With the holidays just around the corner, people get a bit nostalgic for the songs of decades past – from I’ll Be Home for Christmas to I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus and Jingle Bell Rock.

So listen up – the Southern Arizona Women’s Chorus will present a Retro Christmas Concert on Friday Dec. 14 and again on Sunday, Dec. 16. Selections include the songs above – plus Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Cool Yule and other popular holiday numbers from the 1940s and 1950s.

Those mid-20th-century decades saw the ravages of World War II and the Communist takeover in China as well as a lighter side of life. This is the time when ballpoint pens, microwaves and bikinis were new, when Dr. Spock and Dr. Seuss became household names, Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier and NASA was established. Think poodle skirts, the first color television, Elvis on Ed Sullivan, Charles Shultz’ new comic strip Peanuts, hula hoops, LEGOs, Disneyland and the first ascent of Mount Everest.

Older folks recall these times firsthand, while to the young it’s all so non-electronic and quaint. Yet the songs of the era continue to have universal appeal, said Terrie Ashbaugh, music director of the 90-voice women’s chorus founded in 1981.

The program will be presented Friday, Dec. 14 at 7 p.m. at Catalina Foothills High School, 4300 E. Sunrise Dr. and on Sunday, Dec. 16 at 4 p.m. at Ascension Lutheran Church, 1220 W. Magee Rd. (just east of La Canada).

Tickets can be purchased for $18 in advance from chorus members, by calling 404-3148 or online at southernarizonawomenschorus.org. Tickets purchased at the door are $20. Children age 10 and under are admitted free. Discounts are available for groups of 8 or more, including 8 tickets for $120.

SAWC is known for its eclectic and versatile repertoire that spans from classical music to Broadway, folk, jazz, spiritual, seasonal and other popular songs. SAWC presents two ticketed concerts each year, plus numerous sing-out performances at festivals, events, schools and senior communities throughout Southern Arizona. The chorus has entertained the metro area for three decades.

Ashbaugh is Director of Music at Ascension Lutheran Church and School. For 10 years she served as director of the University of Arizona Faculty/Staff Choir.  She also composes and arranges music.

Ashbaugh is 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 attending. The festival will be offered again in April of 2013 here in Tucson.

SAWC performs an ever-expanding repertoire written specifically for women's or treble voices. For more information, visit www.southernarizonawomenschorus.org or call 404-3148.

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