I really enjoyed my visit to the Tucson Women's Chorus last week. I like your music and approach and found that it resulted in a lovely sound coming from the group, even when we were unsure of the tune or words. As I read your website and learned more about Natural Voice, it struck a chord (so to speak). I believe that vocal expression is integral to health and well-being and am delighted to have found a chorus that embodies that belief. You made me feel very welcome.
I joined the Tucson Women's Chorus in late Fall of 2007 because I have to sing! I have sung all my life—in shows, in choruses, to my children, with other family members and friends, at work, at home, in my car. It is for me, the most accessible singular expression of one's feelings—joyous, pensive, sad, fun. I have experienced other women's choruses and found them regimented and "sorrority like"—not what I was looking for after retiring from a long career.
After my first visit to the twc, I was hooked. Everyone was welcoming, I liked the atmosphere Karleena created for us, and I especially liked the kinds of music we were to sing. Singing ethnic music brings us all a little closer to this vast world we share and to the wonderful people in it, so many of whom "speak our language" through the beauty of their songs. And the group knows when we get it right: there is Karleena's smiling face and her praise, but we feel it. That feeling is tangible among us and lifts our spirits in such a special and meaningful way. It's what makes us keep coming back for more...
Thanks Karleena. Monday nights have become a time of celebration!
After a long day at work it would seem all I'd want to do is go home and lie down. But I know that when I join the Women's Chorus and sing, that I am renewed. Singing brings smiles, better breathing and an improved mood.
I am very grateful for Karleena Ravenwood's commitment to women singing in the Tucson Women's Chorus. I knew I always liked to sing but never thought I was very good at it. Since there are no auditions to be a member of twc, women like me can enjoy singing. I have found not only my voice but my self-confidence through singing with twc. It has changed my life in very positive ways.
Your request for testimonials arrived at just the right time. I was thinking of telling you how much this chorus means to me. Since I believe in the synchronicity of the universe, I was not surprised to get your request.
Last Monday was a very tough day for me, I was tired and frazzled. Chorus rehearsal was a lift in my day. When we sang the song, A Simple Prayer, the words resonated so much with me... Give me peace of mind, give me an open heart. I never realized how those two phrases really go together. What made you decide to practice that song on that night, when I most needed it?
That's just one example of what singing twc songs has done for me. The songs are simple, almost plain, but so very meaningful. The tunes stay in your mind and your heart.
I also love the way you drop your tidbits about how to sing better into the rehearsal. They never feel like dictates, but your instructions are right on target. You are a gifted teacher.
I love singing, as I have expressed. I always, always, always, feel great during rehearsal and after rehearsal. Thank you for giving me this group.
I also just wanted to say that I, too, am still experiencing the joy of singing with you all last night. The friend of mine who came to see us commented on how talented we are, and the amount of energy we had transforming our songs was incredible and powerful. I definitely wanted to take the opportunity as well to thank Karleena for her dedication to singing and to our group and for continuing to help create a strong circle of women.
I will miss you all this summer but I am determined to pass my exams so I can be with you again in the fall.
Many thanks to all chorus members and huge thanks to Karleena for the incredible experience of the concert [on May 17, 2008]. What a time of joy and excitement. I was lit up with the energy and beauty we all shared as a group and with the very enthusiastic audience. Hurray! We did it!
Hi Karleena - I just wanted to thank you for the joyous experience of our concert Saturday night [May 17, 2008]. I was proud of us all for presenting such a meaningful and delightful program to the community. I think the chorus has a terrrific future to look forward to; I so enjoy being a part of it!
Catherine Mullaugh (twc Member, Massage Therapist and Teacher)
When I was in high school, I was told by the nuns to simply mouth the words along with about a half dozen or so other girls. I have always been surprised when people have complimented me on having a "nice voice". So having an opportunity to complement my own spiritual, personal and professional path with creating my own voice by actually singing aloud with "a little help from my friends" in twc is rewarding. It is also challenging, and an opportunity to grow, by listening and blending my sounds with others.
I am grateful for the opportunity and am amazed at the beautiful sounds that I can be a part of making. Creating space for voice is a gift from Karleena to many Tucson women.
I don't think our story is that great, but I joined the chorus with my youngest daughter, Amanda, as a way to keep her happy and entertained while her husband was in Air Force OTC and pilot training. We got the news that he'd been accepted just about the time I heard about the chorus last August.
