BoysChorusxaThe Tucson Rodeo Parade Committee typically honors individuals as its Grand Marshal. This year the Parade Committee is honoring a Tucson institution. The Tucson Arizona Boys Chorus will lead the 2012 Tucson Rodeo Parade. The Boys Chorus exemplifies the tradition, culture, and southwest heritage that are epitomized in the Rodeo Parade. They have always included western songs such as “Ghost Riders in the Sky” “Cool Water” and “Ragtime Cowboy Joe” in their repertoire. The Boys Chorus was founded in 1939 by Eduardo Caso, a nationally known tenor who moved to Tucson to recuperate from tuberculosis. Caso took the boys on tours, introducing them to national audiences at the 1950 Chicago World’s Fair and on television programs such as the Bell Telephone Hour, the Ed Sullivan Show, and the Mike Douglas Show. They became international stars on tours of Europe in 1955, and Australia in 1960. In 1963 they sang at the White House at the annual Christmas treelighting ceremony. They are truly Tucson’s “Ambassadors in Blue Jeans.” The Chorus has had only four Directors in its 72 year history. Caso continued as director until his sudden death in 1965. Jeffrey Haskell, a University of Arizona doctoral student stepped in and served as Director for the next 10 years. In 1975 Dr. John Davis, a former soprano for the Boys Chorus, was named Director and continued the Chorus’ tradition of touring and community representation. The Chorus’ current Director, Dr. Julian Ackerley took charge in 1980 and took the boys to tour the Soviet Union, Germany, Austria and Poland to celebrate their 50th anniversary in 1990. They continue to tour nationally and internationally to locales such as Mexico, New Zealand, China, Southeast Asia, Europe, and South Africa. They have represented the United States at international choral gatherings in South Korea, Hong Kong, and the Czech Republic and have performed at several American Choral Director’s Association Conferences, AmericaFests singing festivals, the World Symposium on Choral Music, the International Children’s Choir Festival, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. In 1996 the Boys Chorus received the Governor’s Arts Award for Arts in Education acknowledging their artistic excellence as well as their aggressive community outreach program. The boys are also recording stars, recording their first album in 1959. They have recorded numerous albums featuring American popular music, Western ballads, patriotic favorites, Christmas and Hanukkah standards, and religious and spiritual classics. The Boys Chorus has passed along the principles of discipline, responsibility, commitment, and hard work to thousands of young men. The Tucson Rodeo Parade is proud to have the Tucson Arizona Boys Chorus as its 2012 Grand Marshal.