The acoustics in the historic Mission San Xavier del Bac are almost as stunning as the setting: A centuries-old Spanish Colonial adobe church sitting in the middle of the desert. 

To truly appreciate it, you need to be at the mission for one of the Patronato's concerts, annual fundraising events held in the winter and spring to support renovation work at the mission.

The winter concert is the annual Christmas at San Xavier, featuring the Tucson Arizona Boys Chorus and Sons of Orpheus, the Male Choir of Tucson. The spring event features Arizona Repertory Singers, which will perform two concerts of sacred and secular music dating back to the time when Father Kino founded the Catholic mission at San Xavier in the 1690s to modern day.

The concerts fund a quarter of the budget for the non-profit, non-sectarian Patronato San Xavier, a community non-profit group whose sole goal is to restore, maintain and preserve the mission. Since it was founded in 1978, the Patronato has restored the central chapel and west tower and repaired and plastered the domes. Work still on the to-do list includes restoring the East Convento Wing, Mortuary Chapel and East Tower, as well as repair the mission's adobe walls and build an endowment for on-going maintenance, according to Patronato officials. 

Proceeds from the $55 Arizona Repertory Singers' tickets — $40 is tax-deductible — go toward the East Tower work as well as a project to conserve the intricate wooden railings ringing the main altar. The singers, under the baton of Music Director Elliot Jones, perform at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday at the mission, 1950 W. San Xavier Road off Interstate 19. A 30-minute reception on the patio will follow each performance. 

Buy tickets online at or by phone at 447-8912. Proceeds from concert ticket sales will help Patronato restore the East Tower and conserve the intricate wooden railings that surround the main altar.

Cathalena E. Burch

I cover music for the Arizona Daily Star.