Karly Loveling

Photo by Paul Neevel

“When I was a kid, my mom started a youth choir at our church,” says Karly Loveling, who grew up in suburban Garland, Texas. “She had no musical training and she still can’t read music. But she knew that to keep us active in church, she needed to bring kids together in programs that are fun, uplifting and community-building.” Loveling sang with the youth choir from age 10 through high school, then went on to Stephens College, a women’s college in Columbia, Missouri, where she majored in dance. She spent 10 years in modern dance performing groups in New York City and in Austin, Texas. Loveling arrived in Eugene in 2004 along with a childhood friend from the youth choir. She stayed at the Lost Valley Educational Center near Dexter and worked in the Heart of Now, personal growth workshop program. “We always sang before we ate,” she recalls, “but I got tired of the same songs every night, so I started collecting songs from visitors. I got to be known as someone who carries songs.” Loveling has been leading songs at the Singing Alive Cascadia annual song gathering since it began in 2007, and she has since founded two local choirs. The Hummingbirds Girls Choir is limited to 12 girls ages 8-12 and practices once a week. The Singing Heart Choir is open to all ages, welcomes drop-ins and meets twice a week. Meeting times and locations can be found online on their websites. They perform at community events like the Saturday Market and the Oregon Country Fair. “The choirs were born out of the songs I’ve learned at Singing Alive,” Loveling says, “community-singing songs, taught by call and response, no books, no instruments (except as back up), just the voice.”