Phoenix Symphony Chorus volunteers musical excellence and camaraderie


TED SIMONS-THE PHOENIX SYMPHONY CHORUS PERFORMS CONCERTS EVERYWHERE FROM SYMPHONY HALL AND OTHER LOCAL VENUES, TO VIENNA, SALZBURG AND CARNEGIE HALL.

HERE NOW TO TALK ABOUT THE CHORUS IS CHORUS MASTER, THERE HE IS. TOM BOOKHOUT-. THAT WAS WONDERFUL.

TOM BOOKHOUT-THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

TED SIMONS- EVERY TIME YOU DO SOMETHING, SOUNDS FANTASTIC. IS THIS AN ARM OF PHOENIX SYMPHONY?

TOM BOOKHOUT- IT IS. I'M ENCOMPASS -- EVERYONE ELSE IS VOLUNTEER. WE ARE AT DISPOSAL OF SYMPHONY. ANYTIME THEY PROGRAM ANYTHING THAT NEEDS A CHO -- CHORUS.

TOM BOOKHOUT- THEY ARE ARE NOT PAID TO BE IN THIS GROUP.

TED SIMONS-HOW MANY VOLUNTEERS?

TOM BOOKHOUT-ABOUT 140 ON ROSTER.

TED SIMONS- IS THERE EVERY OPPORTUNITY FOR 140 TO SING TOGETHER?

TOM BOOKHOUT- ALMOST NEVER. SYMPHONY HALL CAN HOLD LESS THAN THAT. WE WILL HAVE A ROTATING ROSTER FOR THOSE NIGHTS.

TED SIMONS- FOR THOSE PEOPLE THAT VOLUNTEER, YOU SAY THAT THEY DO THINGS ON THE OTHER SIDE, HOW MUCH TIME DO THEY DEVOTE TO PHOENIX SYMPHONY CHORUS.

TOM BOOKHOUT-THEY VOLUNTEER 20,000 HOURS DURING THE YEAR. WE COME IN EVERY MONDAY NIGHT. WE DO THAT ONCE A WEEK DURING THE SCHOOL YEAR OR PHOENIX SYMPHONY SEASON. WE MIGHT BE BUSY EVERY NIGHT IN THAT WEEK IN REHEARSALS THROUGH SUNDAY THAT MAYBE IN PRESCOTT.

TED SIMONS-DO YOU HAVE LOTS OF TURNOVER?

TOM BOOKHOUT-NOT LOTS. WE HAVE A GOOD CORE GROUP AND 11 COME BACK EVERY YEAR.

TED SIMONS-FROM HARRY POTTER TO HANDLES MESSIAH, ALL IN BETWEEN?

TOM BOOKHOUT- YEAH. TO DO SOMETHING THAT EVERYBODY IS HAPPY.

TED SIMONS-IF YOU EVER START ON SOMETHING THAT DOESN'T WORK AND MOVE ON?

TOM BOOKHOUT- IT'S TITO'S DECISION.

TED SIMONS- DOES IT EVER HAPPEN?

TOM BOOKHOUT-ONE TIME A CONCERT RAN A LITTLE LONG. WE NEVER START ON SOMETHING AND START NOT TO DO IT. WE SEE IT THROUGH AND LEARN SOMETHING EVERY TIME.

TED SIMONS-I IMAGINE YOU DO.

TED SIMONS- WHAT KIND OF REACTION DOES SYMPHONY CHO CAN YOU SAY GET ON THE ROAD?

TOM BOOKHOUT-THEY ARE IMPRESSED HOW GOOD THE CHORUS IS. IT'S A PLEASURE. WE ARE ONE OF LARGEST CITIES IN THE COUNTRY, WE SHOULD HAVE ONE OF BEST SYMPHONY CHORUS IN THE COUNTRY.

TED SIMONS- THEY THINK OF PHOENIX AS BUNCH OF TUMBLEWEEDS?

