The women of Sound Circle, an a cappella women's vocal ensemble, have come together to experience the deep joy of making music together and to share that joy with our audiences.

Sound Circle Profile:

Sound Circle: A women’s a cappella ensemble

Our name
Sound Circle derives its name from a simple improvisation form which involves all the singers in creating a unique musical fabric. The intention for Sound Circle–the ensemble–is that all of our music-making involve the same mutual awareness and connection, the same spontaneity and freshness, and the same honoring of individual voices within the context of the whole group as occurs in the sound circle improvisation.

Our mission
The women of Sound Circle, an a cappella women’s vocal ensemble, have come together to experience the deep joy of making music and to share that joy with our audiences. The music we sing connects us to the voices, sounds, and rhythms of our own lives. We seek out music that speaks of women’s experiences and music by women composers.

Our history
A member of the Gay and Lesbian Association of Choruses (GALA Choruses) and the Sister Singers Network, Sound Circle has performed with the South Coast Chorale in Long Beach, CA; the Portland Gay Men’s Chorus; Vox Femina Los Angeles, Captain Smartypants, and the four other Colorado GALA choruses: Denver Women’s Chorus, Denver Gay Men’s Chorus, Harmony: A Colorado Chorale, and The Rainbow Chorus. Highlights have included a performance in Carnegie Hall in 1999 as guests of the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus, and participation in the 1996, 2000, and 2004 GALA Festivals in Tampa, San Jose, and Montreal.

Locally, Sound Circle has performed with choreographer Mary Wohl Haan and HAAN DANCES, Helander Dance Theater, the Colorado Music Festival, musicians Bill Douglas (piano), David Wheeler (shakuhachi), Fatu Judy Henderson (drummer), Chris Potter (flute), Anne Brennand (cello), and others. We have performed in benefits for and/or in conjunction with Boulder County Safehouse, CU’s International Women’s Week, Hospice of Boulder County, Boulder County Arts Alliance, PFLAG Boulder, Boulder Valley Women’s Health Center, Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center, Pauline Price Community Conference, KGNU, V-Day/MESA, and CU’s Body Acceptance Month.

Sound Circle’s first recording, titled Sound Circle, was released in the spring of 1998. Our second recording, Stick Around, was released in May, 2002. A live recording of Sound Circle: On Bodies… will be released in 2005.

Committed to the creation of new music that is “relevant to our lives, musically innovative, and of the highest quality,” Sound Circle has commissioned new works by Carol Matthews, Craig Carnahan, Diane Benjamin, Fatu Judy Henderson, Laura Karpman, Eric Lane Barnes, Bill Douglas, Stephen Smith, and Janika Vandervelde. Texts for these commissions include poetry by Alice Walker, Dorothy Allison, and Gerry Gomez Pearlberg. The ensemble has also developed percussive movement pieces through an improvisational process, performed original music by members of the ensemble, and created new arrangements of many works.

Sound Circle created and developed a performance piece in 2002-2003 titled Sound Circle: On Bodies…, which combined ensemble performances with individual monologues and movement, on the complex topic of bodies and body image. The show’s continued evolution is the subject of a documentary film now in development (sa hort promotional video is at onbodies.panleft.org; see o-c-e-a-n.com/documentary.html for more information). Sound Circle’s recordings have been used in many settings, including dance classes and a variety of personal and spiritual growth workshops. Our performances are included in the soundtrack of a video documentary by Boulder filmmakers Beret Strong and John Tweedy, on the inclusion of children with disabilities in educational settings. Choreographers Mary Wohl Haan and Danelle Helander have set dances to several of Sound Circle’s recorded performances.

Our 10th anniversary season, 2004-2005, was celebrated by a major concert with guest artists HAAN DANCES in January, 2005, and by a performance of Jennifer Berezan’s Praises for the World in April, 2005. This unique musical meditation featured Sound Circle members in extensive instrumental and vocal improvisation and incorporated the audience in the extended chant.

Sound Circle’s accomplishments have been recognized by grants from the Boulder Arts Commission, the Boulder County Arts Alliance’s Neodata and Addison programs, the Community Foundation Serving Boulder County, the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District, the Open Door Fund, and GALA Choruses.