Hi all,

I'm going to take tonight's obvious opportunity to segue from the speech of our U.S. President to reflecting on the speech by our own FCO President, Bryan Gonzalez, at this week's rehearsal! As you remember, Bryan announced that next season will be his 8th and final year as president of our choir. He had announced that decision at a board meeting earlier this year, and I must tell you that we were unanimously glad for him!

It's been our unwritten custom that the FCO President serve two years, preferably having served first as Vice-President in order to get an idea of what the presidency involves. That has worked pretty well over our 45 years of existence, with a few exceptions. No former President has served for 8 yearsnot even close!

A bit of math can show you that just as Bryan was nearing the end of what should have been the standard term, COVID hit. A lesser leader would have ducked and run, since every choir's very existence was in peril then: singing was known to be the most efficient way of spreading the virus. I will never forget the Tuesday night in early March 2020 when Bryan informed me (not asked) that that night would be our last rehearsal for the foreseeable future. What a gut punch! We were just a few weeks away from our scheduled performance of Schubert's Mass No. 6 in E-flat Major, so of course I tried to talk him into letting us keep going through that concert. Good thing that he is not only strong-willed but also employed by the state, so was informed about COVID long before the general public got the whole picture! Other groups that went on meeting actually lost people.

Bryan was at the helm of our choir right on through the whole course of those terrible years, as we found ways to feel connected as a group (remember sing-alongs, game nights, and watch parties over Zoom?), leading long and difficult board meetings as we kept trying to decide what to do. As you know, we came out on the other side and have finally managed to climb back to a new normal. I absolutely credit Bryan for our survival. He willingly offered to stay in the leadership role far beyond our mere resumption of concert seasons, wanting to be sure safeguards are in place and many improvements have been made to keep us in the very strong fiscal shape we're in.

Over all of these past years he has gone over and above what might be expected, and has given untold hours for the benefit of FCO. And even now as he prepares to settle back into the role of singer, we offer our gratitude for his amazing gifts. Please know that future job leaders will find the job easier through the guidelines and habits he's instilled in board work. He's absolutely the reason our board has had such stable membership: it has been a worthwhile place to serve.

As we look for new leadership over the coming season, I hope that people will step forward to help with the rewarding work ahead. There may be other turnover besides the position of President, but the various roles will be made clear. Those new to the Board always say they had no idea how much was involved in preparing and presenting concerts: it's as if you step inside a clock in motion, with all of its steadily functioning parts—all of which have been invisible. But I believe that all our board members find their work rewarding and worthwhile, preparing super concerts! We're also lucky that three former presidents have continued to sing with the group: tenor Rebekah Wozniak (1999-2003), alto Trudy McKinnell (2003-2005), and soprano Anita Blanchard (2005-2006). Each of them certainly faced challenges of many kinds, but I think they'd all agree that a global pandemic tops the list.

Looking forward to the fun we'll have next Tuesday improving these choruses:

  • Eia Mater p.38
  • Fac ut ardeat cor meum p.46
  • Tui nati vulnerati p.53

And check out the new YouTube recording listed below featuring the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. Bonnie Hiller Fullerton shared this fine example of the kind of text treatment we're aiming for. Bonnie especially recommends the Virgo Virginum movement!

Take care,


Confluence Concerts This Weekend

Confluence, the Willamette Valley LGBT Chorus, presents three performances of the funky soul sounds of Motown this weekend. Tap your feet and jive along with music from legendary greats such as The Temptations, Marvin Gaye, The Supremes, Stevie Wonder, and more! Tonight's performance in Salem is at 7:30pm at the First Congregational United Church of Christ. Tickets are $20 and children under 12 are free. Can't make tonight? Catch Saturday's performance in Portland or Sunday's in Corvallis. Learn more on Confluence's website.

Advertisers Wanted 

Concert programs cost more than $1,000 per concert to design and print, and ad revenue is used to cover that cost. Please contact businesses you know that might support community arts, like your dentist or financial planner and others you have a relationship with. You can download the ad form or pick one up from Carol Chancellor at rehearsals. Forms are due by March 26.

Member Handbook 

The Member Handbook is now available and provides important information for this term. Learn what's expected of you at rehearsals, what you need to wear for concerts, how to get more involved with FCO, and track important dates.

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. Next season's board members will be elected at rehearsal on April 9. If you are interested in helping to lead FCO, contact Bryan Gonzalez at bcgonzalez@juno.com

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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