Pure Imagination: Art

Our theme this season is taken straight from the classic Hollywood movie, Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. The song “Pure Imagination” encapsulates what we love about music: it’s ability to transport listeners to a storied world full of possibilities.

This season, we’re performing a concert completely from musicals and movies. We’re excited to present something light and fun for a change and will be trying our hands at lots of kinds of art including staging, costuming, acting, and some visual arts.

We know that music enjoys a close relationship with other art forms like dance, words, and imagery and so to inaugurate our Summer 2018 season, we’ve collected art work from our Sonoro members illustrating Pure Imagination.


Randee Autrand paints pottery. She says: “Pure imagination means creating a world, even if it’s within your own head, where anything is possible. Whenever life gets you down, you can go there and be whatever you want to be.”

Battle Scars
Written By Adena Grundy

I sit wounded, terrified and torn.

The battles are never over,
They began they day we were born.

A constant assault,
A choice to see,
Tired and restless,
Hoping there is still some fight left in me.

I have seen what happens to those who lay down,
Lost in all that they had hoped to be.

So I stand wounded, bloodied and free.

Adena Grundy uses poetry to imagine a future of healing.

Marijana Wulffiend uses makeup and fashion to transport the viewer to another time and place. We look forward to using her expertise in makeup this concert! (click to view larger pictures)

Ellen Jewkes says about her paintings: “Abstract art leaves rules behind, fuels imagination, and exemplifies creativity just with elements of shapes, lines, colors, and textures.” (click to view larger pictures)

Written by Susan Smith

Where the wind does reach the water,
Where sun and moon shine over seas,
There will I wait until the morrow,
For you to sail back home to me.

If the shadows come to get me,
My soul will draw its strength from yours.
There is no wall to come between us;
There is no force that is that strong.

Leave the winter when you’re able.
Send the spring to warm our land.
I will be here when you call softly;
I will be here to take your hand.

The sun will rise ‘ere you return.
The moon and stars be true.
I will not falter, nor be shaken.
My heart is ever true.

© 2016 Dusty Guitar Music, LLC (by permission)

Susan Smith likewise uses imagination and metaphor to shape her message.

Krystal Hames uses photography to find beautiful structures in nature and to foster imaginative spaces. (click to view larger pictures)

Johanna Hanson uses watercolor and ink to think about emotive space. She says, “Imagination, for me, has always been about a union of emotion with a sense of place. I’m definitely inspired by our music and lyrics and I can’t wait to take our audience on a journey this season.”  (click to view larger pictures)

Join us in June “in a world of pure imagination”.

Songs of Empowerment

12045367_10153624296054799_9207590057271539424_oWe have always been proud here at Sonoro of our commitment to empowerment for amateur artists. We empower our singers by providing them a supportive place to practice and grow in their art and by providing them high quality places to perform.

We also empower our singers–currently all women–by selecting meaningful literature and challenging music to perform. Historically, women-only choirs have been given frivolous, useless songs to sing. We often credit Brahms (1850s) for being one of the first composers to write large, important works strictly for women’s voices.

This season, some of our music is more specifically concerned with women’s empowerment. For instance, Voice on the Wind by Sarah Quartel was commissioned for an all girl’s choir to “celebrate 20 years of providing a place where girls find their voices.” It’s an earthy, a capella song accompanied by hand drum with the following lyrics:

I heard a voice on the summer wind
hoo wah hoo wah hoo
Who she is I can’t explain
hoo wah hoo wah hoo

I heard a voice on the summer wind
Blowing free and blowing strong
Strength and spirit in her song.
hoo wah hoo wah hoo

I heard a voice on the summer wind
Sounds familiar like my own
hoo wah hoo wah hoo

I am the voice on the summer wind
hoo wah hoo wah hoo
Strong and sure where e’er I stand
hoo wah hoo wah hoo

The singers, rooted and confident, finding their voice on the summer wind reminds me so strongly of Walt Whitman asserting his hale and hearty human-ness with his “barbaric yawp” in verse 52 of “Song of Myself”. In the poem, Whitman explores his place in nature, his exuberance at being alive, and his abhorrence of death while reveling over grass in the woods. Finally, he says:

The spotted hawk swoops by and accuses me– he complains of my gab and my loitering.
I too am not a bit tamed–I too am untranslatable;
I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.

