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.
Sing Portland! and Vocal Improv welcome all levels of ability. Pop PDX requires you to be able to match pitch, and reading sheet music is not required, but will come in handy for Pop PDX.
When you attend all rehearsals you will feel prepared for the performances. Pop PDX also requires you to sing with practice tracks in between rehearsals. If you are unprepared due to too many absences (more than 1 per month) you may be asked to skip a concert.
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 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. With Sing Portland! you’ll have a good time singing every single rehearsal. Two hours of pure joy each week. Since all music is taught by ear the songs come alive right away. Most music starts sounding good that same rehearsal. Some songs will take a few rehearsals to master. Sing Portland! is the most experiential choir. By the end of the term, you’ll know the songs inside out and will feel prepared to share the music via a concert. Sing Portland! offers two rehearsal times and sites a week. You pick one day/location and that’s where you will sing most if not all rehearsals. The other site is available for make up sessions. You only need to attend one a week to be ready for any performances.
- 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; the sheet music will still be helpful. Both sheet music and practice tracks are available on line. Pop PDX may include some movement, and you’ll get to dance as part of the warm ups. You’ll sing both a cappella and with accompaniment. Of course in this choir you will have a good time every single rehearsal as well, but the music takes weeks before we can call it our own. The result is so rewarding! Pop PDX is more of a performance choir. We will perform in Carnegie Hall again next year, and yes, you can join us. Pop PDX is the perfect group to get your pop song chops ready to participate in Total Vocal 2021. All our choirs are non-audition, but for Pop PDX you have to be able to match pitch.
- Vocal Improv is totally different because all music is made up in the moment. Half the class is spent on playful exercises that free you up in creating melodies, harmonies, rhythm, mimicking instruments, or coming up with your own language and words. The second half of the evening, you’ll be singing in smaller ensembles, and you’ll be creating 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 shaping it on the way. It’s joyful and a wonderful practice in surrendering, and turning off the planner in you. For some it is even a spiritual practice to be so present in the moment that you can simply let the music flow through you. You really have to try it to discover what vocal improv means for you.
- All choirs are non-audition. For Pop PDX you have to be able to match pitch.
Can I come and try out your choir before I sign up?
Absolutely. It is the best way to figure out which choir is the best match for you. Open Houses are in September, January and April. Those are the best months to join us. You are welcome to try us out any time throughout the year. See our events page for details.
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 and put a song in your heart.
Pop PDX sings contemporary, popular songs. Some examples are Billy Joel’s Lullaby – Goodnight my angel, Pharrell Williams’ Happy, Queen’s Crazy little thing called love, Justin Timberlake’s Can’t stop the feeling, Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors, Jamie Cullum’s Twenty Something, and Coldplay’s When I need a friend.
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. 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 on average. Only if you’ve fallen behind due to frequent absences may you be asked to not perform.
- The repertoire of Pop PDX is a bit more challenging, and requires weekly attendance. You may be asked to not perform if you’ve missed more than 1 rehearsal per month. The drop-in card cannot be used for Pop PDX.
- Vocal Improv can be attended monthly or with a drop-in card.
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.
- 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 by yourself ; )
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 only expires after you haven’t sung at all for 12 months.
If you join more than one choir – the second choir is half price.
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). Second and third choirs are 50% off.
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. Pop PDX requires weekly attendance; the drop in card cannot be used for Pop PDX.
Do you offer scholarships?
Yes, Sing Portland offers a limited number of work trades (e.g. rehearsal host, photography, videography, 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 – Total Vocal (with Pop PDX) in the odd years (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 expire if they haven’t been used for a year straight. You can donate your drop in card to a friend.