Frequently Asked Questions
Do you hold auditions?
No. All three choirs are non-audition. We firmly believe that everyone has a voice worth singing with. We have never asked a singer to not sing, and never will. We are not looking for perfection, we just want your awesomeness.
Which choir is the right fit for me?
The best way is to find out which group is the best fit for you, is to try them all out. Then you’ll know which singing group
works best for you.
- Sing Portland! is a relaxed, everyone welcome choir. All songs are taught by ear, via call and response. It’s stress free. We’re not expecting you to study with the practice tracks, but if you’d like – they’re there for you.
- Pop PDX is a bit more challenging. We’ll be using sheet music in the beginning, but eventually we’re all off book. If you’re not a note reader – no problem. Both sheet music and practice tracks are available on line.
For Pop PDX we’ll also learn some choreography, and we often dance as a warm up. The energy level of Pop PDX is a bit higher than that of Sing Portland!
- Vocal Improv is totally different because all music is made up in the moment. Half the class is spent on exercises that free you up in creating melodies, harmonies, rhythm, mimicking instruments, or coming up with language and words. Towards the end of the evening, you’ll be singing in smaller ensembles, and you’ll be singing circle songs a la Bobby McFerrin.
Every section gets an improvised part to sing, and the musical piece grows from there. In these rehearsals no one knows what will come out, but you’ll have a great time figuring it out, getting there! It’s a joy and a wonderful practice in surrender, and turning off the planner in you. For some it is even a spiritual practice to be so present in the moment. You really have to try it to discover what vocal improv is for you.
Can I come and try out your choir before I sign up?
Absolutely. You are welcome to try us out any time throughout the year. See our events page for details. We have Open Houses in September, January and April. Those months are the best time to join us.
What are we going to sing?
Sing Portland! sings a wide variety of songs that are not all that hard to learn. All songs are taught via call and response, by ear. We’ve sung songs about nature, songs with African American roots, world music, indie folk music, a few jazz and pop tunes. You get the idea – any genre, culture, time period is fair game. What all the songs have in common is that they are so beautiful or fun, they just have to be sung. The music will lift your spirit. Bring a smile on your face. Put a song in your heart.
Pop PDX sings contemporary, popular songs. In our first year (2019-2020) we’re learning songs by Queen, Justin Timberlake, Aretha Franklin, Billy Joel, Michael Buble.
It’s up to you what we’re singing in Vocal Improv, cause it’s all made up in the moment. You’ve never heard it before, and it will mostly likely never sound again : ) It’s magical!
On our YouTube channel you get a good taste of the variety of music we bring.
Where are the rehearsals?
- Sing Portland rehearses on Tuesdays in SW, Wednesdays in SE.
- Pop PDX rehearses on Thursdays in SE.
- Vocal Improv rehearses every second Monday of the month in SW.
- SE: 5915 SE Division Street (Bothmer Hall, Takacs Clinic)
- SW: 3030 SW 2nd Avenue (Cedarwood Waldorf School), enter from Porter St.
- All rehearsals are 7-9pm.
What’s the expected commitment?
- Sing Portland! doesn’t’ have any attendance requirements. You can attend every week, or a bit less regular via a drop in card. Since Sing Portland is offered twice a week, which allows you to help yourself to a make up rehearsal, or an extra practice. To feel ready for performances you should plan on attending each week.
- The repertoire of Pop PDX is a bit more challenging, and requires weekly attendance. The drop-in card cannot be used for Pop PDX for the same reason.
- Vocal Improv can be attended monthly or with a drop-in card.
- If you haven’t shown up to Sing Portland or Pop PDX for 3 months, your membership will be cancelled, and your spot will be given to someone on the waiting list.
What will the sessions look like?
All rehearsals are held in beautiful, light filled welcoming venues. The acoustics are great and all sites are wheelchair accessible.
Doors will open 20 minutes in advance. There is plenty of time for you to settle in and socialize. We start promptly at 7pm with tuning in and warming up. At 8pm we take a 15 minute break. The weekly rehearsal time is for your singing pleasure. All admin is taken care off on-line.
During vocal improv you’ll spend about half the time doing exercises to get comfortable creating melodies, coming up with harmonies, locking in rhythms, mimicking instruments and making up your own language. Then you’ll sing in smaller ensembles, and you will participate in circle singing.
What if I miss a session?
- If you are with Sing Portland you can help yourself to a make up session since rehearsals are offered twice a week. Feel free to come for some extra practice as well.
- For Pop PDX you can refresh your memory with the rehearsal tracks available on line.
- Vocal Improv – you’ll just have to make it up ; )
When can I join the choir?
The best time to join Sing Portland or Pop PDX is September, January or April. You can join Vocal Improv any time.
May children join the choir?
We have had children age 10 and up join our choirs. They need to be accompanied by an adult.
Are the rehearsal sites wheelchair accessible?
Yes, both rehearsal venues are wheelchair accessible, and have handicap parking close by.
How much does it cost to join Sing Portland?
Sing Portland! and Pop PDX cost $58/month x 12 for each.
Vocal Improv is $20/month x 10.
Drop-in Card $275 for 10 sessions.
You’ll receive a discount for paying the annual fees at once. Monthly fees are the same independent for how many rehearsals or performances there are that month. The drop-in card does not expire.
Can I pay my dues in monthly installments?
Yes all choirs can be paid for via monthly installments. The weekly choirs (Sing Portland! and Pop PDX) are $58 per month (12x) and Vocal Improv is $20 per month (10x). You get a discount for paying a year’s tuition at once. (Sing Portland! and Pop PDX $650 instead of $696, Vocal Improv $180 instead of $200).
Can I use the drop-in card for any of the choirs?
The drop-in card can only be used for Sing Portland! and Vocal Improv. The repertoire for Pop PDX is too challenging to be sung every now and then.
Do you offer scholarships?
Yes, Sing Portland offers a limited number of work trades (e.g. rehearsal host, photography, videography, membership administration, historian, graphic design). Please ask if any positions are open.
And there are a limited number of scholarships available for students and low income singers.
What else does membership offer?
- 36 weeks of singing each year guaranteed
- 3 performances for Sing Portland! and Pop PDX each year guaranteed
- 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, we perform at non-profit events, and host benefit concerts for charity.
- Learning from guest teachers each year
- Sing along movies, karaoke nights
- Carnegie Hall (with Pop PDX) in the odd years (2019, 2021,2023 etc)
How do I join?
Please fill out the contact form, and someone will reach out to you within two working days. Then you will be invited to create a profile with Chorus Connection for internal communications, practice tracks, lyric sheets, bulletin board, singers’ profiles and payment of your dues.
What’s your refund policy?
You may cancel your annual membership at any time. You simply stop the monthly payments. If you’ve paid the lump sum, you will be refunded the unused portion of the tuition, minus a $50 cancellation fee. All cancellations need to be requested in writing.
Drop-in cards are non-refundable. They only expire if they haven’t been used for a year straight.