There is something obstinate and joyful about shouting wordlessly into the space between; something wonderful about finding your strength, untamed and untranslatable. That’s what we want for you and for our singers.


Come here the Sonoro Women’s Choir sing “Voice on the Wind” and other delights May and June.

We love Sonoro

Sonoro Choral Society began as a tiny wish to form a community choir dedicated to inspiring passion for choral music. We wanted to be a place where amateur musicians could develop their art and learn together. With your help, we’ve succeeded! Since our founding in 2007, we have grown into a robust, high-quality women’s choir and have begun a children’s choir with the same intention. We are immensely proud of the choirs you made possible and chose this day to say: We love you!

Here’s what our members have to say about SCS:

“[Our director,] Jeremy chooses difficult music which stretches my professionalism and my music.” –Jo Anne

“[I love Sonoro] because no matter how bad my day is, it always ends well: with song and good people.” –Elizabeth

“It is the most intentional and caring group of women I have ever had the pleasure to work with.” — Chelsea

“I love Sonoro because it’s a safe environment of women who are supportive of each other  no matter what- whether it be in our art as musicians or in life. It’s a place where you  know everyone is rooting for you to do and be your best.” — Amy

“I love that my son [in the kid’s choir] gets cultural lessons alongside the music. I’ve been choral singing for years and now [we get to do choir] together.” –Tawnya

Just see what your investment has accomplished! Together, we’ve made a community worth loving. If you would like to be a part of our community, like us on Facebook, join our newsletter, and wave hi!

Member Profile: Vanessa Cameron

Vanessa Cameron

Editor’s Note: Vanessa joined us in January, 2015, and sings Soprano 1. Since Vanessa’s writing is so perky and fun, we will present the following in her own words. Enjoy.

The lone-arranger: What kind of musical training and experience do you have?

Vanessa Cameron: I have played music and sang for as long as I can remember. I played multiple instruments and was in an honor band throughout high school; the band traveled the country for performances. I continued with choir through the first part of college, but took a music sabbatical until I joined Sonoro.

l-a: What’s your favorite thing about Sonoro?

VC: The people I have met, the reminder of how much I always loved music, and the amazing progress I have made in my vocal technique since starting (thank you Jeremy for always pushing us to become better!)

l-a: Who are your favorite musical groups or musical icons? Why?

VC: Hmmmm…. I mostly appreciate people that write and perform their own music. To me, the beauty of music is equal parts sound and lyrical meaning. There is nothing more personal than putting your own thoughts and feelings into a song and sharing it with the world. Those people are inspiring.

l-a: If you could perform anything, anywhere, what would it be, where, and why?

VC: I want to perform in a large musical hall or theatre. Something classical, pretty, and full of emotion. The acoustics in those places are magical. It seems to make time stop, just for a second, while you are listening.

l-a: Tell us something about your family:

VC: I have a toddler, a dog, and an amazing husband.

l-a: Vocation?

VC: Nurse

l-a: Other hobbies?

VC: Yoga, rock climbing, being outside with my family (zoo, hikes, throwing rocks in the river, etc…), and working too much.

l-a: Favorites?

VC: Color: Blue

      Season: Fall

      Animal: Dog?

      Food: Spicy

l-a: Do you play another musical instrument?

