ProMusica Arizona’s executive director, Yvonne Dolby, shared a bit about the organization and what makes it unique in our community. — Kathryn M. Miller, editor-in-chief
Mission Statement: ProMusica Arizona enriches lives in the Greater Phoenix area, with focus on the North Valley, through innovative, joint performances of its multigenerational Chorale and Orchestra.
How long have you been in business? Since 2003
Describe your business. What makes it unique? The 2019–20 season marked ProMusica Arizona’s 17th performance year. The Chorale and Orchestra perform a wide variety of repertoire from classical to popular, including major works and concert versions of musicals. Performances often include visual elements, soloists and actors to enhance the concert experience. The multigenerational Chorale and Orchestra consists of volunteer community members, supplemented with professional performers, as needed. Community musicians perform alongside professionals in concerts throughout the season.
ProMusica Arizona’s commitment to participatory community music is built on an inclusive policy of attracting musicians in every age group and providing a challenging but supportive environment to develop talent. Participation offers members an opportunity to practice with others, perform before a live audience, and receive mentoring and instruction from experienced singers and instrumentalists.
Since its founding in 2003, ProMusica Arizona has become a leader in bringing live music to audiences in the Phoenix area. With almost 100 singers and instrumentalists ranging in age from mid-teens to early-80s, the group has performed over 250 times for more than 125,000 people in venues across the Valley.
Innovation and variety characterize the group’s history. Some highlights include:
- Concert versions of Sweeney Todd, South Pacific, Pirates of Penzance, and Trial by Jury.
- In 2013, ProMusica Arizona performers were joined on stage by Elizabeth Pitcairn and her famous instrument, the 1720 Stradivarius Violin which served as inspiration for the Academy Award-winning movie, The Red Violin.
- In 2015, ProMusica Arizona won a prestigious Art Tank Award from the Arizona Commission on the Arts for its innovative concert, The Unpredictable Adventures of Henry Hicklebee. Combining music and technology, the production engaged audiences through cell phone texting to determine the course of the show.
- In 2014 and 2018, ProMusica Arizona musicians performed the internationally renowned Video Games Live™ for Phoenix audiences. The immersive concert experience was produced and hosted by game-industry star Tommy Tallarico. It featured music from popular video games, synchronized video footage, lighting displays, electronic percussion and on-stage audience interactive segments. The three performances introduced thousands of children and adult video game fans to orchestral music.
- In a 2016 tribute to Broadway musicals and jazz, the ProMusica Arizona Chorale and Orchestra performed with Dennis Rowland, jazz vocalist and voice of the Count Basie Orchestra for many years.
- ProMusica Arizona musicians have proudly provided music to honor veterans on special occasions at the Anthem Veterans Memorial including a performance in 2016 for the Memorial’s fifth anniversary attended by 6,200 people.
- In 2017, ProMusica Arizona commissioned and presented the world premiere of Dr. Timothy Powell’s composition, A World Without Boundaries as part of the concert, Discover: The Spirit of American Explorers, a tribute to American explorers.
- ProMusica Arizona singers concluded the 2016–17 and 2017–18 seasons with a full house at Carnegie Hall in New York City along with other exclusive invitees from around the country.
- Led by ProMusica Arizona’s artistic director/principal conductor, Patti Graetz, ProMusica Arizona singers traveled to Ireland to tour and sing in cathedrals throughout the country in June of 2019.
ProMusica Arizona’s vocal ensemble, Women in Song, has been in growing demand over the past few seasons. The group consists of singers who are members of the ProMusica Arizona Chorale. This talented ensemble includes an accompanist and 16 singers, many with music degrees and professional singing experience. Members of the ensemble are chosen through an audition process and are directed by Graetz. Women in Song share the joy of music through numerous performances and outreach events at senior living facilities, community and special events, private events, and other occasions. With support from a City of Glendale arts grant, the group proudly brought free performances to Glendale senior living communities, the Glendale Library, and the Glendale Adult Center during the 2017–18 season. The City of Peoria awarded Women in Song a grant for the 2019–20 season to entertain at senior living communities and public libraries.
In addition to providing a performance home for local talent, ProMusica Arizona brings live music at affordable ticket prices to audiences of all ages. Children 15 and under are given free tickets to concerts when accompanied by an adult, and students 16–22 years old are offered free rush tickets 15 minutes prior to performances based on seating availability. Seniors 65 years and older, active and retired military servicemen and women, and groups of 10 or more are given discounted tickets.
ProMusica Arizona Chorale & Orchestra is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and has achieved resounding success due to the dedication of its members, outstanding volunteers and superb community support. ProMusica Arizona is a proud member of Chorus America, League of American Orchestras, Anthem Area Chamber of Commerce, and West Valley Arts Council.
The impact of COVID-19: ProMusica Arizona canceled the April concert, “Latin Spice,” and the May concert, “Baroque to Bluegrass.” The cancellations have resulted in lost ticket revenue as well as expenses incurred that cannot be recouped. In addition, the contract musicians have been impacted by loss of income. Both professional and volunteer singers and instrumentalists are missing opportunities to practice together and perform for our appreciative audiences.
Donations can be made through the ProMusica Arizona website at pmaz.org (click on the “Support” tab). Community members can sign up for email blasts through the website to enjoy music performances by ProMusica Arizona members and stay informed of upcoming events once the COVID-19 pandemic has passed. ProMusica Arizona also posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram with updates and musical performances:
For additional information: Call 623.326.5172 or visit www.pmaz.org.
[Editor’s note: “Baroque to Bluegrass” has been reschedule for Saturday, Oct. 24, 7pm, at Cross of Christ Church in Anthem, and Sunday, Oct. 25, 3:30pm, at American Lutheran Church in Sun City.]