All About CGOA...Who and What We Are

An Orchestra, and So Much More. 

The Columbia Gorge Orchestra Association is the non-profit sponsor of several performing ensembles in the Columbia River Gorge area of Oregon. Current ensembles include the Gorge Sinfonietta Orchestra, Voci Community Choir, Jazz Collective Big Band, Stages Musical Theatre, The Hood River String Quartet, and the Gorge Youth Chorus.

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Our Story

The Columbia Gorge Orchestra Association was founded in 2005. Beginning with the Gorge Sinfonietta (which began in 1979), CGOA has grown to include a number of ensembles, covering a wide variety of genres. Since its inception, CGOA has embarked on a program of artistic growth, increasingly high standards of performance, and exceptional, innovative programming, including world premieres and collaborations with local, regional, and nationally recognized artists, including Storm Large, the Vienna Boys Choir, Sam Baker, Tish Hinojosa, Tom Grant, David Wilcox, Stephen Seifert, Blair Tindall and Aaron Meyer, just to name a few.

CGOA takes pride in, and draws energy from, a large and supportive community of volunteers, amateur and professional musicians, audience members, supporters, donors, grantors, and members. CGOA is firmly committed to diversity, equity and inclusion as fundamental to its organization, strategic vision, outreach and programming. 

CGOA's Board of Directors consists of ensemble participants and gifted community members with a passion for the performing arts and the wealth of opportunities, outstanding experiences, and strength that CGOA helps bring to the Gorge.

CGOA always welcomes new performers, volunteers, committee members and potential Board members. If you want to get involved, we promise to find you a way!

Our mission: CGOA provides exceptional performing arts for the cultural enrichment, learning,
engagement and enjoyment of diverse audiences and participants.

Meet the Board and Staff

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Mark Steighner, Founder and Artistic Director Emeritus

CGOA Artistic Director Emeritus Mark Steighner helped found CGOA in 2005. For 38 years, Mark directed instrumental and choral groups at Hood River Valley High. Mark has directed over 60 musical theatre productions in the Gorge, and has been the conductor for the Sinfonietta, Voci Choir and Jazz Collective. In 2015, he was named Oregon's "Outstanding Music Educator of the Year." 

Mark's wife, Hillary, is a retired librarian and their son, Erik, is a professor of saxophone at Pacific Lutheran University and also teaches music theory, ear training and digital music. He has appeared as a soloist with the Sinfonietta and gives frequent recitals.