Brining Music and Community to Life

aka Sacramento Choral Society   |   Fair Oaks, CA   |


The Mission of the Sacramento Choral Society and Orchestra is to provide world-class choral orchestral music for the people of the Greater Sacramento Region The SCSO performs in a number of professional venues in the Sacramento area. The repertoire for these concerts represents the great choral/orchestral literature from Renaissance to large-sale Romantic and modern works, an annual Home for the Holidays concert, and Broadway programs. The chorus also performs as the Sacramento Choral Society at area churches in its Stained Glass series. This smaller scale series features music created for the great cathedrals around the world, accompanied by organ and sometimes a small chamber ensemble. The SCSO is proud of its outreach to Veterans, Students, Seniors and a host of sister nonprofits.

Notes from the nonprofit

The SCSO, like other arts organizations, has struggled with the economic downturn of the last several years, and we were forced to cut the number of choral and orchestral concerts to live within our means. During the recession, our books carried unfunded debts. However, with new corporate support, the SCSO closed the 2012-2013 fiscal year with a surplus and has paid all outstanding debts.

Over the last three seasons new support from SAFE Credit Union, Wells Fargo, and Raley's has allowed the SCSO to add one choral orchestral concert to the season. We have a goal of reinstating a fourth choral and orchestral concert.

We have raised ticket prices only once in the last 12 years. The audiences for our concerts are generally holding steady, although occasionally we do not meet budget. Individual giving through the Annual Fund Drive brings in about $60,000 annually. The chorus members have exceeded the $35,000 budget for the Singathon for each of the last three years. In fact, an incentive matching grant from Wells Fargo last season raised the Singathon total to $97,000.

The SCSO is on excellent financial footing, thanks to active Board members from the community and new corporate financial support, and we anticipate adding new programs in the coming years. The annual fund drive is also producing more donors and the size of donations is also increasing. However, the high cost of performing venues, stagehands, soloists, and professional orchestra require that we move cautiously.

Ruling year info



Dr. James P. McCormick

Music Director and Conductor

Dr. Donald Kendrick

Main address

4025A Bridge Street

Fair Oaks, CA 95628 USA

Show more contact info

Formerly known as

Sacramento Choral Society



NTEE code info

Other Art, Culture, Humanities Organizations/Services N.E.C. (A99)

Arts Education/Schools (A25)

Music (A68)

IRS filing requirement

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The Sacramento Choral Society and Orchestra works diligently all year round to help create a stronger, healthier Community through the arts. We believe that live performance of great music is a catalyst for building Community and helping people - both performers and concert attendees alike - feel that they belong to a nurturing community. With the lack of music being taught in the Schools, we hope to help fill the void by providing inspirational performances for people young and old. AND we provide great opportunities for people to become involved in the arts while bringing Music and Community to life. We are aware that the arts humanize us and they draw us closer together in a safe and wholesome way. It's our pleasure to collaborate with a professional orchestra, other choruses, professional soloists, narrators, puppets, stage hands and the City of Sacramento in a meaningful way. We're proud of our outreach to students, seniors, Veterans and a host of other nonprofits annually.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Choral and Orchestral concerts

The SCSO presents 2-5 choral and orchestral concerts per year at professional performance venues such as the Sacramento Community Center Theater, Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts at UC-Davis, or Memorial Auditorium. The repertoire ranges from the Renaissance to the great choral/orchestral literature from the Romantic and Modern eras The group performs an annual holiday concert, and occasional Broadway musical reviews.

Choral and orchestral concerts include a budget for venue rental, stagehands, stage manager, seating for 180 singers, conductor, music rentals, marketing, and a professional 55-member orchestra. We have presented more than 100 concerts since 1996.

We attract highly acclaimed soloists, from local to international caliber. Each concert is professionally recorded and mastered and, if artistically superior, is released as a CD (funding by corporate support or chorus members). We have provided employment to AFM musicians at a cost of over $2 milion since 1996.

Population(s) Served

The SCSO performs 1-2 choral concerts accompanied by organ at churches such as the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, Fremont Presbyterian Church, and Fair Oaks Presbyterian Church.

This series presents choral music composed for the world's cathedrals, celebrating the music's reverence in the setting for which it was intended. Nature's lighting through the stained glass windows enhances the beauty of the music. We have opportunities for singing in the round, with the chorus surrounding the audience. Since 2009, nine Stained Glass concerts have been presented, offering opportunities for talented local soloists.

Budget is for church rental, soloists, organist, conductor, occasional instrumental musicians, rental of scores, and marketing.

This series enhanced our marketing opportunities because of the historical role of the churches in the growth of the city.

We invested in our own ticket office for Stained Glass. 50% of our tickets are sold online.

Population(s) Served

The SCSO has an outreach program to help build arts supporters one by one. As it strives to develop relevance in musicianship among its chorus members, the SCSO promotes music education and creativity through workshops, mentoring, and scholarships.

We also regularly provide free or reduced price tickets to disadvantaged adults, children, students, groups, and veterans. Students receive a 50% discount and group sales a 10% discount. We regularly offer $10 "rush seats" for students one hour before most performances. We receive some corporate sponsorship for these free tickets. When possible the SCSO matches complimentary tickets on a regular basis. We also provide transportation for disadvantaged groups if necessary.