TOM BOOKHOUT-THEY DON'T SAY THAT TO US.

TED SIMONS- THEY ARE SURPRISED.

TOM BOOKHOUT- WE SANG IN POLAND. SURPRISED THAT PEOPLE LIVED NEAR GRAND CANYON. THAT'S WHAT THEY WERE SURPRISED ABOUT OVER THERE.

TED SIMONS- AS MUSIC IS CONCERNED, WHAT DO WE LOOK FORWARD TO NEXT SEASON? DO YOU KNOW?

TOM BOOKHOUT-SYMPHONY ANNOUNCED THE SEASON. I ONLY KNEW A COUPLE OF WEEKS EARLIER. WE ARE DOING GREAT PIECES BY MOZART AND MYOSIGHIA AND MORE HARRY POTTER. AND THINGS SEEM TO COME UP AS 12 WELL. WE FIND OUT AFTER A YEAR GETS GOING THAT A GUEST CONDUCTOR WANTS A PERFORMANCE AND WE GET READY.

TED SIMONS- MUST BE A WONDERFUL SOCIAL ASPECT PM FELLOWSHIP GOING ON HERE?

TOM BOOKHOUT-ABSOLUTELY. MANY PEOPLE WHO STAY WITH IT YEAR AFTER YEAR BECAUSE OF SOCIAL QUALITY OF IT. GROUP GETS ALONG VERY, VERY WELL. THERE'S GOOD HUMOR AND NATURE IN THE GROUP. IT'S A LOT OF WORK. IT'S FUN AND REWARDING.

TED SIMONS- MAKES THOSE MONDAY EVENINGS GO WELL.

TOM BOOKHOUT-CAN YOU DO ANOTHER PERFORMANCE FOR US.

TED SIMONS-WE WOULD LOVE TO.

TOM BOOKHOUT- A SPECIAL TREAT FOR SECOND TIME ONLY. THE CHORUS WILL PERFORM WITHOUT SYMPHONY.

TED SIMONS- LET'S LISTEN TO ANOTHER ELECTION FROM PHOENIX SYMPHONY CHORUS.

The Phoenix Symphony Chorus, a 140-member volunteer arm of the Phoenix Symphony, performs everywhere from Symphony Hall and other local venues to Vienna, Salzburg and Carnegie Hall.

According to Chorus Master Tom Bookhout, chorus members collectively donate 20,000 volunteer hours a year to the symphony. Their repertoire ranges from classical works like Handel’s “Messiah” to “Harry Potter” film scores and all points in between. “It’s one of the real pleasures to get to do something that will make everybody happy,” Bookhout said.

While Bookhout spoke warmly of the social aspects of the group, a characteristic that keeps many members returning year after year, he said the group are hard workers, too. “Since we’re one of the largest cities in the country, we should have one of the best symphony choruses in the country,” he said, “and that’s always our goal.” Even when it’s not a piece the group is a fan of, they see it through and learn something every time, Bookhout says.

They have a responsibility – they’re constantly at the disposal of the symphony – but it’s always accompanied with a fun and lighthearted mood. Lifelong friendships are made within the group. Because there’s such a cooperative vibe, “there’s a lot of humor and good nature within the group,” the chorus master says.

Bookhout was joined by a small ensemble from the Phoenix Symphony Chorus, who performed “Hark, I Hear the Harps Eternal,” arranged by Alice Parker, and “Caritas et Amor” by Z. Randall Stroope.

The Chorus will perform these pieces and more in a special one-night concert without the Phoenix Symphony on Friday, March 23 at 7:30 at Pinnacle Presbyterian Church in Scottsdale. Tickets are available through the Phoenix Symphony.

The symphony’s 2018-2019 season begins with an opening weekend starting on Sept. 14 with Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9. More information on the next season can be found here.

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In this segment:

Tom Bookhout, Chorus Master of the Phoenix Symphony Chorus
Members of the Phoenix Symphony Chorus

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