Tom Morgan, 11, a member of the Tucson Arizona Boys Chorus, did rope tricks as part of a celebration marking the 75th anniversary of the Arizona Children’s Home.

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The Tucson Arizona Boys Chorus has always mixed its more classical music with pop tunes and Western classics.

Now in its 75th year, the chorus continues to reflect Tucson’s Western traditions as a bow to the past and an excuse to break out the lariats.

The chorus began in 1939 under the directorship of Eduardo Caso, a famed tenor whose career was cut short by tuberculosis.

He found relief and a return to health in Tucson, where he founded a chorus that was modeled on classic European boys choruses.

He led the chorus until his death in 1965. He was followed by Jeffrey Haskell, John Davis and today’s director, Julian Ackerley, who has been at the helm since 1980.

The group has always had a two-fold purpose — to train young men in music and to serve as ambassadors to the world at large.

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Over the years, the Boys Chorus has toured Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and throughout the United States.

It has performed at the White House and the Vatican and on the Ed Sullivan Show.

It has showcased the musical talent of generations of Tucsonans, including singer John Denver.

Recently, one of its lariat-twirling singers, now known as Loop Rawlins, impressed the judges on “America’s Got Talent” by setting his lariat on fire.

Contact reporter Tom Beal at or 573-4158.