Frequently Asked Questions
Songs for the Ocean: Spring Term April 1- June 15
Join us this Spring for a powerful 11-week term celebrating the beauty and power of our oceans. They need your voice!
Weekly rehearsals are in SW and SE (pick one) and the term ends with a Big Sing on June 15. We are honored to be part of SAGE’s conference “The Future of our Oceans” with key note speaker her deepness Sylvia Earle. Registered singers will get free admission to the conference to weave song into their program. Sign up here for our Spring term and sing your heart out.
SP! offers two weekly rehearsal locations to choose from (when you register you choose the one that works for you):
All rehearsals are held from 7-9 pm.
- Mondays: 3030 SW 2nd Ave, Portland, OR 97201, Cedarwood School
- Wednesdays: 5915 SE Division Street, Portland, OR 97206, Bothmer Hall, Map It
- Thursdays, 5915 SE Division Street, Portland, OR 97206, Bothmer Hall
- We offer an ever-expanding variety of workshops and singing retreats.
Am I good enough to sing in your group?
Absolutely! Everyone, I mean everyone, has a voice worth singing with. I’ve never met a voice I didn’t want in Sing Portland! I’ve led choirs and singing groups since 2000 and I have never asked anyone to not sing. Ever! No one should be told they cannot sing! I wish I could erase from your memory when that person told you your voice wasn’t good enough. The myth that the world is divided into singers and non-singers is simply absolute nonsense. I’m a firm believer of these African words: “If you can talk, you can sing. If you can walk, you can dance.” That pretty much sums up my experience.
Here’s a song that tells you what kind of choir we are… Check it out!
Even if it is a challenge for you to find the right pitch, to nail a rhythm, to stick to your own part while others are singing different notes, I’m totally confident that those musical skills will develop over time. Allow yourself to be carried by the group. As a novice or blossoming singer, have the guts to stand in the front row so you can ride on the musical waves that come from the singers behind you. All those elements of vocal skill will develop over time. My experience is that your beautiful voice will make itself known as soon as you acknowledge it is there. Trust and feel the support! Join us and be ready for a surprise!
Can I come and try out your choir before I sign up?
Of course. Visitors are always welcome. Book here if you just want to come to one of our rehearsals to see if we’re the singing community you’re looking for.
We also have open houses the first week of each term. Current singers are very happy to welcome you and answer any questions you may have. They’ve been in your shoes and are great at taking away any insecurities you may have about singing. I’m always here for your questions as well.
How can I join?
You want to sing with us? Congratulations! You’re in! No questions asked. Simple as that. Click here and you’re done. That’s all it takes.
We highly recommend that you join Sing Portland! within the first three weeks of the beginning of a term. That way you have plenty of time to get comfortable with all our songs before our Big Sing at the end of the term. However, if you’re excited and committed to jump in half way the term, we ain’t gonna stop you. We’ll never tell you not (yet) to sing! Click that Register Now button!
Sing Portland! is an all inclusive choir. We have a few scholarships and trades available (please request in writing) to accommodate your budget.
What's a Big Sing?
A Big Sing is a celebration at the end of the term. You get to invite your friends and family to enjoy all the songs we’ve learned. In addition to singing songs for your friends performance style, we also sing songs with them. That’s what makes this event a true celebration. We teach the audience a simple part of the song and they’re absorbed in the big choir sound. By the end of the evening you can’t even tell who is a choir member and who is audience, for everyone is singing their heart out. Everyone goes home on a “high”. It’s a magical and powerful experience.
What’s the expected commitment?
We want to make singing something that comes naturally and easy for you. All you need is a willingness to open your mouth and have a good time with what comes out. You’ll be learning music that is a joy to sing and not all that difficult to memorize. You are not expected to study the music each week in between sessions. We know that your week is plenty full, and we want you to come and sing for the sheer pleasure of it, for relaxation, for a break from your busy life. We don’t want to give you additional “work”. Once you register there will be practice tracks and lyrics sheets for you, so you can sing the songs whenever you want to. You may also choose to trust that we’ll have plenty of opportunity to sing our songs during the sessions so that you’ll feel absolutely confident about what you’re doing on stage at performance time. We do everything we can so that you wouldn’t WANT to miss any time on stage, but you are in no way obliged to. Our goal is for you to have fun at rehearsals, Big Sings and performances alike.
