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Song Circles

PFS hosts Second Saturday song circles where all are invited. They hosted by a different household each month, and are a fun space where folks like you can come, meet people, play, sing, or just listen. They usually start with a pot luck dinner, and then we go around the circle twice, with everyone getting to lead a song. Some people stay for a third rotation, and a fourth, and...

If you come to a song circle, it is just about certain that you won't be either the best or worst singer or instrumentalist. And who cares? - it's not about being best, it's about relaxing and sharing music.Every person in the circle has an opportunity to lead, suggest or request at least one song.  If you are new to song circles, give it a try!  Read more about how it works below, under “Song Circle Etiquette.”

We usually sing from about 7:30 PM to midnight. Potluck dinners (if any) usually begin at 6:00 PM. (But each host sets the times; see below.)   Sometimes the host will suggest a theme for the evening.  Come to sing or to listen, but do come!

Some of the homes where song circles are held are not child-safe, or they may not be suitable for people with mobility issues or service animals. Please check with the host first if you are not sure.

If you would like to host a circle or want more information, write to Holly Hoffnung. Your house should be big enough for 20-25 people.

Upcoming PFS Song Circles


March 14

6:30 Potluck

7:00 - 9:30 Sing

McMennemin's Kennedy School
Community Room
5736 NE 33rd Ave.
Portland OR 97211

Front Desk:
(503) 249-3983

Other questions:

Bring food for potluck, but not  alcoholic beverages.  They  are available for purchase down the hall. 

We will pass the hat for donations, but no one will be turned away.

April 11
To Be Announced...Stay tuned! (Well, you banjos can just wait).

Song Circle Etiquette

  • Whether you come to sing or just listen, relax and have fun. There is no need to be stressed, or shy.
  • When your turn around the circle comes, you may perform a song, lead a song, request someone else sing a song, or pass.
  • Please introduce yourself, even if you think everyone knows you.
  • Song circles usually go around two times, so you will have two opportunities to lead a song. But, sometimes more - so prepare as many songs as you like, just in case.
  • Singalongs, and songs with choruses, are encouraged, especially on the first round.
  • There is never a need to rush through a song but - please  keep the circle moving along. 
  • If the presenter requests that instruments accompany his or her song, join in. Be mindful of drowning out voices with loud instruments.
  • People often choose songs out of the "blue book" (Rise Up Singing) or the "red book" (Rise Again) for singalongs. If you use it, let others know what page your selection is on.
  • Song circle participants are tolerant about song choices: If you sing music made by folks, then we consider it folk music!

Other Song Circles in the Area


If the Portland FolkMusic song circles are not enough for you, have no fear.  People are singing and jamming everywhere!  Here are some other song circles in the area, each with a slightly different flavor.  Step into some home-made harmony!

  • Artichoke Music

    4th Saturday of the month

    2:00 – 4:00 pm. 

    Led by John Richter.


    2007 SE Powell Blvd, Portland OR

    (503) 232-8845


  • Filk Song Circles

    1st Saturday

    2:00 – 9:00 pm  Potluck and sing,  may be shorter.


    Songs of science and fantasy.  Anything you bring  is  Filk.

    Knights of Pythias Lodge at 5400 SE 84th Ct , Portland OR  97266


  • Friendly House Community Center

    3rd Friday Folk/ Eclectic Song Circle

    7:00 – 9:00 pm

    Led by Ted Kaye.


    Uses Rise Up Singing in the odd months

    Uses Rise Again in the even months

    1737 NW 26th, Portland OR


  • Friendly House Community Center

    2nd Friday Harmony Song Circle

    7:00 – 9:00 pm

    Led by Ted Kaye.


    Songs of the ‘60s and ‘70s. 

    Uses their own book.

    1737 NW 26th, Portland OR

  • Sacred Harp Singers

    Full calendar and venues on website; here are some of the regular events:

    West Side Singing  3rd Sundays

    Singing School 4th Sundays

    Kennedy School Singing  Last Thursdays, 4th Sundays

    People’s Co-op Christian Harmony Singing 1st Fridays

    People’s Co-op Singing 2nd Sundays

    Cooper Book Singing UCC

    Singing in the shape-note tradition

    Songbook is the Sacred Harp, provided.

    Info at


  • Vancouver Folk Singers

    2nd Saturday

1 pm potluck, 1:45 – 4 pm sing

Led by Ted Hook.

Donations accepted, no one turned away

Uses songs out of their notebook

St. Lukes’s Episcopal Church

426 E Fourth Plain Blvd, Vancouver WA

         Info at

Know of another song circle that should be on this list?  Contact
Holly Hoffnung.

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