August 2023
Together in Song
Una Voce Women’s Choir builds voices, community

The earliest documented choir, from the second century BC, was used as a collective voice in Greek drama. Arlene Hardy, director of Una Voce Women’s Choir, embraces the singular voice and eschews the drama.

Hardy has been leading women’s choirs since she moved to our area in 1996. She has worked with children, teens and adults, in and out of schools. Una Voce is starting its second year and is not affiliated with any educational facility, but Hardy still thinks of herself as much as a music teacher and director. She aligns the schedule for the choir singers to mimic school schedules, which helps the members who are still students or raising children give their year a sense of order.

In her role as music educator, Hardy says, “I think the reality of training voices is the acceptance of [their] sound. Is my sound where I want to be? Am I the best with my instrument that I can be? Not comparing it to everybody else, but appreciating your voice for what it is and finding the right place for it.”

The performance schedule includes a Christmas show in December and a “Hats Off to Spring” show in April or May. Performances are more than just concerts, they are events with delicious treats and drinks, held in the beautiful Crystal Hall at the Elks Performing Arts Center.

Even in the group’s first year there were more patrons interested in attending than seats available, so Una Voce added a second performance of the spring show at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, as well as a performance on Acker Night with the AZ Philharmonic and the Margot Fonteyn Ballet Company. This year the group is planning an additional performance yet to be announced.

About 40 women make up the Una Voce Women’s Choir, and the camaraderie and community among them are almost as important as the music they produce. Says Hardy, this is “a really wonderful community of women, all sharing a common love of music and really enjoying laughing and having fun along the way. There has to be laughter.”

A good example of the attitude and approach of the group is evident when I asked Hardy about the differences between a choir, a chorus and a chorale. She laughs and answers, “Spelling?” as she offers to do online research. When asked why she chose to name the group Una Voce Women’s Choir, she said, “Mostly it irritated me that most people couldn’t spell ‘chorale.’ ‘Choir’ is easier to spell. I’m a firm believer in leaving nothing to the imagination, and I think ‘choir’ says it all.”

The choir’s members range in age from 18-80 and come from a variety of musical backgrounds. There are music teachers, members of local bands, those who perform in musical theatre at Yavapai College and Suze’s Prescott Center for the Arts, and those who don’t perform anywhere else. Hardy is a big believer that “everyone can sing,” and likens the success of the group to brick and mortar. There are those big, outstanding voices (bricks), but bricks alone can’t build a lasting structure. If “you didn’t have those mortar voices, you’d just have a bunch of bricks. There’s nothing holding that tone together, that brings it all together, and that’s what I love, … taking different voices and building them to be what they can be.”

Hardy loves the way the group interacts and sounds together, but is open to additional voices. “If you're looking for a really wonderful community of women all sharing a common love of music and you really enjoy laughing and having fun along the way, send me an email!”

To set up an audition time contact Arlene Hardy at, and watch the Elks Theatre and Performing Arts Center site ( for details on coming events.

Lizabeth Rogers covers the local-theatre beat.

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