Sacramento Choral Society and Orchestra

The Sacramento Choral Society and Orchestra (SCSO) is an auditioned, volunteer chorus with a professional orchestra committed to the performance, education, and appreciation of a wide range of choral orchestral music for the Greater Sacramento Region. The SCSO performs in the Community Center Theater and Memorial Auditorium and offers an annual Stained Glass performance in Fremont Presbyterian Church. Repertoire ranges from the Renaissance to the 21st century.

Show All
Share our page on: Share to Facebook Share to Twitter
Address: 4025A Bridge Street
Fair Oaks, CA 95628
County or Parish: Sacramento
Executive Director: James McCormick
Contact Email:
Primary Phone: 916-536-9065
Previously known as the Sacramento Symphony Chorus, which performed occasionally with the Sacramento Symphony, the Sacramento Choral Society was founded in 1996 as a California education nonprofit 501(c)(3). The name was changed in 1997 to the Sacramento Choral Society and Orchestra in recognition of the choral and orchestral repertoire, although the group uses both names. The group has grown from 100 singers in the Sacramento Symphony Chorus to as many as 180 singers in the SCSO, through careful recruitment and auditioning. The chorus is also becoming younger, which is a tribute to the relevance and importance of singing in choirs, in an era of decreased focus on the arts in public schools. Our website attracts singers new to the community, and we sometimes get audition requests in the first weeks after an individual's move to Sacramento.

The SCSO consists of a 150-voice chorus with a full professional symphony orchestra. Since its founding by Music Director Donald Kendrick, the SCSO has grown to become one of the largest symphonic choruses in the United States. Members of this professional caliber chorus live in seven different Northern California counties. The chorus has formed a unique arts partnership with its professional symphony orchestra. According to Chorus America in Washington, DC, of the 12,000 community choruses in the United States, the SCSO is the only one to have a Collective Bargaining Agreement with it own 55-member professional symphony orchestra.

The SCSO, its management, and its conductor have won many local and national awards. The SCSO is committed to enhancing the quality of life in the Northern California community. We aim to secure a lasting foundation as a cultural nonprofit and achieve strong financial stability. It is a delicate balancing act for our Music Director to choose musical literature that provides artistic variety and value, that is challenging and appreciated by the chorus members, and that is appealing to the ticket-purchasing public. In addition, the challenge of securing appropriate venues and dates, and the cost of the professional orchestra and venue rental are major expenses that exposes the organization to substantial risk. We are grateful to the hundreds of people in the community who support us year after year.
- Sponsorships: We offer many levels of sponsorship opportunities for the season ($70,000), individual concerts ($10,000), special events ($2,000), matching grants (variable), and ads in our program books ($90-1,600).
- Sponsors of musical education and outreach opportunities. We would like to continue funding of workshops, mentoring, and scholarships for chorus members, free concert tickets for children, veterans, and underprivileged adults, and rush tickets (highly discounted tickets one hour before the performance) for students (total of $20,000 per year).
- Commissions for new choral and orchestral repertoire. $5,000-$10,000 commissions to promising composers would be an important contribution to the world's choral music heritage. - Donations to the SCSO's endowment fund at the Sacramento Region Community Foundation. A $10,000 fund was seeded in 2010 as an award to one of our members and has now grown to $203,000. The endowment is important in the organization's succession plan and our goal is to increase it by $250,000.
- Additional staffing needs. With the SCSO's growth in recent years we are considering adding additional staff. Positions under consideration include: accountant, office manager, marketing, development, and assistant conductor. No estimate of dollars.
Our top needs:
  1. Funding: Program - Offset production expenses to maintain reasonably price tickets for families.
  2. Funding: Unrestricted - Provide complimentary tickets for Veterans, WEAVE, and other nonprofits.
  3. Funding: Other - Provide Scholarships for Singers in need.
  4. Board Members - Put your Leadership skills to work with an accountable arts nonprofit with a proven track record.
  5. Space: Office or Other - Storage Space to house SCSO's Music Library and materials.
'The SCSO is unique as a volunteer-driven organization. The President of the Board acts as the Executive Director and is the only full-time paid staff member. The Music Director, orchestra members, soloists, stage manager, stage hands, accompanist, recording engineer, graphic designer, and photographer are paid per service or on stipends. The volunteer Board of Directors is made up of both chorus members and area business professionals. We also have an Advisory Board. The 50-member volunteer Chorus Operations Team is responsible for a myriad of details at rehearsals, ticket sales, fundraisers, and set-up at the concert venues. This team, conceived by the SCSO, has been emulated by other arts organizations. The five-member volunteer professional office staff handles clerical, financial, database, orchestra personnel, and marketing efforts. The chorus members are responsible for selling approximately 50% of the tickets for each concert.' 'The SCSO has one chorus-generated fundraiser each year. A large portion of our budget in the second half of the season is from the Singathon, where chorus members sing at a local mall to fulfill pledges of financial support. In recent years, the Singathon has netted $50,000. The group also holds an annual Summer Sing at St. John's Lutheran Church in August. This is an opportunity for chorus members and the public to come together to briefly rehearse a choral work with soloists and organ, and then present an 'instant concert.' This is a low-cost event that builds excitement for the coming season and feeds the summer hunger for singing. The SCSO recently commissioned two new works. Festival Magnificat by Randol Alan Bass, for chorus, children's chorus, and orchestra, received its world premiere in December 2012. In May 2013, the group presented Kontakion by Canadian composer Rupert Lang, featuring an orchestral arrangement commissioned by the SCSO. Chorus members donated the funds to pay for these new works. The organization frequently provides holiday music in malls, at hospitals, community events, and for popular shows visiting Sacramento such as Barry Manilow, Sarah Brightman, the Boston Pops, Kenny Rogers, and Susan Boyle. The SCSO headlined 'Celebrate America' with the Sacramento River Cats in 2006, and participated in the inaugurations of two governors.' Sincerely, James McCormick, SCSO Board President