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Orange County Women's Chorus

 23802 Avenida de la Carlota
 Laguna Hills, CA 92653
[P] (949) 451-8590
[F] --
[email protected]
Allison Hieger
 Printable 1 Page Summary
 Printable Profile
Organization DBA --
Former Names --
Organization received a competitive grant from the community foundation in the past five years Yes
Employer Identification Number 33-0895635 00000


Mission StatementMORE »

The Orange County Women's Chorus creates and performs outstanding choral literature, engages and enriches our audiences, and celebrates women in music.

Mission Statement

The Orange County Women's Chorus creates and performs outstanding choral literature, engages and enriches our audiences, and celebrates women in music.

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year 2019
Projected Expenses $110,400.00
Projected Revenue $110,500.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • Concert Programs
  • Conducting Internship
  • Commissioning
  • Touring

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2017 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2017 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

For more details regarding the organization's financial information, select the financial tab and review available comments.


Mission Statement

The Orange County Women's Chorus creates and performs outstanding choral literature, engages and enriches our audiences, and celebrates women in music.

Background Statement

The Orange County Women’s Chorus, now in its 21st  and led since 2000 by Eliza Rubenstein, has earned its reputation as one of the area’s leading choruses. The OCWC has performed at venues including the Orange County Performing Arts Center, the Irvine Barclay Theatre, Walt Disney Concert Hall’s REDCAT Theater, and the 2004 and 2012 Western Division conferences of the American Choral Directors’ Association. The chorus was named a 2014 Outstanding Arts Organization by Arts Orange County, won a prize at the 2015 International Musical Eisteddfod in Llangollen, Wales, and participated in the Carnegie Hall premiere of Kirke Mechem’s Songs of the Slave under the baton of Eliza Rubenstein in New York City in June 2017.

The OCWC’s wide-ranging repertoire especially emphasizes contemporary and little-known works. The chorus is committed to exploring works by women composers of the past and the present, and has commissioned new works by Kirke Mechem, Ruth Huber, Angel Lam, Dale Trumbore, Sharon Farber, Ethan Sperry, and Joan Szymko. The ensemble’s website hosts a nationally-known database of choral works by women composers at

The chorus’s members include teachers, professors, nurses, executives, students, artists, activists, mothers, and grandmothers.

Impact Statement

  • Concluded our anniversary season with a tour to the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia, singing in Portland, OR; Seattle, WA; and Sidney and Vancouver, BC.
  • Collaborated with Men in Blaque (also established in 1997) for Haydn's Creation in April 2018.
  • Collaborated with Nicholas Phan in the Laguna Beach Music Festival in February 2018.
  • Collaborated with South Coast Symphony for Holst's Planets in October 2017.
  • Premiered a new commission, "Water Women," from Joan Szymko in 2017.
  • Prizewinner in the International Musical Eisteddfod in Llangollen, Wales in July 2015.
  • Warmly welcomed by audiences at Great St. Mary's, the University Church of Cambridge University, Bristol Cathedral, and Chepstow Castle in 2015.
  • Recognized as "2014 Outstanding Arts Organization" by Arts Orange County at the 15th Annual Arts Awards in October 2014.
  • Recognized for our artistic excellence and innovative programming.
Artistic and Organizational Goals
  • Commission a new work for women's voices in 2018 - 2019.
  • Hire our first part-time paid Executive Director in 2018 - 2019.
  • Develop our board by adding community board members with specific skills.
  • Increase public awareness of our presence in the community.
  • Enhance our new website with additional recordings.

Needs Statement

Community Board members:
  • Expertise and advice in fundraising, event planning, marketing and audience development, finance.
  • Networking to assist fundraising is critical.
Capacity Building: $15,000 - $20,000 annually
  • Add a part-time executive director in 2018 - 2019 to assume chorus management responsibilities performed by a volunteer for the first twenty years..
Orchestral accompaniment, guest artists, recording: $5,000 - $20,000
  • Annual commitment for guest artists and/or orchestral accompaniment vs. current rate of every three years.
  • Release selected digital recordings.
Singer Financial Support: $2,000 - $5,000
  • Provide scholarships to qualified singers who are unable to make the annual requested donation of $250; ranges from $1,000 - $2,500 annually.
Education:  $5,000 - $10,000 annually
  • Conducting internship program offered to a promising young woman conductor annually. 
  • Add a marketing/public relations intern to increase our social media presence and raise public awareness.
  • Continuing education for Artistic Director, Assistant Director, conducting intern, board members and staff, including conference attendance and travel (e.g., Chorus America, ACDA, etc.)
  • Continuing support for Assistant Director role.

