Now the rewarding fun begins, singers!

We've spent weeks baking the cake, and now we will begin adding the frosting. Well, I'd better not carry that analogy too far, because in some instances the cake needs a little more time in the oven, but we'll be fixing those places as we proceed with the glory of bringing musicality to this beautiful work: that's the frosting.

A reminder: Musicianship consists of everything in the music that can be measured: intervals (that's the distance between notes), rhythm, tempo, language, pitch accuracy, and diction (that's pronunciation, which every choir struggles with and which must be unified).

The end product of all of this attention can and should result in taking the big step up to another level. How sad that in some cases choirs don't have the time or inclination to use Musicianship's accomplishments to rise to that next step of Musicality, the end product that results in communication to singers and audiences! In a truly musical performance, the text really rules, and all the dynamics come from that concept. Lacking that, the performance cannot communicate to and move the audience.

We've been working toward that step. We'll examine what Dvorak himself does with the text. The choices that every composer makes with dynamics, shaping, even silences within a given passage are entirely individual! That's the reason there can be so many settings of sacred (and also secular) texts, and the reason why it's so fascinating to compare them. And it's not just the personal nature of each composer that contributes to the differences. It can be national: one of my favorite settings of the Stabat Mater is by the French composer Poulenc. His setting is mystical, and for whatever reason the natural rhythmic sense of the text takes a back seat, but it's ravishingly effective in its communication. The listener knows at once that Poulenc isn't German, or Czech, or American.

So now we embark on an examination of Dvorak's own use of these powerful words. We know that he wrote out of grief at the loss of three of his children in infancy, so that's a start: he is personally involved.

Next Tuesday, I'd like to focus on the first and last movements, comparing them while cleaning up certain places in these long movements. And as a practical consideration, we need to gain total strength and confidence in the fast portion of the final movement, just when you'll be tempted to be exhausted! That kind of stamina can only be acquired with repetition: runners don't just step onto the track for a marathon without rigorous preparation. (For specifics about that process, ask Shelley Uselman in the back row of the alto section.)

Please stay healthy as our weird weather continues.


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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.

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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