What does Sing Dance Do! community singing look like?  Will it be like my other choir? What if I have never done group singing before? 

If you are thinking of joining us but you aren’t sure what to expect, this is my vision* of Sing Dance Do! ….

We will:

  • Sing heartfelt music with thoughtful lyrics that invite community. Our songs are chosen to lift your spirit and to leave you smiling. Seasonal selections will bring us closer to the natural world that gives us life and beauty everyday. 
  • Care for each other. We are creating a singing community in which we ‘Hold Everybody Up’, as the song goes. When it is Covid safe, we will do things like massage, partner dances, and take choral baths where people lie down in the middle of the choir to receive a bath of song. It is a moving experience to give and to receive. 
  • Have an open door (when we get a meeting space someday!), open houses, and open enrollment. It is my vision to connect singing to any and every aspect of life that welcomes it! I see us welcoming fine artists, writers, and guests to work in the presence of our live music, or to just soak it in.  We will take our songs out into the larger community as well.
  • Make it easy to sing with us. We provide scholarships and offer free events throughout the year. I envision being able to hold multiple choir rehearsals per week in various locations to provide broad access and multiple times of day. One will be outdoors! ( -even after Covid. I love to feel the earth with my bare feet while I sing.)
  • Singing parties, weekends, retreats, and field trips are all part of my designs for us. Instead of traditional concerts, singing parties will welcome our family and friends to join us and be swept up into our singing. This style of ‘concert’ connects the audience and the choir so that they become indistinguishable. Instead of being seated and silent, our audience will be part of the joy making. 
  • Sing for a better world. We will sing in support of our greater community at marches and at fundraisers. 
  • Focus on the joy of singing. Practice makes progress but we are not in the business of perfection. We don’t need it. The songs will uplift us just as we are able to meet them and enjoy them in each moment. We will sometimes practice speaking to the songs and thanking them for the gifts they bring us. 
  • Invite your artistry. The ‘Do’ in Sing Dance Do! is all about connection between song and other forms of creativity and learning. We will do simple ‘song drawings’ or ‘voice drawings’ to explore our inner experiences. There is a plethora of possibilities!

We won’t:

  • Have sectionals, or other mandatory rehearsals outside of our regular rehearsal gatherings. There will be no ‘mandatory’ anything in general. No mandatory performances, no mandatory attendance, no mandatory dress code. We are focused on the singing, that’s it!
  • Have sheet music. We learn by listening and repeating, not studying. 
  • Stay in sections. If you are normally a low singer but prefer to sing higher on a particular song, go ahead and sing where you find the most joy and comfort. 
  • Do auditions. As Marion Van Namen* says, “If you can talk, then you can sing.” Whatever you’ve been told about your voice being bad or good, you belong in our choir. Everyone is welcome, exactly as you are. 
  • Single people out. In person (some glorious day), I will take up the practice of giving little hints to sections, but not ever correcting an individual singer. I want you to always feel supported and connected. 

You are wholeheartedly welcome to join us in song!

Marion Van Namen is the director of Sing Portland Community Choir. She is a great inspiration and a generous mentor to me. My vision above is a modified version of her choir expectations. Please check out her website and watch some videos to see what fun they are having. Yes, we will do that too!


Marion Van Namen, Director of Sing Portland!
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