CEO Statement

While Orange County has many excellent choral programs, the Orange County Women’s Chorus is the only major women’s chorus in the area. We offer our audiences music that is performed nowhere else, and we offer women an opportunity to sing together in and for their communities.  We promote women in the arts by offering a conducting internship annually to a promising young woman conductor, and by performing and commissioning works by women composers. We consistently demonstrate our core values of excellence, community, diversity and leadership.
Allison K. Hieger
Executive Director

Board Chair Statement

The Orange County Women's Chorus concluded its 20th anniversary season with a strong financial position and an extremely capable board.  The challenge before us is to ensure that the OCWC will be an active participant in the Southern California arts community in the years to come, long after we have concluded our board service.  We are focused on board development, seeking members of the community who share our passion for choral music, and women's choral music in particular, who will make the investment in this organization for the long term.
Mary C. Langsdorf
President, Board of Directors

Other Ways to Donate/Volunteer

We welcome donations by mail! Send contributions to the Orange County Women's Chorus, 23802 Avenida de la Carlota, Laguna Hills, California, 92653-3117. We conduct silent auctions at least once annually and always happily accept in-kind donations of goods and services. Popular auction items include tickets to arts and cultural events, wine and liquor baskets, pasta/snack baskets, coffee and tea baskets, movie nights, vacation getaways, sports and concert tickets, theme park tickets, and cooking or other lessons. We offer receptions to our audiences following each performance, and welcome in-kind donations of sweets and savories to provide food to our guests. We have volunteer opportunities for every performance, including front-of-house (ushers, box office assistants) and back-of-house (stage management) positions. We also offer our audiences a reception following each performance, and welcome reception set-up, service, and clean-up assistants. We are actively seeking community members to serve on our Board of Directors. If you have skills in marketing and audience development, fundraising, grant writing, event planning, finance or legal affairs, we have a spot for you!   

Geographic Area Served

In a specific U.S. city, cities, state(s) and/or region.
Central Orange County
West Orange County
South Orange County
North Orange County

  • Orange County, California
  • Los Angeles County, San Diego County, and the Inland Empire
  • Selected tour destinations in the US and outside the US

Organization Categories

  1. Arts,Culture & Humanities - Singing & Choral Groups
  2. Arts,Culture & Humanities - Music
  3. Arts,Culture & Humanities - Performing Arts



Concert Programs

We offer three distinct concert programs annually, frequently with two performances for each program, in venues throughout Orange County, California.
Budget  $50,000.00
Category  Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Musical Performances
Population Served General/Unspecified
Program Short-Term Success  The Orange County Women's Chorus engages and enriches its audiences with each performance. Programming is innovative and varied, and frequently combines classical and contemporary works. The OCWC regularly collaborates with other performing artists. Artistic Director Eliza Rubenstein introduces pieces from the podium, and captures the imagination of the audience.
Program Long-Term Success  Throughout its 20+ year history, the Orange County Women's Chorus has consistently demonstrated its commitment to artistic excellence and innovative programming. Under the direction of Eliza Rubenstein, the OCWC has recruited outstanding singers and continuously improved its artistry. After hearing a performance of his work, composer Kirke Mechem praised the group's "alert and flawless musicianship."
Program Success Monitored By  We monitor our artistic, financial and audience development success at each board meeting. Audience feedback is an important indicator of artistic success, and we seek that feedback formally and informally. Audience development is demonstrated through the addition of new patrons at each performance.
Examples of Program Success 
We are reaching new audience members with each performance, and they are affected in sometimes profound ways. We solicit audience feedback formally through audience surveys and informally through conversations with them at the receptions following our performances. Recent comments include:
  • "OCWC makes my heart sing!"
  • "Every concert is a WOW! And no two are a WOW! in the same way!"
  • "The music tonight was an oasis of refreshment in the desert of life's stress."

