When Eugene’s Soromundi Lesbian Chorus began in 1989, nine people met in founder Karm Hagedorn’s living room to sing.
Now, almost three decades later, 85 women are involved. They will be performing their spring concert this weekend at the Hult Center.
Soromundi Lesbian Chorus, a nonprofit women’s choir, began with the hopes of forming a “women-positive community” says Lisa Hellemn, the director of 20 years.
“It wasn’t a political thing,” she says. “Anyone who walks through the door has a place.”
Kate Barry, president of the chorus board, has been performing with Soromundi for the last 24 years.
“It was quite a big thing at that period to be out as a lesbian in that chorus,” Barry says. The chorus strives to be an open and inclusive environment.
Each year, the Soromundi Chorus participates in a variety of concerts for the community, Barry says. This year, along with their winter and spring concerts, they sang at Holiday Market, Lane Community College and the Women Veterans Memorial dedication in Springfield.
“Our priority is outreach and singing for a wide variety of people,” Barry says.
This year’s spring concert theme is communication; the concert is titled “We Can’t Keep Quiet.”
Barry says all the songs on the program include references to communication, from letters to phone calls. The show will incorporate a variety of genres such as folk, jazz, pop and rap.
The first half of the concert will feature songs revolving around old school communication like letters, toasts, dances and protests. The second half of the concert centers on digital communication and the different social influences technology has.
“People get a lot of joy out of our performances,” Barry says.
Hellemn believes everyone involved should get a chance to know what it feels like perform at a nice place.
“I think it’s really amazing that they can go to the Hult Center and put on a big show at the end of the year,” she says.