VC: Flute. I started playing the piano when I was young, then once band started I played the clarinet, then went to the flute, then oboe (which I played throughout high school honor band), and then moved on to the trumpet for my normal high school band. But the flute is really pretty. Everything else was just a lot of fun, except the oboe… that is mostly just weird. But it fit me well 🙂 

Interview by the lone_arranger

Member Profile: Krystal Hames

Krystal Hames

Krystal tells us that her favorite thing about Sonoro is the “sense of community; keeps people staying with us. We all work together.”

Krystal joined Sonoro for the spring show in 2013, in which we performed musical theatre and opera pieces. Her favorite kind of music to perform is Musical Theatre, so this was good timing. Krystal comes from a musical family; when she was a child, her father would write down the notes to music he heard, and then play the songs. In her mother’s side of the family, everyone plays guitar, and her uncle makes electric guitars. Krystal’s artistic abilities include make-up; she won a costume contest last October. Krystal sings Alto 2, and has sung Soprano 2.

Krystal’s current vocation is as a leasing consultant (“some say as the devil, especially when they are behind in their rent!”). Previously, she spent seven years as a service specialist at BJ’s; they keep asking her to come back.

Krystal’s favorite performer is Johnny Cash, because “he is real. He had problems, and wrote and sang about them.”

Krystal’s hobbies include drawing, painting, and photography. She has a son, Spencer, now 15, for whom the only place she can find shoes for him is Nordstrom, “because his feet are so big!”

Other favorites:

Color: Green

Season: Summer

Animal: Used to be cats, but after adopting her dog, Mickey, a cha-weenie, he “stole her heart”.

Food: Dark Chocolate (at least 80%, no dairy)

Musical instrument: Guitar

Interview and blog entry by lone_arranger

Member Profile: Eve Taylor

Eve Taylor

Eve’s favorite things about Sonoro are the people, learning new music, and performances.

Eve began singing in the 6th grade, and continued with choral and solo work throughout high school and college. She began vocal instruction at age 15, and was fortunate to be selected to attend Tulane University Choir the following year. She will never forget the excitement of learning Carmina Burana performed with full orchestra and dancers! Her first experience singing opera was when she was selected to attend a young artist music camp in Vermont. Her passion for classical singing and opera persisted, although her singing took a 25-year break. Eve joined Sonoro in 2013, and sings Soprano 1.

Eve holds dual citizenship, French and US. Her mother and sister eventually became US citizens. Her father was a concert pianist, composer, author, and professor. He left his family when Eve was born, and later died in a car accident. Both Eve and her sister had to attend Catholic boarding schools while her mother worked three jobs to support them. These were the days of no childcare centers! Eve was finally able to live at home in the ninth grade.  Her mother was a beloved French teacher in New Orleans, and became somewhat of a celebrity for her incredibly successful and unique teaching methods. She was given the Keys to the City by the Mayor, plus a special chair with inscription and a week of parties celebrating her retirement! When Eve went out with her mother, people would shout out, ”Hey, Madame”!

Eve waitressed during college. She attended nursing school for her BSN degree, and began to work as a psychiatric RN in Denver in 1977. She has worked the gamut: locked hold and treat units, therapeutic units, adolescent units, eating disorder units, drug and alcohol, geriatric, Air Force nursing, home mental health, and finally at an outpatient clinic. Eve also has a degree in radio broadcasting. She began as a DJ in Aspen at KSPN FM when it was album-oriented rock, and became the production manager after six months, when she became responsible for making the commercials (this was her favorite task). She also worked at KEYV FM in 1988 in Las Vegas, which was jazz/new age format.

Eve has been married for 21 years to her handsome pilot husband; they met at Travis Air Force base, and he currently works for American Airlines.

Eve’s favorite musicians are Rene Fleming, Elina Garanča, Sondra Radvanovsky, Maria Callas, and Diana Damrau. Her hobbies include making jewelry, cooking, gardening, walking, and voice lessons.

Other favorites:

Color: Greens, Blues, Golds, Grey and Rose

Season: Fall

Animal: lover of all animals, especially Cats

Food:  Carbs and cheese!

