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Song Circles

Remember those nights at camp when you were a kid?

Song Circles are kind of like gathering around the campfire and sharing music, but (usually) without the fire. It’s the best home-made music in Portland!  Song circles are for rank beginners or seasoned musicians.   It's a safe, encouraging place to try out or share old treasured songs or new finds. 

Every person in the circle has an opportunity to lead, suggest or request at least one song.  If you are new to song circles, give it a try!  Read more about how it works below, under “Song Circle Etiquette.”

The Second Saturday Song Circle is hosted by a different household each month, from about 7:30 PM to midnight. Potluck dinners (if any) usually begin at 6:00 PM. (But each host sets the times; see below.)   Sometimes the host will suggest a theme for the evening.  Come to sing or to listen, but do come!

Some of the homes where song circles are held are not child-safe, or they may not be suitable for people with mobility issues or service animals. Please check with the host first if you are not sure.

If you would like to host a circle or want more information, write to Holly Hoffnung. Your house should be big enough for 20-25 people.

Upcoming Song Circles

December 14

6:00 potluck
7:00 sing

Jeanene Pratt
Waverly Community Church
3300 SE Woodward Street
Portland, OR 97202

(503) 238-1337

Songs of the holiday

Song Circle Etiquette

  • Whether you come to sing or just listen, relax and have fun. There is no need to be stressed, or shy.
  • When your turn around the circle comes, you may perform a song, lead a song, request someone else sing a song, or pass.
  • Please introduce yourself, even if you think everyone knows you.
  • Song circles usually go around two times, so you will have two opportunities to lead a song. But, sometimes more - so prepare as many songs as you like, just in case.
  • Singalongs, and songs with choruses, are encouraged, especially on the first round.
  • There is never a need to rush through a song but - please  keep the circle moving along. 
  • If the presenter requests that instruments accompany his or her song, join in. Be mindful of drowning out voices with loud instruments.
  • People often choose songs out of the "blue book" (Rise Up Singing) or the "red book" (Rise Again) for singalongs. If you use it, let others know what page your selection is on.
  • Song circle participants are tolerant about song choices: If you sing music made by folks, then we consider it folk music!

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