Soromundi comes together in song to create a visible expression of lesbian pride. We strive for musical excellence and embrace our commonalities and differences. Through the power of music and inclusion we effect positive change in our community.
Soromundi began with 6 women in 1989 who met in the living room of its founder, Karm Hagedorn. The following year Lisa Hellemn joined as the accompanist and became director in 1993. Lisa and Karm shared the director role from 1998 to 2017 when Karm retired. In the early years, some women participated in rehearsals but didn’t sing publicly or list their full names in programs for fear of losing their jobs. The chorus quickly emerged as a politically active group in response to local, state, and national anti-LGBTQ measures and performed at rallies, marches, and vigils.
Lisa continues to be the Music Director today. 1300-1500 women have sung in Soromundi which involves 65-110 singers each year. During the first year of COVID the chorus met by Zoom. All concerts and tours were canceled. 2021/22 was difficult but the chorus battled through the ups and downs of Covid ending its 33rd season with 65 members performing at the Hult Center for the Performing Arts and recording their fourth album.
Soromundi presents concerts in Eugene, often with instrumental accompaniment, collaborates and performs with other community choruses, and has toured throughout Oregon and Washington’s I-5 corridor working with gay & lesbian youth groups, community centers, and churches.
The chorus welcomes anyone who loves to sing and who identifies as a woman, is non-audition, and continues to evolve as sexuality and gender identities expand. Soromundi Lesbian Chorus of Eugene has become synonymous with community, inclusion, and song!
1989 Karm Hagedorn convened Soromundi’s first rehearsal in her living room
1990 Gave our first performance and brought the house down after only three songs at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Eugene service
1998 Toured to Bend, Klamath Falls, Ashland, and Roseburg
1999 Recorded a 10-year retrospective CD, Sentimental Journey
2001 Performed by invitation at the Gay and Lesbian Allied Choruses Leadership Conference Choral Spectacular in Portland
2002 Performed Adiemus: Songs of Sanctuary with orchestral accompaniment at the Hult Center
2003 Building Bridges outreach project (funded in part by the Equity Foundation) brought the Soromundi experience to women in Roseburg, Bend, and Newport
2004 Recorded our second CD, Circle Me Sisters
2007 Took a one-year singing sabbatical to restructure the board and all operations committees toward Soromundi sustainability
- 2009 Celebrated our 20th anniversary with special events all year long
2012 Increased board size. Partnered with North Eugene High School to make significant improvements to the school’s choir room.
- 2013 Northwest Tour to Portland, Tacoma, and Seattle. Engaged LGBTQQI youth organizations and performed with them in all cities.
2014 Participated in a season-long process offered by the UO School of Law to ensure a healthy organizational structure and long-term sustainability.
2015 Celebrated our 25th anniversary performing Adiemus: Songs of Sanctuary in collaboration with the UO School of Music’s Orchestra Next, and dancers from Denbaya.
2016 Hosted Portland’s GSA youth choir, Bridging Voices, and 15 local GSA youth, in an all-day singing, talking, laughing, not-a-dry-eye-in-the-house, learning-from-each-other kind of day. Sang together in our annual LCC concert in the evening.
- 2017 Performed an All Broadway Lineup, sang in the Eugene Women’s March
- 2018 Performed at a record number of events, from “Grrrlz Rock” festival to the dedication of the Oregon Women Veterans Memorial sculpture in Springfield.
- 2019 Telling Our Stories: community outreach to Looking Glass Riverfront School, performed with Eugene Gleemen and did a benefit for Sexual Assault Support Services and Friendly Kitchen in Roseburg.
- 2020 Celebrated our 30th Anniversary. Sang joint concert with Eugene Gay Men’s Chorus