Southern AZ Women’s Chorus invited to perform in Normandy D-Day-rehearsals begin Sept. 14

Donna Kreutz

Tucson, Arizona – The Southern Arizona Women’s Chorus is the only chorus invited to perform at ceremonies commemorating the anniversary of D-Day in Normandy, France on June 6.

“The chorus is recruiting new members to begin rehearsals on September 14 for the 2015-16 season and for the tour to France,” said Terrie Ashbaugh, SAWC’s longtime artistic director. The first rehearsal will be at 6:30 p.m. at Ascension Lutheran Church, 1220 W. Magee. No audition is required, just previous experience singing with a choir.

June 6, 1944 is the date in World War II when nearly 200,000 Allied Troops boarded 7,000 ships and more than 3,000 aircraft and headed toward Normandy. This was the largest amphibious invasion in history, changing the course of the war.

SAWC will be part of the official musical unit of the American Musical Salute to commemorate 72 years of the liberation of Europe from Nazi tyranny. “This invitation is based on your outstanding reputation and a recommendation from an alumni of ‘The President’s Own’ U.S. Marine Band,” according to Earl T. Hurrey who extended the letter of invitation.

SAWC’s 70-plus singers will perform in the French village of Sainte-Mere-Eglise, the first to be liberated by American troops, as well as at two official public ceremonies. Ashbaugh said the chorus also will give a concert in Paris at the Luxembourg Gardens as part of the tour.

Regular chorus rehearsals continue on Mondays from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. through the end of May. The schedule includes four ticketed concerts, the third Women in Song chorus festival this spring, plus numerous community outreach concerts. More information is at

Ashbaugh will conduct the chorus as she has since 1998. She also led SAWC in its 2006 Carnegie Hall debut.

SAWC’s roots date to 1981.The repertoire spans from classical music to Broadway, folk, jazz, spiritual, seasonal and other popular songs. SAWC is a member of the Arizona Choral Arts Association which Ashbaugh founded.

Ashbaugh also is director of music at Ascension Lutheran Church and School. She is co-founder of the Women in Song Festival for Women’s Choruses, whose inaugural event was in April of 2010 in Seattle. In April 2013, SAWC hosted the second festival here in Tucson and will do so again this spring. For more information about SAWC, visit or call 520-404-3148.