Dear singers,

Based on our first two rehearsals, we have the makings of a very fine group this term! Lots of good readers are making it possible for us to make sense of the piece, even on the first read-through. That's good news for those of you with less experience, or whose group singing is in the rearview mirror. We're all getting a glimpse of the possibilities, and it's very satisfying to go home feeling that way.

If things seem to be going by too fast, please understand that these first few weeks of reading through the movements are like reading a book jacket's summary of the plot: just an overview. Once we've seen everything that Dvorak has written for you, we'll really get to work. To use another metaphor, there are a number of layers to peel back on this onion!

One of the first of those layers will be the text. Expect to be pronouncing all the words together carefully, to be sure we're all getting comfortable with the German Latin pronunciation. As you know, I haven't spent a lot of time doing that yetwe all just jumped in at the deep end. After next Tuesday, expect to have some group drill on the words and their meanings!

Works from the Romantic era utilize all their many dynamic shifts to create the characteristic drama, so of course we'll need to be rehearsing and having fun with those, both gradual changes like decrescendos as well as sudden drops of volume or loud explosions.

As we work on these basic elements, we'll be sure to clean up any remaining pitch uncertainties. So far we've had an overview: don't worry that you won't have a chance to revisit questionable passages.

Notes, rhythms, dynamics, text; as we get those elements well in hand, we'll start to really make music. I say "start" because it's phrase shaping and other nuances that are the essence of musicality, so that the piece really communicates. You can start to make the text come to life even now by paying attention to the rise and fall of syllabic stress and release. I suggested underlining the important syllables—but do it lightly if you have a rented score. There's going to be a lot of erasing!

Finally, get ready for me to be working on balance between and within sections. This particular choir has never existed before, and will not exist after the performance! In that way it's a microcosm of life itself, and we want to make the most of this opportunity for beauty and a unified sound. That will take attention and commitment from all of us, and I can tell already that you're ready for that challenge.

I can't wait for next Tuesday! See you then.


Volunteers Needed for Weekly Setup/Teardown 

As a self-presenting choir, we rely on members to volunteer to operate our organization. Right now, we are seeking a crew of volunteers to help set up and tear down our rehearsal space each week (starting February 6) for the entire term (having a dedicated crew enables them to become more familiar with the process). We need six people to help with setup (arriving at 6:30pm) and six people to help with teardown. Please consider your physical abilities and the commitment required, then sign up if you can lend a hand. Contact Rebecca Payne at with any questions.

Performance Dresses

Singers wear either a designated dress and jacket or a black tuxedo with black vest and bow tie. If you need to purchase a dress/jacket, samples sizes will be available to try on at next week's rehearsal. Order your dress/jacket as soon as possible to ensure they arrive in time for the concert. Singers are responsible for the cost of concert attire. Contact Emily Flanagan at with any questions.

Lead the Way with Board Service 

Get involved by joining FCO's board of directors. FCO is a nonprofit member organization with an annual budget close to $60,000. Board members oversee all aspects of FCO business, from grant writing and donor development to concert management and ticket sales. FCO's continued success depends on finding hard-working and passionate people to serve on the board. If you are interested in helping to lead FCO, contact Bryan Gonzalez at

Travel to Portugal & Northern Spain in 2024 

Join us on an 11-day performance tour of Portugal and northern Spain in July 2024. An auditioned group of singers will present a program of American choral music while exploring Lisbon, Porto, León, and San Sebastian. Both singers and non-singers are welcome, so don't miss this unique travel opportunity! The estimated cost is between $5,299 and $5,699 (depending on the number of participants) and includes airfare from Portland, lodging, and select meals. View the tour flyer for more information, and contact Rebekah Wozniak-Gelzer at to save your seat.

Choir for All 

FCO believes in making our music and our organization accessible to all. From financial assistance for participation costs to accommodating various physical needs, we want you to feel welcomed and supported. Contact Rebecca Payne at or your section leader to discuss particular needs or concerns.

Rehearsal Resources

Check out these resources to help learn this term's music:

Rehearsal Rules

  • Regular rehearsals run 7:00–9:30pm
  • Stay home if you are sick or experiencing symptoms of COVID-19
  • Notify Bryan Gonzalez (503-851-5351) as soon as possible if you test positive for COVID-19

Member Roster & Key Contacts

You can now download the roster of this term's members. If you cannot open the file, download Adobe Acrobat Reader for free. Please use this information for choir business only such as arranging ride shares.

Solveig Holmquist



Bryan Gonzalez



Jessica Coons

Soprano Section Leader


Doris Clark

Alto Section Leader


Rebekah Wozniak-Gelzer

Tenor Section Leader


Phil Davis

Bass Section Leader


Stay Alert

FCO uses text message alerts to provide important reminders and to share last-minute information. If you haven't received alerts this term, sign up now.


FCO no longer requires vaccination against COVID-19 or the use of masks. To protect the health and safety of everyone who interacts with our organization, please stay home if you feel unwell. Any member that tests positive for COVID-19 must report their diagnosis to FCO as soon as possible and may not participate in any FCO event until determined safe to do so according to public health guidance or their healthcare provider. FCO will not disclose the identity of any member that tests positive but will notify all members of potential exposures.

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