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Just for Laughs summer chorus concert features silly songs and improv

Posted: Tuesday, Jul 10th, 2012

TUCSON — Play it for laughs. This silly summer choral concert is free and it’s fun.

The “Spoofs and Utter Nonsense” concert will be presented by the Mixed Summer Chorus and the Exit 185 Improv Comedy Troupe on July 27.

Led by longtime choral director Terrie Ashbaugh, the program features such silly songs as “Why Are Dentists Always Down in the Mouth,” “My Bonnie Lass She Smelleth” and “Chopsticks.”

Exit 185 Comedy Improv joins in the merriment. The nine-member troupe based in Casa Grande is dedicated to the art of both short and long improvisations and has been accepted three years running to perform at the Family Friendly Showcase of the Phoenix Improv Festival. Founded by Ken Ferguson, the troupe is now directed by Stacey Seaman.

The event is free – though donations of non-perishable food and cash will be accepted to benefit Interfaith Community Services Food Bank. The fun begins at 7 p.m. at Ascension Lutheran Church, 1220 W. Magee Rd.

This is the third annual concert presented by the 70-voice Mixed Summer Chorus. Ashbaugh founded the group after many vocalists told her they did not want to stop singing during the summer.

The talent comes from members of choruses in greater Tucson, Sierra Vista and Cochise County, including Sons of Orpheus, Tucson Masterworks Chorale, the University of Arizona Faculty/Staff Choir, Cochise County Chamber Chorus, Desert Tones, Desert Voices, Southern Arizona Women’s Chorus, Christ the King Episcopal Church, the J-6 Church in Sierra Vista, Ascension Lutheran Church and St. Andrews Presbyterian Church. The first year the chorus featured 45 voices then grew to 70 the second year.

“I fully believe that my singers can accomplish anything if they’re taught how to do it – all while having fun in an uplifting, positive, joyful, creative atmosphere. My philosophy for choral groups is to provide quality music education to the singers, always challenging them to want to learn more and improve their singing and musicality. The result is a happy chorus that sings quality music and loves coming to rehearsals and performing.”

Ashbaugh also directs the Southern Arizona Women’s Chorus and has since 1998. The group gives two major concerts a year plus numerous other performances. Ashbaugh is fulltime Director of Music at Ascension Lutheran Church and School.She’s a co-founder of the Women in Song Festival for Women’s Choruses, whose inaugural festival was in April of 2010 in Seattle with choirs from Arizona, Washington, Alaska and Canada. The next festival will be here in Tucson in April of 2013. An accomplished pianist and accompanist, Ashbaugh has traveled widely with award-winning choruses. She composes and arranges music and is a gourmet cook.

For the complete article see the 08-01-2012 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 08-01-2012 paper.

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