Columbia County, OR – Columbia County has a strong, long-standing community choir called the River City Singers. The River City Singers will soon represent Columbia County at Carnegie Hall in New York City on Memorial Day, May 29th. If you are a local, you can enjoy listening to this group perform year round.
Director, Alice Boyer shared how the group was chosen for the opportunity. Alice said,” We were very excited to be invited by Dr. William Skoog who is the Chair of the Department of Music, and Director of Choral Studies at Rhodes College in Memphis, TN, to come be a part of his mass choir performance of Ola Gjeilo’s “Sunrise Mass.” This is a contemporary mass setting that will be performed with one of the New York Philharmonic Orchestras. Dr. Skoog and I have a long history of musical collaboration. I participated in the Dvorak Festival in Prague, the Czech Republic in 2001 as part of his festival choir. When he heard that I was directing a choir here in Oregon, he was eager to have us come be a part of this endeavor at Carnegie Hall.”
Understanding the group’s history is important; it shows their strong foundation as a group. The community choir group started in 2001 under the name Columbia Chorale of Oregon. The group has between 25-40 members depending on the season. With no auditions and no fees, the Columbia River Singers are a diverse group of men and women of various ages who love to sing. Performing in a variety of venues across Columbia County and Portland for the past 16 years, they typically perform 3-4 concerts a year with the first rehearsals starting in late August or Early September. Participating in a few community events such as Doughnut Day at St. Helens Police Department fundraiser for Columbia Pacific Food Bank allows them the opportunity to share their music with their community. They are a true community choir with a strong past and a bright future.
“We are always looking for singers and non-singers who love to support the growth of the arts in Columbia County to join us as members. While the chance to sing in Carnegie Hall doesn’t come along every year, we believe the chance to sing and perform meets a valuable need in our community. It’s been shown in recent studies that singing is a very health-promoting exercise,” Alice commented encouraging the community to get involved.
Want to show your support the local singers? If you like to sign, join them for practice on Thursdays at 7:00 PM at The First United Methodist Church, 560 Columbia Blvd, St. Helens. They are a 501(c)3 non-profit so donations are tax deductible. Alice mentioned the goal for the trip to New York is to raise $2000-3000 to offset the costs of this trip. Some of the choir members are using personal funds to cover their expenses, however, the group is setting up an “Angel” fund to help offset the costs for members on fixed incomes. Alice hopes to have as many singers who want to go be able to make this trip. For most, it is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!
I’d venture to say, our community is proud of the group to represent not only Columbia County but Oregon. Go to their Facebook page to stay up to date.