Conducting Internship

We offer an annual conducting internship to a promising young woman conductor, giving her an opportunity to work with a chorus outside a classroom setting, preparing warm ups as well as at least one piece for each program.
Budget  $5,000.00
Category  Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Music Instruction
Population Served Females
Program Short-Term Success  Every conducting intern has an opportunity to prepare one or more pieces per concert program, and to conduct the group in warm-up exercises on a regular basis. She receives immediate feedback, both from the singers and from Artistic Director, Eliza Rubenstein. The singers frequently have an opportunity to tell her what three things she did best and what, as singers, we need to see from her to improve our performance. Singers also give feedback regarding the improvement seen from week to week. The interns also receive weekly feedback from Eliza, either in one-on-one sessions after the rehearsal, or in suggestions ("Why don't you try it this way and see if that achieves the result you desire?") during the rehearsal. We can clearly see improvements from week to week, and more dramatic changes when we compare conducting skills at the beginning and end of the internship.
Program Long-Term Success  The OCWC has offered a conducting internship since 2002. Conducting interns have come from UC Irvine, California State University Fullerton, and Chapman University. Past conducting interns have gone on to conduct choirs in local schools, in churches and synagogues, and in the community, as well as to continue their education in graduate school. They recognize that the internship gives them an opportunity to develop their conducting skills that isn't available elsewhere. This is particularly important to young women, because conducting continues to be a male-dominated field. In addition to conducting practice, we invite our interns to attend board meetings, to give them a greater understanding for all the work behind the scenes to run the organization and make our performances possible.
Program Success Monitored By  The Artistic Director and the board monitor the success of our internship program regularly. The Artistic Director provides the interns with weekly feedback, and the board addresses their progress in periodic board meetings.
Examples of Program Success 
Our internship program has been used as a model by other organizations. This is what one intern had to say about her experience:

“The Orange County Women's Chorus provided me with the unique opportunity to serve as their Conducting Intern during my years as a graduate student at the UC Irvine. The OCWC performs such a wonderfully diverse and challenging collection of repertoire, I found that to be the most fascinating and valuable aspect of serving as an intern. It was quite special to have the opportunity to study and sing rarely performed works for women's choruses and also have the opportunity to premiere new works that the ensemble had commissioned. The Artistic Director of the OCWC is an incredibly intelligent musician and a terrific role model. I felt inspired by her and believe that my current conducting style and rehearsal practices have been positively influenced by her. The internship offered by the OCWC is an extremely valuable educational experience.”


The OCWC commissions a new work for the treble repertoire at least every other year, frequently from a woman composer.
Budget  $5,000.00
Category  Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Music Composition
Population Served General/Unspecified
Program Short-Term Success  In our relatively short history, we have already commissioned six works for women's voices, five of these by women composers. In addition, we have premiered twelve works for women's voices. The board has made a commitment to regularly commissioning new work, as we believe it is critical to add to the existing treble repertoire.
Program Long-Term Success  Choral works for women's choirs are available, but exist in far smaller numbers than works for mixed choirs. Work for treble voices is often written for children's choirs, not for mature women's voices. We seek an expanded repertoire for women's voices, and because we celebrate women in music, we frequently commission work from women composers.
Program Success Monitored By  The Artistic Director and the board regularly monitor the progress of our commissions. We evaluate our work with the composer, considering the selection of appropriate text, the timely delivery of the score, and the preparation required by the chorus. We invite the composers to attend the dress rehearsal and the premiere of their work, and solicit feedback from both the singers and the composers regarding the ultimate success of the project. It is certainly our goal to add music to the treble repertoire that will be performed by other women's choruses, and one measure of our success is the number of inquiries we receive regarding the repertoire.
Examples of Program Success  Our most recent commission, "Water Women" by Joan Szymko, was premiered in April 2017 and received accolades from the audience and composer alike. We are currently planning our next commission.