The pre-concert talks before our choral orchestral classical performances given by Conductor Donald Kendrick really guide and inspire people on what to listen for during the concert. Likewise the free post-concert receptions in the lobby are very popular.

Population(s) Served

The chorus members are cultural ambassadors on a national and international scale. We have toured and performed at Carnegie Hall in New York, Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, Canada, Europe (Munich, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, and Italy), and China. Several of these venues included orchestra. In 2015 the Chorus performed in Paris, Normandy, and London. In 2017 the Chorus performed in Latvia, Estonia and Finland. In 2019 the Chorus performed in Austria, Slovenia and Croatia. Each singer volunteers to fund their own tour - approximately $5,000 per person

Trips are self-funded: no SCSO funds are used and no fundraising is done. Each trip now costs each chorus member about $5000 of their own money. About 80 chorus members and 40 guests go on each tour.

These trips are not only a way to connect with people outside Sacramento or in other countries, but is a way of building community among the chorus members.

The SCSO is frequently recognized at home as well through proclamations, resolutions, and certificates from government officials (e.g., Governor Brown, City of Sacramento, California Legislature, and Senator Barbara Boxer).

Population(s) Served

The SCSO has recorded 10 professionally mastered CDs of live performances. The most recent recording was released in March 2019. These recordings are eagerly awaited by our audiences, chorus members, and professional orchestra members. Recordings are an important aspect of preserving our legacy.

Each CD project costs about $15,000. The majority of that cost is an honorarium, overhead and pension for each orchestra member. Chorus members and corporate sponsors have provided most of the funds to make each CD, so the impact on the SCSO's budget is minimal. The CDs are sold at $10 each and a small profit is made on CDs.

In 2011 the SCSO was featured in a 30-minute KVIE Public Television documentary that has been shown nationally on PBS stations more than 80 times. The documentary illustrates the slogan of the SCSO, Bringing Music and Community to Life, and was financed in conjunction with SCSO. KVIE also uploaded the video to You-Tube for exposure to audiences worldwide.

Population(s) Served

Where we work


Music Community Engagement Award 2012

Russian American Media

Arts Innovation Fund Award, 2nd place 2010

Irvine Arts Fund of the Sacramento Region Community Foundation

Make It Happen Award 2010

Enlow & Melena A. Ose Endowment for the Arts

Arts Executive of the Year Award 2003

Arts & Business Council of Sacramento

Best of the Best Outstanding Nonprofit of the Year 2002

Nonprofit Resource Center

Affiliations & memberships

AFM (American Federation of Musicians) 1996

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

The ultimate goal is to preserve the operations and financial stability of the Sacramento Choral Society & Orchestra for years to come, with the realization that the founding Music Director and President plan to retire within 4- 5 years.

The Board has identified a 3-year strategic plan with the following objectives:

1. Establish an endowment program
2. Develop a succession plan
3. Expand the Board of Directors and the Advisory Board
4. Re-engage the Advisory Board members
5. Hire a part-time Director of Development/Media
6. Initiate a re-branding project
7. Increase corporate sponsorships
8 Increase program advertising revenue

The long-term goal of preserving the organization after the retirement of the founders will require a multi-pronged approach for financial stability as well as fininding the right personnel to continue the mission.

Individual Board members have signed on to accomplish strategies to meet the objectives. For example, in the succession plan, it will be necessary to identify candidates who are able to take on the dual role of preparing a chorus and conducting an orchestra; this is an unusual combination of skills, and will perhaps involve engaging an understudy who can learn from the current Music Director. The endowment program will involved a separate fundraising and marketing campaign. In many of the objectives, simply having a board member in charge will energize the effort.

The founding Music Director and President have laid the groundwork in many different areas. They have been successful in attracting new corporate sponsors, attracting quality Board members from the community, and in identifying the requirements for the succession plan. The Board and Advisory Board members help in making connections for sponsorships and new Board members. The organization is financially stable, thanks to new corporate funding, as well as the many professional volunteers on the chorus operations team and the office staff. The chorus members often step to financially sponsor special projects, and they are often a source of contacts as well. There is a need for more assistance in running the office, in development, and in marketing, which may require paid staff.

The strategic plan was adopted in February 2013 and progress has been mostly "in process." However, two new corporate sponsors have been obtained for the 2014-2015 seasonm, and a season sponsor has also signed on for the 2015-2016 season.



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Board of directors
as of 08/03/2020
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Ms Rani Pettis

Wells Fargo Advisors

Term: 2020 - 2021

Board co-chair

Jun Reina

Capital Public Radio (NPR) - Sacramento

Term: 2020 - 2021

James McCormick

Sacramento Choral Society & Orchestra

Donald Kendrick

California State University Sacramento

Maria Stefanou

Crestwood Behavioral Health, Inc.

Douglas Wagemann

Cochrane & Wagemann

Tery Baldwin

Retired University of California Davis Medical Center

James Deeringer

Downey Brand Attorneys LLP

Winnie Comstock

Comstock's Business Magazine

Lynn Upchurch

Lynn Upchurch & Associates

Doni Blumenstock

Connections Consulting

Patrick Bell

EDGE Consulting & Coaching

Ronald Brown

Cook Brown, LLP

Margot Shinnamon Bach

Governmental Services