Musical instrument: Voice, Piano, Drums

Member Profile: Chelsea Falk

Chelsea Falk

Chelsea tells us that her favorite thing about Sonoro is the community.”The way we invest in each other and show compassion for each other is unlike anything I have seen before!”

Chelsea is a Washington native, married for two years to the love of her life, Richard. Her father is a piper, and currently Fire Chief in Tangent, Oregon. Her mother is a retired medical imaging manager. Chelsea joined Sonoro in 2012 for the Christmas show Rejoice!, in which her favorite piece is Gaudete; she started out as an Alto 1, and moved to Alto 2 when a series of events led to that voice part having too few singers. She has also sung Soprano 2 in other choirs.

Chelsea’s first work experience as a child was as a live dummy for mass casualty training for FEMA. Her more formal employment began in Kazakhstan as a second grade teacher. Currently she sorts books at a used book store, while working toward a degree in the counseling field. She describe this as being “a vagabond in transition.” Her previous employments include four years teaching biology at a local high school, hotel reservation specialist, residence assistant, admissions ambassador, and tour guide at Whitworth College (now Whitworth University), stage manager at Tacoma Little Theatre, and “scream killer” at a haunted house.

Chelsea’s favorite musical groups are Foreigner, “because I AM a jukebox hero,” and Queen, because “I am having a good time! [Don’t Stop Me Now!].” Her favorite kind of music to perform is “music of the world, with cultural significance”. Besides English, she has sung in Filipino (Tagalog), Latin, French, Hebrew, Spanish, German, Italian, Czechoslovakian, Russian, Yiddish, Olde English, and Nigerian. She would like to sing in Arabic.

Chelsea’s hobbies include painting and community service working with refugees.

Other favorites:

Color: Sea Spray

Season: Spring

Animal: Elephant

Food: Nachos

Musical instrument: Bagpipes

Interview and blog entry by lone_arranger

Member Profile: Karen Estes

Karen Estes

When asked what her favorite thing is about Sonoro, Karen answers, “The members, the girls. The music is wonderful also, but the main thing is the community we have built.”

Karen came to the choir through our Director, Jeremy Shilley. While going through the heartache of watching a parent’s last years with cancer, her father told her she needed to sing. Karen began vocal lessons with Jeremy; to her, that was singing. Then he asked her if she would be interested in joining a choir.

Karen joined Sonoro in 2010 when it was still a mixed choir (men and women). That was the year that there were not enough men to have a balanced choir for a Christmas concert, so there was no concert. Karen stuck with Sonoro in spite of that disappointment; she began as an Alto 1, and is now singing Alto 2.

Karen’s work history is varied. Her last conventional job was with a non-profit in Tacoma. When she was told that they needed to cut her position, Karen began studying medical transcription, and finished highest in her class. She now works from home, can set her own hours, and is always available to take care of the second love of her life, Angel, a Doberman rescue. Karen’s first love is her husband, who is a firefighter, and an expert in classic Chevy truck restoration.

Karen’s favorite musical group is The Beatles. Her mother listened to the Beatles a great deal while Karen was in utero, and the iconic group remains a favorite to this day, although Karen enjoys many types of music. Her favorite music to perform is musical theatre; she feels most comfortable on stage portraying a character. A recent Sonoro concert featured Karen as Monty Python’s Lady of the Lake, and may this author tell you, it was a wonderful performance!

Karen has taught herself to read music; the note tags on her piano keyboard attest to this fact. She works very hard on her music, and although she will most likely deny it, is one of the strongest singers in the group. Her other hobbies include taking care of her chickens, her dobie Angel, running, dog training, and anything with animals.

Other favorites:

Color:                               Pink, “anything pink, and has been since before it became popular.”

Season:                            Summer

Animal:                            Dog

Food:                                Coconut

Musical instrument: Harp

Written by: lone_arranger