How to join SCS

We’re looking for new singers! Sonoro Choral Society prides itself on being a place for amateur singers to learn and grow in a welcoming, non-competitive environment. We perform professional-quality concerts all over the South Sound area.

To join the Sonoro Women’s Choir (SWC):

  1. Make an appointment with our Director Jeremy Shilley at
  2. Prepare a short solo (something easy like a verse from a hymn, or show tune)
  3. Bring two copies of sheet music to your audition (one for you, one for our pianist)
  4. Bring $20 for a musicians fee

Nice to know:

  • You’ll audition alone with the director and pianist. It can be scary, but they’re nice and it’s casual.
  • You might be asked to sight read an exercise or two
  • There’s some paperwork to fill out, but we’ll walk you through it. 🙂
  • We rehearse Tuesdays, 7p-9p at Steilacoom Community Church. Fees are $30/mo. which cover sheet music, venue fees, and musician payment.

To join the Sonoro Scandinavian Children’s Choir (SSCC):

  • No auditions! Any kid of any heritage between the ages of 5 and 15 with an interest in Scandinavian folk culture is welcome. Simply email Director Jeremy Shilley at to find out when rehearsals start!
  • We rehearse Tuesdays, 6-6:45p at Steilacoom Community Church.
  • Tuition is $30/mo. Ask about our sibling and family rates.
  • Kids will learn stage presence, vocal technique, music theory, Nordic languages, and will perform alone and with the women’s choir.

Interested in Sonoro Men’s Choir?

We’re forming a list of men who would be interested in singing with Sonoro Choral Society. Please contact Jeremy Shilley at to get on the list. We can’t form a choir until we know we have enough interest, so let us know! In the mean time, keep in touch by liking our Facebook page.

Post Season Wrap Up and pics!

We had a great time performing for you! We were overwhelmingly pleased and grateful to have broken our ticket sales records for both performances. Thanks to you, we can buy music for next season. Hooray!

If you missed us, here’s some behind the scenes pictures. Mouse over for captions.

Thanks for a great season! See our homepage or Facebook page to find out what we’re up to next. See you soon.

Even When He is Silent

This year (2015), we’re playing with themes of lightness and darkness. Though we have solemn, heavy works like “Stabat Mater”, and rapturous works like “Ride On King Jesus” arranged by Moses Hogan, we’ve named our concert “I Believe in the Sun” after a contemplative piece called “Even When He is Silent”. Written in 2011 by Norwegian composer, Kim Andre Arnesen, the song is an a cappella credo to hope in the face of despair. The lyrics are taken from a poem found after World War II scratched onto a concentration camp wall.

The lyrics are a heart-wrenching. Imagine a prisoner lonely, starving, and under daily threat of painful death–still hoping. Still believing in love when faced with tremendous hate. Still believing in God though, day after day, his bitter longing was not answered.

Mr. Arnesen’s musical setting perfectly captures the emotive content of this powerful poem. It first starts out on a stark unison pitch and then opens to a mournful but simple minor chord. The piece very quickly progresses into more complex chord clusters matching the complex emotional content. Midway through the piece the pace and urgency increases rapidly as the choir sings over and over “I believe in love” almost desperately clinging to that thought in the chaos. Finally, we arrive at a sense of piece in the final section: “I believe in God even when He is silent” with long contemplative pauses and ending on a delicate triple piano.

No matter how large the darkness, it cannot overcome even the tiniest spark of hope. That’s definitely worth singing about.

Come hear Sonoro Choral Society perform this and other works June 10, 11, and 12, 2016. See their Facebook page for more details.

Happy Birthday, Brahms!

May 7 is Johannes Brahms birthday. You may remember this famous composer from his Lullaby.

We here at Sonoro Choral Society like Brahms because he was one of the first composers to actively support amateur women’s choral societies, just like us! In the 1850s, women’s choirs were new and lacked music to sing. Brahms and other friends founded an amateur women’s choir, wrote music for what grew to be 40 women, and directed their performances. They grew to be fairly popular, singing folk song arrangements and Brahms’s original compositions. Many of Brahm’s works for women are still used today. In fact, Sonoro Women’s Choir sang his 4 part Opus 17  last winter in our 2015 “Wisdom and Whimsy” concert. Check it out below!

Opus 17, “Vier Gesänge” is unusual for Brahms because the 4 part work recount stories of lament. However, they are written in Brahms trademark Romantic style. He pulls from a variety of texts and poems about unrequited love and uses the french horns and harp to set the texts in a pastoral context.

Brahms is also famous for using counterpoint in his works. Counterpoint is when two voice parts rely on each other for harmony, but have independent rhythms and contours. It makes for an acoustically interesting and vocally challenging, intricate piece.   See if you can find some counterpoint in these examples below.

Happy Birthday, Brahms!

SWC sing Brahms, Op.17 part 1 of 4

PS: Want more Brahms? Check out this further reading.