What are we going to sing?
The repertoire consists of a wide variety of songs that are easily accessible. In the past we’ve had terms focusing on Latin American music, music with African American roots, popular and contemporary music, nature songs, Broadway. You get the idea – any genre, culture, time period is fair game. What the songs have in common is that they are so beautiful, or so much fun they simply have to be sung. They have an important message. They lift your spirit. They bring a smile on your face. They put a song in your heart. Each term includes something familiar, something totally new, something non-English, and something to stretch yourself with. Music reading is not needed. All songs are taught by ear, through call and response.
To give you a taste of what we sing, check out our YouTube channel with clips from performances and rehearsals.
Where are the sessions?
Most terms there are two rehearsal sessions per week to choose from (SW and SE). The same music will be covered in each session. You simply choose the day of the week that works best for you and commit to that time every week. Make up sessions can be taken anywhere. At the end of the term all singers from both locations perform together so you can experience the big sound already before the Big Sing or performance.
The sessions are from 7-9 pm, at:
- Cedarwood Waldorf School (music room), 3030 SW 2nd Avenue, PDX 97201 – Mondays
- Bothmer Hall, 5915 SE Division St. PDX 97206 – Wednesdays
All rehearsal venues are wheelchair accessible.
Attending one rehearsal per week is enough to get you ready for public singing and performances.
Summer schedule varies – see the events page.
What will the sessions look (sound) like?
What if I miss a session?
What are the various levels of membership?
There are different levels of membership. You can sign up for a single term (fall, winter, spring, or summer), which gives you access to unlimited rehearsals during that term.
There are additional discounts for signing up for 12 months. You will be given those options at the registration page.
If you’re not ready to commit to singing every week, the drop-in card may be the better solution for you. The card allows you to be a member without having to commit to weekly rehearsals. It’s a great way to participate if you know you’ll be absent during part of that term, or if you want to come every now and then just for the joy of singing, and don’t care about getting ready for a performance. The card allows you to enjoy 12 sessions spread out over a year, so you can come whenever your busy schedule allows, and you don’t have to feel obligated to attend each week.
How does the drop-in card work?
With the drop-in card you purchase 12 sessions at once and you can attend as your schedule allows. Should you decide after a few weeks that you want term membership after all, you can use the unused portion of your drop-in card towards your term or annual membership. Your drop-in card expires a year after purchase. It is a virtual card. You won’t receive a physical drop-in card. We keep track of attendance, and once every 2 months or so you get an e-mail updating you on how many sessions you have left on your card, and when your card expires.
Drop in card and annual membership can be used for choir or vocal improv, or both.
How much does it cost?
- A 11 week term costs $225.
- Drop-in card (DC) costs $275 for 12 sessions.
- You get a better deal if you sign up for a 12 month period.
- Annual membership includes all terms, vocal improv and a 10% discount on all workshops and retreats. It’s the same price whether you pay all at once, or monthly.
- Sing Portland! offers a limited number introductory offers for new singers, and a few work/trade options.
What else does choir membership offer?
- Rehearsals in a beautiful space and welcoming environment to explore your voice.
- Support from a warm and welcoming group of singers.
- Chance to make new friends.
- Opportunities to sing in public
- Singing for a better world – benefit concerts for non-profits. We donated $5000 to non profits in 2018.
- Visiting guest teachers.
- And then there are spontaneous adventures like going to sing-a-long-movies or karaoke night.
- There are also unique opportunities such as singing in Carnegie Hall (March 2019), a big community sing right here in Portland in November of 2019 with some 500 singers. In summer of 2020 twenty or so of us are going to Uganda to visit schools we’ve been raising funds for since the beginning of Sing Portland.
What's the SP! refund policy?
Not happy with Sing Portland? Let us know in writing and you will get a refund of the unused portion of the term minus a $50 cancellation fee. No refunds are given after a month after the first rehearsal of the term. There are no refunds for scholarships or virtual drop-in cards, yet the drop-in card is transferable so you may give unused sessions to a friend. All cancellations and refund requests must be made in writing.