ABOUT FESTIVAL CHORALE OREGON

Festival Chorale Oregon in concert
Bringing Choral Masterworks to the Mid-Valley since 1979 

 

Festival Chorale Oregon is a chorus of professional and amateur singers presenting a wide variety of classical and popular music. Festival Chorale Oregon is honored to have been performing under the direction of our founding director, Dr. Solveig Holmquist, for over 35 seasons.  Formed in 1979 with eight members in Stayton, the Chorale has grown to an ensemble of 100 singers from the Mid-Willamette Valley.  

 

The founding purpose of the Chorale is to explore worthy choral literature, understand music history and promote proper choral singing technique for greater enjoyment of choral music for singers and listeners in our community.

FCO is honored to be included in the Oregon Encyclopedia of History and Culture, a project of the the Oregon Historical Society to provide definitive, authoritative information about all aspects of the State of Oregon, including significant individuals, places, cultures, institutions, events, and peoples.

 

Administered by a 13-member Board of Directors from within its membership, FCO singers purchase their own music and pay regular dues, thus freeing ticket revenues, along with grants and patron contributions, to be used to fund the instrumental accompaniment foundational to the group’s repertoire.

 

Membership in Festival Chorale Oregon is open to all good singers with previous singing experience. No auditions are required.  Learn more about learn about joining the chorale.
 

 

Repertoire 

The Chorale has presented choral masterworks by composers such as Vivaldi, Bach, Bernstein, Schubert, Händel, Haydn, Distler, Mozart, Mendelssohn, Schütz, Puccini, Britten, Poulenc, Vaughan Williams, Brahms, and Verdi, accompanied by musicians from Oregon’s symphonic community.

 

Although the emphasis is on sacred choral music, Festival Chorale Oregon has on occasion investigated show music, performing Gershwin, Porter, opera choruses, spirituals, folk songs, and popular music from the two World Wars, and has staged three Gilbert and Sullivan operettas.

 

See complete  list of works performed by Festival Chorale Oregon since the 1993-94 season, and listen to samples.  

 

 

Tours

In addition to performing three concerts a year in the Salem, Oregon area, the choir has toured Europe five times and has hosted several choirs when they tour the U.S. The choir toured England and Wales in summer of 2016, and plans are underway for a choir tour of Central Europe in the summer of 2018.

 

Festival Chorale Oregon has performed five times in Carnegie Hall in New York City through an invitation for Dr. Holmquist to conduct in Carnegie Hall.   In May 2013 the choir joined Dr. Holmquist in Lincoln Center in New York City, performing John Rutter’s  Magnifcat.  

Dr. Solveig Holmquist, Founding Artistic Director

Dr.  Solveig Holmquist is the founder and artistic director of  Festival  Chorale Oregon. Under  her  leadership, the Chorale has developed a reputation for  musical  excellence throughout Western Oregon and in the  international  community. Festival Chorale Oregon has enjoyed performing  tours  through Germany, France, Scandinavia, Austria, Switzerland, the  Czech  Republic and Spain. At home, FCO regularly performs major  choral/ orchestral works for Willamette Valley audiences. 

Dr. Holmquist, Western Oregon University Professor Emerita,  retired after 18 years as director of Choral Studies. Her duties included conducting both the Concert Choir and Chamber Singers,  and teaching conducting at both the undergraduate  and  graduate levels.    

As a  certified adjudicator, she is in demand as a clinician at numerous  clinics, choral festivals and contests. She has been a Guest Conductor in five performances in Carnegie Hall, with Festival Chorale Oregon and the WOU Chamber Singers as core ensembles, and served in the same capacity for a performance in New York's Lincoln Center.

In August, 2020, Dr. Holmquist was named to the Oregon ACDA Choral Hall of Fame, in recognition of Lifetime Achievement and Contributions to the Choral Arts. In March 2021 she was among those featured by the National ACDA President as one of fifteen US and Canadian "Women Choral Conductors You Should Know."

From 1985 - 2013, Holmquist was an auditioned member of the professional chorus at the Oregon Bach Festival, Helmuth Rilling, Founder and Artistic Director. The Festival Orchestra and Chorus premiered Krystof Penderecki's "Credo" in 1999, for which they were awarded the 2000 Grammy for Best Live Choral/Orchestral Performance. 

Her professional affiliations include the American Choral Directors Association, in which she served as Oregon President from 2003-2005 and as President of the six-state Northwest Division from 2010 to 2012. She has also served as president of the Oregon Music Educators Association, and has provided educational seminars for the Oregon Chapter of the American Guild of Organists. 

Dr. Holmquist majored in voice and organ at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, singing with the renowned St. Olaf Choir. She holds a Master’s degree in Music Education from Western Oregon University, and a DMA in Music Education and Choral Conducting from the University of Oregon.

Dr. Holmquist and her husband share six grown children and nine grandchildren.

Brenda Winberg, Rehearsal Accompanist
brendaWinberg.jpeg

Brenda Winberg is a collaborative pianist from Salem, Oregon. She spent 16 years as the staff accompanist at Corban University and 10 years as the Dramatic Vocal Arts accompanist at Willamette University, bringing her sensitive interpretation to collaborative works with a wide range of instrumentalists and solo vocalists.  Along with her professional accompanying, she has taught private piano since 1996 to students of all ages and counts this teaching experience as invaluable training for her collaborative work. She recently made an exciting career change and is loving her work as the library specialist at a local elementary school.  She and her husband live in Salem, and they enjoy spending time with their three young adult children. 