The Orange County Women's Chorus will tour domestically and internationally approximately every three years. While the direct costs of travel may be borne by the singers, the OCWC will incur production costs for the tour and provide financial assistance for those unable to travel without it.
Budget  $15,000.00
Category  Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Musical Performances
Population Served General/Unspecified
Program Short-Term Success  The short-term success we seek will be to fully fund this tour, including providing financial assistance to singers who require it to participate.
Program Long-Term Success  We learned through our initial tour of the UK that a performance tour binds an organization in a way countless rehearsals cannot. The long-term success will be an improvement in our artistic performance and an increased commitment to our community of members.
Program Success Monitored By  Our short-term success will be measured by the financial outcome of the tour. The long-term success measurement is subjective, as our audiences hear our enhanced performance.
Examples of Program Success  --


CEO/Executive Director Ms. Allison K. Hieger
CEO Term Start Sept 2018
CEO Email [email protected]
CEO Experience Ms. Hieger, a singer with the Orange County Women’s Chorus since 2010 who has also served on the Board since 2012, was appointed Executive Director in September 2018. Ms. Hieger has a proven track record in leadership, management, website development, and touring, as well as more than ten years of experience in arts education. Her prior experience includes managing arts education programs for the Pacific Symphony, Midori & Friends, the Metropolitan Opera Guild, and the Tennessee Performing Arts Center. She holds a bachelor’s degree in music with an emphasis in voice and in human and organizational development from Vanderbilt University and a Master of Performing Arts Administration from New York University. Her passion for the arts and education also led her to complete her multiple subject teaching credential at California State University Fullerton. She currently serves as a curriculum consultant and teacher workshop presenter for the Pacific Symphony.

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
Mary Langsdorf Aug 1997 Aug 2018

Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
Ms. Sarah Hughes Assistant Director Sarah Hughes, named as the OCWC’s Assistant Director in 2013 after serving as a conducting intern for two seasons, is a graduate of the Conservatory of Music at Chapman University in Orange. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree in music education with an emphasis in voice and a Master of Arts degree in teaching. She currently teaches music to students in kindergarten through 5th grade in the Fountain Valley School District and maintains a private voice studio. When she is not involved in music she is busy playing with new recipes, crafting, or dancing the night away to her favorite swing bands.
Ms. Eliza Rubenstein Artistic Director
Eliza Rubenstein studied choral conducting and English at Oberlin College before moving to southern California in 1995 to earn her master’s degree in conducting from UC Irvine. Besides her work with the OCWC, she is the Director of Choral and Vocal Activities and chair of the music department at Orange Coast College, and the Artistic Director of the Long Beach Chorale and Chamber Orchestra. She also serves on the board of the California Choral Directors’ Association as the editor-in-chief of CCDA’s award-winning Cantate magazine.
Eliza is a former animal-shelter administrator and dog trainer, and the co-author of The Adoption Option: Choosing and Raising the Rescue Dog for You. In 2006 she presented a seminar entitled “Sit! Stay! Sing!: What Choral Conduc-tors Can Learn from Dog Trainers” at the ACDA’s Western regional confer-ence. Her family includes her partner, Julie Fischer; a yellow Labrador named Dayton; and Wilbur, a grey cat.
The Orange County Register has praised Eliza’s “expert direction,” and the Long Beach Gazette has said that “Rubenstein is the real deal….Musically and technically, she has it all.”
Eliza’s other passions include photography, vegan food, good grammar, and baseball—specifically, the St. Louis Cardinals.


Award Awarding Organization Year
Third Place, Adult Folk Choirs International Musical Eisteddfod, Llangollen, Wales 2015
Outstanding Arts Organization Arts Orange County 2014


Affiliation Year
Arts OC 2018

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- --


The Orange County Women's Chorus frequently collaborates with other performing arts organizations. We collaborated with Men in Blaque, the South Coast Symphony, and Nicholas Phan/Laguna Beach Music Festival in 2017 - 2018. Past collaborators include Bel Canto (the chamber choir of MenAlive, the Orange County Gay Men's Chorus), Carver Cossey, The Wooden Floor (formerly the St. Joseph Ballet), Men in Blaque, MenAlive, the Agape Voices of Praise, the South Coast Symphony, StoryWerx, Jodaiko, and guest male singers from the community invited to sing with us.

Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 0
Number of Part Time Staff 0
Number of Volunteers 60
Number of Contract Staff 5
Staff Retention Rate % --
Staff Professional Development Yes

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 1
Caucasian: 4
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: --
Other (if specified): 0
Gender Female: 5
Male: 0
Not Specified 0

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? Yes
Organization has Strategic Plan? Yes
Years Strategic Plan Considers 3
Management Succession Plan Yes
Organization Policies And Procedures Under Development
Business Continuity of Operations Plan No

Risk Management Provisions

Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes

Reporting and Evaluations

Management Reports to Board? Yes
CEO Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency No N/A
Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency N/A N/A

Government Licenses


CEO Comments

We are members of Chorus America, the Association of California Symphony Orchestras, Arts Orange County, VolunteerMatch, and OneOC. Eliza Rubenstein, Artistic Director, is a member of ACDA/CCDA and serves on the board of CCDA as editor of their magazine, Cantate. Mary Langsdorf, Board President, is a member of BoardSource.

Foundation Comments



Board Chair Ms. Mary Langsdorf
Board Chair Company Affiliation Community Volunteer
Board Chair Term July 1997 -
Board Co-Chair --
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation --
Board Co-Chair Term -

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Kathy Baldasari Retired Manager, Engineering, ThalesRaytheonSystems, US Voting
Marjorie Beale Director of Development, Bridging Barriers, The University of Texas at Austin Foundation Relations Voting
Janet Bratton Retired Senior Manager, Software Engineering, Raytheon Voting
Shauna Eheler Community Volunteer Voting
Allison Hieger Independent Arts Education Contractor, Pacific Symphony Voting
Mary Langsdorf Retired SVP of Finance, PacifiCare Health Systems, Inc. (now United Health Group) Voting
Heather Spickard Preservation and Operations Specialist, Apple, Inc. Voting

Constituent Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Youth Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Additional Board Members and Affiliations

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Board Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 7
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: --
Other (if specified): 0
Gender Female: 7
Male: 0
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits --
Board Meeting Attendance % 80%
Written Board Selection Criteria Yes
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy Yes
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions 100%
Board Orientation Yes

CEO Comments


Foundation Comments


Standing Committees

  • Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts


Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2017 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2017 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2017 2017 2016
Total Revenue $174,836 $244,234 $100,215
Total Expenses $174,576 $243,936 $98,824

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Revenue By Revenue Source
Fiscal Year 2017 2017 2016
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
$81,130 $89,739 $78,925
Government Contributions $0 $0 $0
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified -- -- --
Individual Contributions -- -- --
Indirect Public Support -- -- --
Earned Revenue $99,628 $148,139 $24,176
Investment Income, Net of Losses $27 $33 --
Membership Dues -- -- --
Special Events -- $164 $-2,897
Revenue In-Kind -- $6,159 --
Other -- -- --

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Expense By Type
Fiscal Year 2017 2017 2016
Program Expense $80,812 $226,342 $76,394
Administration Expense $3,839 $14,825 $22,430
Fundraising Expense -- $2,769 --
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 1.00 1.00 1.01
Program Expense/Total Expenses 46% 93% 77%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 0% 3% 0%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year 2017 2017 2016
Total Assets $91,638 $84,482 $66,545
Current Assets $79,574 $84,482 $61,159
Long-Term Liabilities $49,981 -- $11,460
Current Liabilities -- $42,527 $7,688
Total Net Assets $41,657 $41,955 $41,397

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2017 2017 2016
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities inf 1.99 7.96

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2017 2017 2016
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 55% 0% 17%
Endowment Value --
Spending Policy N/A
Percentage(If selected) --
Are you currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Purpose --
Campaign Goal --
Capital Campaign Dates -
Capital Campaign Raised-to-Date Amount --
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? No

CEO Comments

We are currently operating at a budget of approximately $110,000 (excluding tours). Enhancing this to $125,000 - $150,000 would enable us to achieve our primary objectives: 
  • hiring a part-time executive director
  • maintaining our assistant director and conducting internship programs;
  • commissioning new works;
  • hiring annual orchestral accompaniment/guest artists; and
  • touring regularly.

Foundation Comments

Summary financial data is per the Form 990s and consultation with the organization. Foundation/corporate and individual contributions are combined under Foundation and Corporation Contributions.


Summary financial data is per the Form 990s and consultation with the organization. Foundation/corporate and individual contributions are combined under Foundation and Corporation Contributions.