friend's invitation to TWC. "Just check it out... Come to our winter concert." We had just moved in next door to her and I was intrigued by waking up to hear beautiful music coming from her place as she practiced.
During that concert I could see the group was more than women who get together to sing—the energy, sisterly love, the support of each other all came through, woven into the music. Your leadership, tolerance and acceptance of individual skill and comfort also shone through brightly.
I agreed to come—just to check it out—when the spring term started. I am so, so glad I did. It was a personal challenge for me to stick with it. I have never felt comfortable singing with others, even though I feel like music is one of the best healing modalities around (my daughter studied music therapy!).
When we gathered in the circle just before our performance in May, and you suggested dedicating our individual performance to someone, then to just be present and filled with joy, I banished my anxieties/doubts and went into the concert feeling fully present, grateful and peaceful.
That night was magical for me. Thank you for all you do, and the way you do it. I am sure the results we all enjoy come from more time, energy and effort than we could ever know.