About Us

COLUMBIA CHOIRS – a 501c3 nonprofit organization – is an international award-winning, community based, non-sectarian family of choirs training singers in nine choirs, ages pre-school through adult. Since 1984, we have been bringing singers together for international award-winning music training and performance opportunities. We believe everyone can learn how to carry a tune and have a variety of opportunities to help our singers grow personally through singing. Approximately 250 singers come from 30 communities and 15 school districts to make music together.

Our Philosophy

A singing person is a happier person.

An enjoyable, encouraging environment is the best learning environment.

All of our singers from early childhood through youth to adults deserve the best leadership by professional musicians who positively motivate and inspire singers.

We believe in using membership in our choirs to inspire

We believe singers are special people and deserve the best possible music and training as they develop their talent for singing. The music we study and perform is carefully selected for its message content and quality of craftsmanship. Our staff teaches music and individual songs as landscapes of emotion. The combination of attention to the details of music (scientific) and using one’s voice to express the emotion (art) of music leads singers of all ages to broaden their awareness of themselves. We encourage and celebrate individual, personal growth at Columbia Choirs and deeply believe in the positive things our training does for our members.
—  Steve Stevens, Columbia Choirs Founder-Artistic Director

Awards and Concert Tour History

- Honored Guest Choir for the Tchaikovsky Music Festival of Winners (Russia), the culminating national festival of regional winners from throughout Russia.
- Gold Awards for choral excellence in the Montreal, Quebec and Vancouver Choral Festivals of Canada
- Award for Choral ExcellenceFestival of Music and Youth in Vienna, Austria
- Gold Medals in the International Choral Kathaumixw in British Columbia, Canada 1st place in the folksong and the children’s choir competitions
- Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod (Wales). The choir is honored with participation (four times) in this prestigious festival in Wales (1989 – placing 8th; 1993 -8th; 1995 – 4th; 2003 2nd in the World.
- “Choir of the Year” and two Gold Medals in the Bournemouth Competitions Festival in England
- Gold Medal (Women’s Choir division) ) Cantonigros International Music Festival in Barcelona, Spain
- Silver Medal (Children’s Choir division) Cantonigros International Music
- Two Gold Medals (Children’s Choir division) Golden Gate International Children’s Choir Festival in San Francisco, California, U.S.A. Mr. Stevens named most outstanding conductor of the festival..
- Selected for national recordings by Silver-Burdett Music Textbook Publishers.
- Recordings were used to be an example to children and to help school children throughout the world learn songs appearing in the textbook series.
- Children’s Choir selected to represent the United States at the “World Vision International Children’s Choir Festival” in South Korea
1985 – Inaugural tour: Wyoming and Montana 1986 – U.S. East Coast, (New York City, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and Williamsburg) 1987 – Germany & Austria (International Youth Music Festival, Vienna – “Award for Choral Excellence”) 1988 – California and British Columbia (International Choral Kathaumixw, 2nd place) 1989 – Great Britain (International Musical Eisteddfod, Llangollen, Wales – 8th place; and the Grand Prize “Choir of the Year” at the Bournemouth Competitions Festival) 1990 – Russia “Tchaikovsky Music Festival” (International Guest Choir for Festival of Winners) 1991 – Australia (International Music Festival, Sydney) 1992 – British Columbia, Canada (International Choral Kathaumixw) 1993 – Norway, Sweden, Czech Republic and Germany 1994 – British Columbia, Canada (International Choral Kathaumixw) 1995 – Great Britain (Bournemouth Competitions Festival – 1st place and 4th place at the International Musical Eisteddfod Llangollen, Wales) 1996 – British Columbia, Canada (International Choral Kathaumixw) 1997 – California (Children’s Celebration Choral Festival) 1998 – Italy, France and Spain (Internacional Festival de Music de Cantonigros, near Barcelona) – Women’s Choir won grand prize (over women’s choirs from England, Hungary, Lithuania, Russia, Slovakia, Spain and United States); our combined boys and girls concert choirs won 2nd place in the children’s choir division. 1999 – California – Golden Gate Children’s Choral Festival – in San Francisco Bay Area 2000 – Germany, Austria and Czech Republic (Munich, Leipzig, Eisenach, Salzburg, Vienna, Prague) 2001 – Orlando, Florida (Disney World: Children in Harmony Choral Festival) 2002 – Arizona (Con Brio) 2003 – New Mexico, Ireland, England and Wales (2nd Place Youth Choir Division in Llangollen Royal International Musical Eisteddfod, Llangollen, Wales) 2004 – South Korea; children’s concert choir represented the United States at the World Vision International Children’s Choir Festival in Seoul and surrounding region; – Con Brio Women’s Choir went to Salt Lake City, Utah to “Women In Song” Festival; – Vocal Ensemble to Vancouver, B.C. Gold Medal at Vancouver Heritage Festival 2005 – Con Brio Women’s Choir went to Portland Oregon for a joint concert with Belle Voci, a Portland Women’s Choir Children’s Choir to Eugene, Oregon to the “Pacific International Children’s Choir Festival” 2006 – San Francisco “Golden Gate Children’s Choir Festival/Competition” (Children’s Choir winner of two gold medals and Steve Stevens honored as most outstanding conductor at the festival; Vocal Ensemble won Silver Medal at the International Choral Kathaumixw in Powell River, British Columbia, Canada 2007 – Italy (children’s choir and vocal ensemble) Amalfi Coast and Rome; San Francisco (Con Brio Women’s Choir) 2008 – Southern California (Disneyland) Vocal Ensemble; Children’s Choir to International Choral Kathaumixw, Powell River, B.C. (winner of gold medal in children’s choir competition) 2009 – Pacific International Children’s Choir Festival (PICCFEST) in Oregon, U.S.A. 2010 – England and Wales; the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod in Wales 2011 - Victoria (Con Brio Women's Choir); partner with Philomela Women's Choir 2012 – San Francisco Bay “Golden Gate International Children and Youth Choral Festival” (Children's Choir winner of Classical Competition Gold Medal 2013 – Crescent City Children and Youth Choir Festival – New Orleans, LA. (Children’s Concert Choir and Vocal Ensemble) - Tucson,  AZ (Con Brio Women's Choir); Women in Song Festival 2015 - Portland, OR (Con Brio Women's Choir); partner with Aurora Women's Choir 2016 - Italy (Children's Choir/Youth Choir); performed mass in St. Peter's Basilica - New Jersey/New York (Con Brio Women's Choir); partner with Cantigas Women's Choir 2018 - San Francisco Bay “Golden Gate International Children and Youth Choral Festival” (Children's Choir/Youth Choir) - Brooklyn, NY (Con Brio Women's Choir); partner with BVS Women's Choir

Board of Trustees

President  Cathy Benson (email)
Secretary Heather Ortega
Treasurer  Jenna Ingersoll
Officers At Large Monika Berger
Chloe Gill
JoLyn Gillie
Kavita Kamani
Sona Mulye
Julianne Pierson
Arvind Ranassaria
Jennifer Yovin

Organizational Information

Columbia Choirs Association Bylaws can be read here.

The Columbia Choirs Association IRS Form 990 is available upon request. Please email president@columbiachoirs.org for a copy.