In 1939, Eduardo Caso, "the tenor of the American airwaves," came
to Tucson to rest and recuperate from the tuberculosis, which had interrupted
his career. An Englishman, singer, and teacher, he carried to the West
the dream of a boys choir rooted in the European tradition, but uniquely
American in sound and repertoire. As Arizona's January sunshine restored
his health, Caso gave back to Arizona, founding the Tucson Arizona Boys
First Christmas concert includes two girls
TABC concert, on Christmas Eve of 1939, was comprised of just eight boys
whose tonal output was fortified by two girls from a high
school glee club. Backed by individual parents, Caso was able to lead
his tiny group through the first years of recruitment and growth until
the community caught his excitement and the increasing support of sponsors
assured TABC's continued existence.
In 1945, TABC was incorporated as a nonprofit
educational organization. As the fame of the Tucson Boys Chorus spread,
activities expanded to
include national radio broadcasts, concert tours of Arizona and the Southwest,
and early television appearances. After performing at the Chicago World's
Fair in 1950, the boys were hailed by one reporter as "the finest
walking advertisement a city ever had," and subsequent tours won
hosts of admirers from coast to coast. Tucson's "Ambassadors in
Levis" were gaining momentum.
Singing “Cowboys” enthrall
In the summer of 1955, Caso and 30 of his young "cowboys" swept
through Europe winning ovations with every appearance. Their horizons
expanded to Australia in 1960 with similar results. In 1963, the American
ambassadors brought their music to all of America, singing at the White
House tree-lighting ceremony.
New TABC Director takes helm
The boys suffered the loss
of their mentor in 1965 when Caso passed away suddenly, almost on the
eve of a live appearance
on NBC's Bell Telephone
Hour. Like true professionals, the boys decided, "the show must
go on." Led by University of Arizona doctoral student Jeffrey Haskell,
they performed to rave reviews.
Refusing to lose its spark with the loss of Caso, TABC flourished during
the next 10 years under Haskell. In 1975, through the generosity and
hard work of many supporters, alumni and choristers, the Chorus relocated
to its new building on East Pima Street.
After a decade as Director, Haskell resigned to pursue
other interests. Dr. John S. Davis, a former boy soprano under the tutelage
of Eduardo Caso in 1947-49, was named Director. With his Chorus background,
with a doctorate in composition from the University of Arizona, Dr.
Davis continued TABC's tradition of community representation and successful
Julian Ackerley named director
In 1980, Dr. Julian Ackerley
was named Director, bringing to the organization extensive teaching experience
at all levels, including three degrees
in music with emphasis on music education, choral direction and voice
performance. Under Dr. Ackerley's leadership, TABC experienced a boom
in membership and activities.
Historic 50th anniversary capped by tour to Soviet
Union During the 1989-90 season, TABC's historic 50th Anniversary was
celebrated with an Alumni Reunion attended by more than 700 guests. That
the Chorus toured the Soviet Union, Germany, Austria and Poland.
Notable activities continued
through the 1990s. In 1991, the Chorus returned to sing at the White
for President & Mrs.
Bush on NBC's "Today Show". In April 1993, TABC embarked on
a sojourn "down under" performing in Australia, New Zealand
European Tour includes a performance at the Vatican In
the early 1990s, the Chorus released a recording titled, "Holiday
Treasures". In 1996, the group was featured at the NFL Experience
as part of Super Bowl XXX. They also traveled to Spain, France and Italy
on European Tour '96, including a performance in St. Peter's Basilica
at the Vatican. In 1996, TABC was acknowledged for its long-term excellence
by receiving Arizona's highest arts honor, The Governor's Arts Award
for Arts in Education. In late November 1996, the Chorus traveled to
New York to participate in the 70th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
In 1997, TABC was invited to create an all-classical
CD for the Utah-based Sanctus label titled "Heaven Hath a Song." In 1998, with funding
by Angel Charity for Children, Inc., the Chorus recorded the acclaimed
CD entitled, "Inspiration: A collection of contemporary songs of
community celebrates 60th anniversary The Tucson Arizona Boys Chorus celebrated
its 60th anniversary during the 1999-2000 season. The year was marked
by community-wide media coverage,
including a television documentary and city, state, and national proclamations.
In a historic tour, 2001: Orient Odyssey, the Touring Chorus ventured
to Thailand, Vietnam, China, South Korea and Taiwan. That same year,
the Chorus was named and performed as National Anchor Choir for the prestigious
international singing festival, AmericaFest, held at St. John's University
In 2004, the Chorus traveled to 27 cities in South Africa where inter-cultural learning was shared throughout
the community through "letters from home" media reports. An acclaimed recording "Songs of the Saddle and South Africa" featured songs learned
from the cultural tour.
TABC represented the United States at the World Vision 2007 International Children's Choir Festival in Seoul,
South Korea and the Children of the World in Harmony, the 16th International Children's Choir and Performing Arts Festival in Hong
The Chorus has been additionally recognized with invitations and apprearances as the featured choir at the
American Choral Directors Association conferences in Las Vegas, New York and Los Angeles.
In March of 2008, the Touring Chorus visited Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Washington D.C. In July the
Chorus completed a cultural exchange with the Isker Boys Choir in Almaty, Kazakhstan, and then joined the Young Men's Ensemble at the 2nd
International Boy's amd Men's Choral Festival in the Czech Republic.
The strong traditions of the past and exciting opportunities of our
modern society have paved the way for the Tucson Boys Chorus' continued
success as a world-renowned professional touring group and an organization
benefiting Tucson youth.