I was so worried about my daughter's fragility, being alone for a year or more, having to work here in Tucson to pay off student debt, while her husband was away at OTC training likely way back east or in Texas. I wanted to keep our little family together and wanted her to be as happy as possible during his absence. I could see the love and worry in Amanda's eyes as she sang the beautiful lyrics of the songs you helped us learn to sing, and I knew the spiritual inspiration of our music would help get her through. Without the support of her sweetheart and husband, Jesse, for a year or more, and working as much as she has to now, I felt that having the unspoken, uplifting melodious wings of support that a women's chorus can provide, would help her through the sadness of missing her husband.
But different news came about 4 months down the road last November, when Jesse learned he didn't pass one of the eye exams (imagine that—an optometrist's husband didn't pass the eye exam!) that would have allowed him to be accepted as an Air Force pilot. Then Jesse struggled with forgoing the pilot part, which was his dream, and accepting only the OTC part of the Air Force offer. He is a wonderful husband, a fine son-in-law and a true patriot. But the other side of the coin was the probability of having to lead men into combat. We let Jesse know what he might be facing if he would be sent to Afghanistan or Iraq—an all too real likelihood. And we prayed that he would make the right decision for himself and for Amanda. I'd already made the right decision by encouraging her to enroll in the Tucson Women's Chorus with me last fall. The songs we sing are like prayers.
And my prayers (and I know Amanda's, too) were answered when he made the decision to stay in Tucson with Amanda and tackle piloting the hard way—by becoming a flight instructor and working his way up from the bottom to eventually become a commercial pilot. Now he is only one test away from his dream. If he had decided to become an Air Force Officer, after not having been accepted as a pilot, who knows what his fate might have been.
Although Amanda had to give up the chorus a month ago so she and Jesse could be closer to Nogales, where Jesse works at Larry Tiffin's as a flight instructor, (because Mondays, when we practice, are sometimes the only days she has off in her 40 to 60 hour work week—and they are now living in Sahuarita, not Tucson—and you may have noted the price of gas lately), I know the inspiration and influence of your chorus helped her to be lifted spiritually through a difficult, uncertain period of her life. As her mom, I am eternally grateful.
Thank you Karleena and the women of twc.
The women in this group are a fantastic bunch! They reached out and pulled me in with their dynamic personalities (Thank you, Pat!) and made me feel welcome and a part of the group immediately.
I had been a shower only singer for many years. Then, one day, as I watched my son sing in the Tucson Boys Chorus, I thought, "Well, why not me?" So, I found the Tucson Women's Chorus. What intrigued me mostly (I confess) is that I didn't have to audition, and because it is an a cappella group.
Since joining the chorus, I have become more confidant and can sing out loud and strong, like the rest of them!
The Tucson Women's Chorus came to me at a time when I "knew" that music was to be a part of my life. I came to a concert some three years ago, and was enthralled by the spirit of the group and immediately signed up. Monday nights flew by, as we sang together—there was no such thing as being "tired," and our director, Karleena Ravenwood, was inspirational and obviously passionate about bringing to us the joy she was experiencing—and loving us no matter how we produced our sounds. Karleena is a magnificent director. She fills many needs and does so with an open heart.
I grew up singing—from harmonizing with my dad while doing the dishes—to choirs and choruses that filled my life and my youth. But since then I basically have not sung; I had buried my voice and the joy of singing for all these years.
Not until a friend invited me to join the Tucson Women's Chorus did I rediscover my voice and the great rewards of singing. The gifts have been innumerable not least among them the rekindled memories of my dad.
Thank you, Karleena, for creating this wonderful opportunity to sing, not just for personal joy but for the pleasure of each member and, indeed, any listener. One can only be impressed with the powerful effects of women blending their voices together in song.
I have only been a member of the chorus for the past few weeks. I have always wanted to do something like this, but never had the opportunity because throughout my working career I lived in remote areas (Indian reservations) and didn't have access to such activities. Therefore I had to confine my singing to the shower. But I have recently retired and can live in Tucson instead of driving here on weekends for groceries. So now I'm free to participate in whatever activities I want.
Since I have joined the chorus I find that I am enjoying it very much. The singing always soothes me, helps me unbend, pulls me out of myself a little. There is a good sense of community that exists among the director and chorus members. All chorus members share tasks which must be done for the group, such as publicity. There are social activities, such as potlucks and singalongs. Chorus members can also turn to each other for help with personal matters.
The director teaches the songs and harmony parts in such a way that it is not necessary for a chorus member to have a lot of musical training, singing experience, or even know how to read music. This has made me feel successful and given me a real sense of accomplishment just within the few short weeks that I have been a member.
There is a good variety of songs and they are all about peace, love, harmony, and cultural awareness. I think the chorus makes an excellent contribution to the larger community of Tucson. We have already had the opportunity to sing at a memorial, a church service, are preparing for a concert in May. I can't believe that all this has been happening within a few short weeks.