About the Common Woman Chorus

So much can be achieved through the joyful act of making music.

Common Woman Chorus

Our Mission

The Common Woman Chorus unites a choral community of richly diverse voices to nurture high quality musicianship and to be a beacon for justice, equality, and love through the healing power of music.


Our Community

We take our music seriously, but membership satisfaction surveys indicate that what we value most is the community that we create and maintain. The Chorus Social Care Committee organizes events that help singers get to know each other. Biannual retreats include plenty of social time. Individual singers host fun events such as pool parties and campouts. And each rehearsal includes a check-in period when members let others know about major events in their lives.

The Common Woman Chorus is a member of Sister Singers Network and GALA Choruses.

Our Singers

Some Chorus singers are formally trained musicians with extensive performance experience, but most of us are self-taught singers who share a love of musical expression. We come together as a community to bring our talent, commitment, and enthusiasm to the task of creating the art that we perform—the melodies, rhythms, and lyrics that bring hope and insight and moments of soaring clarity into a world that can all too often numb us into dischordant indifference.


Our musical community was formed by a small group of women in 1983 as a non-profit organization. Eleanor Sableski directed the Chorus from 1983 until 2001, when long-time Chorus member and composer Cindy Bizzell became artistic director, followed by Kristen Stinnett in 2013. Gail Hafley, Abby Modjeska, Lorna Collingridge, Kim Leggett and now Kate Lewis have served as accompanists. Local musicians also join the Chorus onstage for many performances.


Our Music Selection Committee identifies performance themes, then researches, identifies, and purchases thematically related music arranged for women's voices. We purchase some of this music from mainstream Common Woman Chorus - Sing for the Curedistributors, but rely heavily on progressive distributors such as Yelton-Rhodes or Earthsongs and on individual composers such as Joan Symko and Diane Benjamin who belong to the Sister Singers Network and GALA Choruses. We also arrange some music ourselves. Most arrangements are broken out into four parts—soprano one (high soprano), soprano two (low soprano), alto one (high alto), and alto two (low alto)—and many arrangements include piano accompaniment and other instrumental parts. Our concerts raise awareness about pressing social issues such as domestic violence or breast cancer or marriage equality; some focus primarily on music while others feature skits written and performed by chorus and community members; others present a humorous look at an issue such as menopause or dating; others memorialize our famous and everyday heroes; and others just feature exquisite music that our community enjoys singing. Soloists typically perform in each concert and we frequently host cabarets that include choral and individual performances.

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About Our Name

Our name is derived from a Judy Grahn poem that reads, in part, "a common woman is as common as a common loaf of bread . . . and will rise." The Chorus began in the early 1980s as a feminist chorus and has evolved into a woman-positive choral community that celebrates all life styles and gender identities. We are, now as then, committed to musical excellence and social change and perform music that showcases the integrity and inherent worth of each of us. We celebrate our heroes, reflect on the personal and political struggles of women and the disenfranchised, and honor creation, creativity, and song. Since 1983, our performances have instilled our audiences with pride, resolve, empathy, and appreciation—while, yes, filling the room with goose bumps.

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