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The River City Singers – Columbia Chorale of Oregon

The River City Singers – Columbia Chorale of Oregon has exciting plans for their upcoming fall season, according to Artistic Director Alice Boyer.

Towards the end of October, the choir has plans to collaborate with Big River Big Band, who most recently performed in the area in Scappoose this summer.

“They’re directed by Larry Jackson and comprised of mostly local musicians. They’re a regular swing band,” Boyer said. “They invited us to be a part of their fall program, so we just decided we’re going to collaborate.”

First, at 3 p.m. on October 20, the groups will perform together at Scappoose High School.

“We’re really hoping to reach out to the assisted living organizations and get that on their event calendar, so they can bus people there to see it. It will be music that will be familiar to those folks,” Boyer said.

Then, the following weekend on October 26, the groups will take their act to Clatskanie to hold a swing dance, rather than a sit-down performance as they’ve always done in the past. Boyer said they will set up in the ballroom above the Birkenfeld Theater, which still has the original dance floor from the 1920s.

“It’s never been done before,” Boyer said. “It’s something different that touches a whole different genre and gives you the opportunity to dance to live music.”

This is Boyer’s fourth year as Artistic Director, and said she took on the role after being a choir member when the River City Singers were looking for a new direction. The choir membership varies from year to year, but tends to draw 25 to 40 local singers, Boyer said, but they’re looking for new blood.

“We would absolutely love to get some new voices in, particularly for this concert,” Boyer said. “We’ve had some members that have moved and some folks that have retired.”

Boyer said all interested parties need do is show up to a rehearsal. The River City Singers rehearse every Thursday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m at the First United Methodist Church, though they are not affiliated with the institution.

“We really are a community choir,” Boyer said. “We’re trying to pull from all of Columbia County. There’s no audition. I’m a voice teacher so I can make anyone sound good.”

As a 501c3, Boyer said the choir generally asks for a $10 donation at the door for each concert to cover production costs, but they have never turned anyone away for an inability to pay. She said they are always looking for audience members because the singers put their heart and soul into the music they perform.

“We love our audience,” she said. “We try to make it music that’s accessible to people.”

The River City Singers also participate in the Christmas Season, and try to participate in the Shop Small movement to support shopping local. She said they’re hoping to nail down a date to perform at The Grotto and are also planning a Christmas concert comprised of the singers’ favorite carols.

Upcoming in March, the choir will collaborate with the North Coast Chorale, directed by Denise Reed. Boyer said the River City Singers were invited to be on their program to perform a piece called “Lux Aeterna” by Morten Lauridsen, who also wrote a piece for the Rose Festival in the 1990s.

“Reed said it would be fun to have a big choir to do this piece, so she invited us to be a part of it. I also think the Cannon Beach Choir is going to be part of it. We’ll do one performance in Astoria and one in St. Helens,” Boyer said.

For more information, visit the River City Singers – Columbia Chorale of Oregon Facebook page.

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