Spirit of Phoenix Chorus (formerly Phoenicians)
The "Phabulous Phoenicians" of the Phoenix-Saguaro Chapter of the Far Western District won the BHS International Chorus competitions in 1972, 1976, and 1983. All of their championships came under the direction of Lou Laurel, who directed the chorus from 1966-1989.
The chorus acheived consistent International success under Lou's direction:
They were famous for bringing very theatrical performances to the contest stage, including costume changes and fireworks being shot from the risers.
After Lou's retirement, Gary Steinkamp ably took the reins of the chorus. And after a short transitionary period, the chorus returned to International form, placing 5th in 1993 and 1994, and 4th place in 1996.
In 2002(?), after some philosophical disagreements, a group of chapter members formed a new split-off chapter called the Greater Phoenix Chapter (Spirit of Phoenix Chorus). This group was directed by Russ Young and Gary Steinkamp. Fraser Brown directed the Phoenicians during this period. The two choruses competed against each other for a few years before re-merging in 2004(?), keeping the original Phoenix-Saguaro 1943 charter, but using the Greater Phoenix Chapter name, as well as the Spirit of Phoenix Chorus name.
The chorus has repeatedly returned to the International Chorus Competition and done well, however have not returned to the medals since 1996.
Ineligible for two years after each Gold Medal.
Member of the Far Western District. Ineligible for two years after each International Gold Medal.
- 1943: 1st (Arizona state contest)
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