 
Repertoire

2021-2022 Season

  • SCHUBERT: Mass No. 6 in E flat major

 

2020-2021 Season

  • Entire season suspended by COVID-19 pandemic

 

2019 -2020 Season

  • BACH: Christmas Oratorio

  • Season suspended by COVID-19 pandemic

2018-2019 Season

  • BRAHMS: Requeim

  • MOZART: Great Mass in C minor

  • Special Performance with Salem Symphonic Winds: The Queen Symphony by Tolga Kashif 

2017-2018 Season

  • HANDEL: Messiah, Part 1

  • HANDEL: Messiah, Part 2 & 3

2016-2017 Season

  • VAUGAN WILLIAMS: Hodie / Fantasia on Christmas Carols

  • PUCCINI: Messa di Gloria

  • Mars & Venus, Music for Men's and Women's Choirs 

2015-2016 Season

  • HAYDN: The Creation

  • MOZART: Requiem and Solemn Vespers

  • Cole Porter Celebration 

2014-2015 Season

  • FAURÉ: Requiem and DISTLER Totentanz (semi-chorus)

  • PAULUS and BROWNE: To Be Certain of the Dawn

  • Celebrate the Light: Music of Berlin, Kern & Gershwin 

 

2013-2014 Season

 

2012-2013 Season

  • DWIGHT BIGLER: Glimpses

  • TWO MAGNIFICATS: by John Rutter and by Christoph Schönherr (Rutter Magnificat also performed in New York at Lincoln Center)

  • TWO MASSES: “Come Away to the Skies: A High Lonesome Mass” by Tim Sharp and Wes Ramsey and “Eclectic Mass” with movements by Ola Gjeilo, Marc Hafso, Craig Courtney, Emile Paladihle and Eugene Butler  +Listen to Kyrie (Lord Have Mercy) - Sharp/Ramsey High Lonesome Mass

 

2011-2012 Season

 

2010-2011Season

  • BENJAMIN BRITTEN: Ceremony of Carols, with other Christmas selections

  • RACHMANINOFF: Vespers

  • VERDI: Requiem

 

2009-2010 Season

  • NORMAN DELLO JOIO: To Saint Cecilia and STROOPE: We Beheld Once Again the Stars

  • FRINK: Songs for Travelers; and Hindemith “In Praise of Music”; selections by McKay High School Choir

  • ORFF: Carmina Burana

 

2008-2009 Season

 

2007-2008 Season

  • BRAHMS: Alto Rhapsody; Schicksalslied and  MENDELSSOHN: Lobegesang

  • BACH: Jesu, Meine Freude; Komm Jesu, Komm; chorales from St. Matthew Passion

  • HAL EASTBURN: Songs of the Earth; and American Traditional Music  + Listen to Listen to the Air - Eastburn Songs of the Earth

  • Tour to Germany - Eastburn “Songs of the Earth” and American music (under the direction of Hal Eastburn)

 

2006-2007 Season

 

2005-2006 Season

 

2004-2005 Season

 

2003-2004 Season

 

2002-2003 Season

  • EASTBURN: Songs of the Earth. 

  • POULENC: Stabat Mater. 

  • “Celebrating the Lewis & Clark Expedition”

 

2001-2002 Season

  • HANDEL: Israel in Egypt. 

  • MOZART: Requiem.

  • MAHLER: 8th Symphony (performed in Euguene with mass choir)

 

2000-2001 Season

  • RUTTER: Gloria. GABRIELI: Motets. 

  • MENDELSSOHN: Elijah. 

  • “Music of Africa” (performed at Oregon Garden)

 

1999-2000: 20th Anniversary Season

(Rehearsal location moved from Stayton to Salem)

 

1998-1999 Season

  • BACH: Christmas Oratorio. 

  • MOZART: Regina Coeli, Vesperae Confessore, Vesperae Dominica, Ave Verum. 

  • “Songs of 1899” - A panorama of music and songs from 100 years ago. (performed outside at Deepwood Estate)

 

1997-1998 Season

  • DELLO-JOIO: St. Cecelia. PURCELL: St. Cecilia. VAUGHAN WILLIAMS: Serenade to Music.

  • ORFF: Carmina Burana 

  • GILBERT & SULLIVAN: The Mikado.

 

1996-1997 Season

  • ELGAR: Dream of Gerontius. 

  • Settings of `Gloria’ by Vivaldi, Weelkes, Poulenc, Puccini, Renè Clauson. 

  • “Steppin’ Out” (tribute to Gershwin, Berlin)

 

1995-1996 Season

  • MOZART: Requiem. 

  • BERNSTEIN: Chichester Psalms BERGER: Brazilian Psalm. 

  • GILBERT & SULLIVAN: Pirates of Penzance 

  • Tour to Spain, France, Germany - music of American composers

 

1994-1995

  • VAUGHAN WILLIAMS: Sancta Civitas 

  • BRAHMS: Liebeslieder Waltzes. PINKHAM: Wedding Cantata. 

  • “Songs We Took to War” (American music of the 1930/40’s)

 

1993-1994 Season

  • BRITTEN: Ceremony of Carols. CHARPENTIER: Midnight Mass 

  • BACH: Jesu Meine Freude. (Lenten and Easter Music of J.S. Bach). 

  • GILBERT & SULLIVAN: H.M.S.Pinafore (full stage production at the Elsinore Theatre)