How do you revitalize a legacy male Barbershop chorus that has rarely met in person, or performed or participated in a contest for more than two years?
If it’s the Phoenicians Chorus with 80 years of history including three Gold Medals in Barbershop Harmony Society International Competition plus 11 other Top Five medals and 14 Far Western District Chorus Championships, you start by finding a director capable of helping you return to excellence. Then you gather current and former members and add a group of eager new Barbershop singers and work to formulate a winning combination.
After two years of meeting via Zoom due to the pandemic and later the lack of a director, the Phoenicians will resume in-person rehearsals under a well-qualified director starting in January 2024.
That’s great news, but even better is the fact that they will be joined by a large group of young men, many of them new to Barbershopping and all excited about singing our tight four-part harmony.
The plan is for the young singers, music students at Arizona State University, to meet twice weekly under Director Jordan Rakita, a long-time Barbershopper and their professor, in a vocal music class that will have a Barbershop curriculum. They are excited because they had the opportunity to attend a rehearsal of the Westminster Chorus, International and Far Western District champions, as they prepared for this fall’s District contest where they took first place and qualified to compete in the 2024 International contest.
The class will begin after the start of ASU’s Spring Semester on Jan. 8. Current and former Phoenicians and men who are interested in trying Barbershop singing will be invited to visit the class. It will be held twice weekly during the day, which may be limiting for some, so a monthly evening rehearsal also will be scheduled at ASU so that all members can attend.
More details will be provided on schedules and the audition process as plans develop.
For questions or to signify your interest email Chorus Music VP Bill Kane
Jordan Rakita responded to a Phoenicians ad on the FWD website for a Barbershop chorus director. He expressed interest in the position along with a resume that proved him to be highly qualified and the Chapter Board quickly agreed to begin working with him to rebuild the chorus.
Jordan is pursuing a doctorate in choral conducting at Arizona State University where he directs the tenor/bass ensemble Canticum Bassum which includes 20 or more male singers who he introduced to the joy of Barbershop singing.
He began his Barbershop experience singing lead in his 2004 FWD High School contest first-place quartet, the Burninators from Green Valley High School in Las Vegas. Later he sang for several years with the Westminster Chorus, which won an International Gold Medal at that time.
Jordan is Canto Conductor and Music Literacy Instructor for the acclaimed Phoenix Children's Chorus and recently completed an internship with the 120-member Phoenix Symphony Chorus which performs throughout the season with the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra.
Jordan earned a master’s degree in choral conducting at Northern Arizona University. He served as the director of the University Singers at NAU, pioneered a tenor/bass ensemble through the Flagstaff Youth Chorale, and was a voice instructor at the Curry Summer Music Camp teaching private lessons and master classes.
He also was part of the Grammy-award-winning Phoenix Chorale. As an educator, he is the former director at Gilbert Christian High School and the Heritage Academy, instructing hundreds of high school students. His ensembles have consistently received awards locally and regionally. He also is a sought-after clinician, guest conducting at Cantaremos, the Boys to Men Festival and Southwest Christian Student Arts Festival.
He and his wife Kayla, who is an English teacher at ASU, live in Tempe and are the parents of daughter Ruby and son Milo.
With his outstanding career in conducting and teaching vocal music Jordan can play a major part in bringing the Phoenicians Chorus back on stage with captivating music and thrilling presentation as it has in the past.
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ASU Gammage, Room 301
1200 S Forest Ave
Tempe, AZ 85281
PO Box 62091
Phoenix, AZ 85082-2091
+1 480 947 7464 (SING)