Events & Classes


Events Calendar


Grand demo

A grand demo is a taste of all the classes that will be offered in winter term, in one hour.

Full hour demo classes

WINTER CLASSES (Jan 11 – Mar 19, 2021)

  • Tuesdays at 12 noon – Vocal Freedom and Fearlessness II
  • Tuesdays at 7pm – Songs of Sustenance
  • Wednesdays at 12 noon – Songs of Solidarity
  • Wednesdays at 2 pm – Black Voices Matter
  • Wednesdays at 7 pm – Songs of Solidarity
  • Thursdays at 12 noon – Vocal Freedom & Fearlessness I
  • Thursdays at 7 pm – Vocal Improv
  • Fridays at 12 noon – Pop PDX with Dan Cooper

Times listed in US Pacific Standard Time (Daylight Savings Time starts Sunday March 14)


All classes…

  • welcome all (no audition)
  • use the oral teaching tradition (no sheet music)
  • are 60 minutes long
  • take place via zoom and require these audio settings
  • include practice tracks so you can hear the harmonies
  • include an assembly of your audio recordings so you can hear the choral sound
  • welcome new participants in the first 2 weeks only (enrollment closes October 10, 2020)
  • celebrate the end of term with a Virtual Singing Party (last class in week of December 7)
  • include at least 50% of music by black, brown or indigenous composers/performers (we signed the Black Voices Matter pledge)
  • are taught by Marion Van Namen (except Pop PDX which is taught by Dan Cooper)
  • are small and foster community:
    • Vocal Freedom, Songs of Sustenance and Vocal Improv are limited to 15 participants (cost $245).
    • Songs of Solidarity, Pop PDX can have up to 30 participants (cost $195)
  • Sign up for any winter class here.


  • Songs of Solidarity is a relaxed and joyful way of singing. The songs are not that hard to learn, and all are taught by ear. The lyrics are meaningful and up-lifting. Repertoire: across the world, centuries and seasons. Any genre is game. You will leave the class with a smile on your face and you’ll find yourself singing the songs in between classes. We are very focused on bringing you an hour of pure joy. Every single week. We make sure you have an awesome experience singing each week. We are less focused on perfection and performance. Those last two are way overrated. You can submit audio recordings of certain songs you’ve learned so that we can assemble a virtual choral. This class is offered on Wednesdays 12 noon and Wednesdays at 7pm (pick one) PT. Sign up here.
  • Songs of Sustenance is a class that combines singing with personal growth. Each class you get to explore a theme through singing and through discussion, journaling, visualization, meditation. Examples of themes are: receiving and giving, listening and rests, following and leading, harmony and dissonance. Just as the real music happens between the notes, life happens between people. This is a wonderful class to dive deeper into the lessons music has for us. The class is taught by Carole Marie Downing, wellness coach and song leader, and yours truly. Limited to 15 participants. Takes place Tuesday evenings at 7pm PT. Sign up here.
  • Pop PDX is a class where you get to sing the songs you already know and love. Dan Cooper leads this class and he is a master teacher of the popular repertoire. You will learn all songs by ear (i.e. no sheet music), in 3 part harmony. You’ll learn a new song every week in a fun oriented, no pressure environment. The class includes practice tracks and you get to submit audio recordings of completed songs which will be assembled into a virtual choir, so that you’re truly singing with your classmates. Loads of fun with your favorite songs from the 70s, 80s 90s and 21st century. Fridays at 12 noon PT. Sign up here.
  • Vocal Freedom and Fearlessness is focused on liberating your voice. Whether you want to get more confidence in using your voice, expand your range, or explore less charted territories of your voice, this is the perfect class for you. We will use the Five Element framework from Barbara McAfee to explore and play with your voice. It’s a class with a lot of personal attention, and a lot of fun. Humor is such a great way to discover the unknown and mysterious corners of your voice. You will learn how to expand your vocal palette. This class is great for honing your singing or public speaking skills. Level 1 focuses on the five elements in a playful and experimental way. This is offered Thursdays at 12 noon. Level II focuses on the pieces you want to sing, present or recite, applying the skills you’ve developed in level I. The level II class is offered on Tuesdays at 12 noon PST (prerequisite is level I of Vocal Freedom & Fearlessness). Sign up here.
  • Vocal Play & Improvisation. This is an hour packed with vocal play. You get to abandon all thinking, live in the moment, and love everything that comes out of your mouth. Improvisation may sound scary to some, but the opposite is true. It’s liberating. With silly games you’ll quickly get comfortable with creating a variety of sounds. Soon you’ll know how to make up rhythms, patterns, melodies, harmonies… Improv starts with making a first sound. Before you know it you will get ideas for the next note. The key is to love whatever comes out and play with it. We will explore themes like following and leading, form and freedom, getting attached to ideas and letting go, surrendering, being generous (making your singing buddies sound good). All through making stuff up. In the moment. Vocal improv is such a powerful reminder how easy it is to create beauty with strangers. In minutes. Musical play is a good teacher of knowing when to take charge and when to support someone else’s lead. Class size is limited to 12 participants so you will get a lot of individual attention, and opportunities to sing duets and trios. This class is offered on Thursdays at 7pm PDT. Sign up here.
  • Black Voices Matter. Black Voices Matter is a pledge that Sing Portland signed in July of 2020 to show our support as a choir to our black, brown and indigenous (BBI) brothers and sisters. Since the pandemic and the murder of George Floyd we felt the urge to sing forward in a more conscious way. We as a choir of mostly white privileged singers have lots of work to do! Dismantling white supremacy is a very personal journey requiring a lot of soul searching. Black Voices Matter is a free weekly gathering (not a class) to sing BBI music and to take action to dismantle white supremacy. It’s a 60- minute zoom session that starts and ends with a BBI song and in between we do anti-racist work. There will be plenty of suggestions for anti-racist work for you to choose from. Your work will mostly likely not be limited to the weekly hour. But you’ll be cheered on and supported by other singers to do this work in an ongoing manner. Any donations you make when signing up for this class, will be passed on to Black Lives Matter. This gathering takes place every Wednesday at 2 pm PDT. Sign up here.
  • Vocal Improv FOR CHOIR LEADERS – a playshop led by Kay Bourgine, Beth Lyons and Marion Van Namen. Zoom gives many opportunities to make choir rehearsals more interesting, surprising and fun. As singers are muted there is room for experimentation and play, and the break out rooms give opportunities for singing in smaller groups. Kay, Beth and Marion will share their tricks of the trade. All three lead vocal improv classes in Paris, France, Washington, DC and Portland, OR respectively. Each 2nd Monday of the month you can attend a playshop: learn new exercises, so you can bring more playfulness to your zoom singing events. Each 4th Monday of the month is playground: you get to practice leading the exercises you learned earlier in the month, try out variations ask questions. The classes are 90 minutes, take place at 12 noon PST, 3pm EST, 20 hours WET (UK), 21:00 hours CET (France). Dates are: Jan 11 & 25, Feb 8 & 22, Mar 8 & 22, Apr 12 & 26, May 10 & 24, June 14 & 28, July 12 & 26, Sep 13 & 27, Oct 11 & 25, Nov 8 & 22 of 2021. Class limited to 24 participants. Sign up here. $395 for the 10 month series. E-mail Marion with any questions.