Harmony of Song & Dance at Pinewoods
July 25 - August 1, 2015
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For up-to-date info about
availability and wait lists,
see our Dance & Music Camps page.
Program Description: a 1 page version of this page
Daily Schedule: a 1 page daily timetable
Description of Classes: a 3 page description of the classes
For accepted campers: Links to a few important pages and surveys.
For Singers Who Love to Dance and for Dancers Who Love to Sing
The Country Dance and Song Society celebrates and promotes participatory dance, music, and song. There is no place where that celebration is as tangible as it is at Harmony of Song & Dance. The magic of Pinewoods Camp – nestled between two ponds and amid the pines – serves as the backdrop for the remarkable community that forms through the experience of a week of singing, dancing, and eating together. There is a space for YOU at Harmony of Song & Dance: no matter whether you have years of experience as a dancer, singer, or both; or you are new to one or more of these cherished activities, and are looking for an experience to build skills and find confidence. Here, you can take risks, find support, and be inspired; or simply relax in a beautiful place, surrounded by music and dance.
The theme of the week is community music making, based on the foundation of the riches of traditional song and dance, and the understanding that new songs and dances grow out of the old. Each staff member has deep roots in the song and dance traditions they are teaching, and their teaching reflects how these dynamic traditions are continuously evolving. Staff was all chosen for their expertise, but also for their ability to teach and nurture, as well as for their willingness to engage fully as members of the camp community.
Be part of the community at Harmony of Song & Dance: engage, be inspired, feel supported; sing, dance, and make music!
YOUR FIRST DAY AT CAMP
You wake up in your cabin, walk along a wooded path between tall slender pines to another cabin for your shower and ablutions. You join your greater family of singers and dancers at the dining hall for a hearty breakfast and a cup of coffee or tea. Then you climb over the wooded hill past a village of tiny cabins and down the other side to C# minor, the pavilion where your vocal coach is starting vocal warm-ups and – if needed – helping you find your vocal part. By 9:00 nearly one hundred and fifty singers are sitting on benches, and the daily 75-minute All Camp Chorale has begun.
During the Chorale, the singing staff take turns leading songs, some by ear, some from written music, some a little of both. The repertoire may include English, Canadian and Appalachian ballads; pub songs; sea shanties; gospel; and American shape note hymnody both old and new. By the end of the week, we will share a common repertoire; you may find yourself in impromptu choir with some of your fellow campers, singing your way through your favorite All-Camp Chorale songs…perhaps on one of the tree-lined paths, or on the dock, or outside of the Dining Hall. The Chorale sets the mood for your day; be engaged by the diversity of repertoire, be inspired by the expertise of the staff song leaders, and be supported by your fellow participants and other staff members. It is the daily, all-inclusive opportunity to raise your voice, together with your fellow campers. Your abilities and comfort as a singer will be met with the support you need to participate fully in the experience.
After a short break, the entire camp splits into groups for an hour of social dancing including English country, contras and squares, and a special, separate introductory session for those who are new to the dance scene.
Then swimming in the lake, jamming on the porch, visiting the bookstore, and socializing with friends old and new. And we haven’t even had lunch yet.
As lunch is wrapping up, there is “Singing on the Porch” with participants taking turns leading pub type chorus songs. After lunch, classes include a potpourri of singing, instrumental music making, and dancing.
After dinner there is a concert in the cozy Camphouse, where staff members perform solo, or in small group collaboration that is always amazing, sometimes amusing. The concert is followed by the evening dance – including contra, square, and English – at C#, another pavilion, just a short walk down another lovely Pinewoods path.
The evening dance allows us to end our day as we began it – as whole camp community – this time to move together on the dance floor. Dance leaders, supported by the stellar instrumental staff, take pride in their ability to create a diverse program of dances that will engage everyone, from the most novice to the most knowledgeable. Say yes, step onto the dance floor, and be swept up in the magic.
The dance ends with a closing song, bringing the day full circle.
-- Keith Murphy and Becky Tracy, Program Co-Directors
Printable Information for Accepted Campers
The Program: one page Program Description
- Daily Schedule
- Class Descriptions
- Class Questionnaire: Please give us an idea of the classes you will take. Available online or pdf form
Getting Ready: Details for being at camp.
Getting to Camp: Driving Directions
|7:45-8:15||Hot Breakfast served cafeteria style|
|8:15-8:45||Cold Breakfast Coffee/Tea available|
All-Camp Chorale: Keith Murphy & Singing Staff
The morning chorale brings the entire camp together to start the day with a 75 minute singing session where our diverse singing staff take turns leading harmony songs both by ear and from written music. The material will range from easy and fun to more challenging (and still fun!) A big sing at the end of the week will be a review of the highlights of this session. The repertoire may include American country harmony, sea songs, shape note and gospel, contemporary a cappella, and new arrangements of traditional songs from the U.S., the U.K., Canada, and beyond.
This is a period of social dancing for all. Campers can choose among an English, an American, and a class for beginning dancers that includes both contra and English.
American Dance: Mary Wesley Music by: Keith Murphy, Becky Tracy: A morning dance class for all! We'll explore a wonderful variety of American social dancing, especially contras and squares but we'll also see appearances by other dance forms such as triplets, sicilian circles, chestnuts and southern "big set" dances. All experience levels are most welcome.
Joyful English Dance: Scott Higgs, Music by: Karen Axelrod, Naomi Morse, Anna Patton: Join us each morning for a sparkling array of ECD favorites, with beautiful music inspiring us to joyful dancing. Dances will be accessible to all, with special delights and nuances for skilled dancers to savor.
Intro to American & English Dance: Peter Amidon, Music by: Emily Troll, Mary Alice Amidon: We will learn the fundamentals of English and contra dancing by doing a progression of engaging dances that will teach one concept at a time, all to great, live music. This is a great class both for beginning dancers working on their dance skills and for experienced dancers interested in garnering a feast of tips, techniques and repertoire for teaching beginners.
|11:50-12:25||Swimming, Bookstore staffed|
Singing on the Porch: Deirdre Murtha
Enjoy singing with others in a relaxed and beautiful setting. Simply sing along or lead a song that others can join in on, preferably with a chorus or refrain. A theme might develop, different singing styles will delight, harmonies will abound, and you might build your song repertoire by week's end. Try out a new song and sing old favorites, too.
Song Arranging: Cindy Kallet, Rani Arbo
You’ve found a great song in the cupboard. Now what? What other ingredients might develop its delicious flavor? In this class, we’ll experiment with song-arranging recipes: what we have in the pantry to add, what needs sifting, what we might want to shop for, and when to put ingredients back on the shelf. Musical textures, grooves, tempos, motifs, color, feel -- we’ll explore them all. If you’ve got a song you’ve wanted to experiment with, bring it along.
Traditional Singing Styles: Jeff Davis
Close attention will be paid to the singing styles of traditional singers such as Almeda Riddle, Horton Barker, and John Galusha (and more). The best singing is done by the best listeners. We'll be listening quite a bit, but listening to make our own singing better by using the techniques of the elders. There will be lots of copying the details of the old-time singing.
Community Chorale: Peter Amidon, Mary Alice Amidon
A daily feast of harmony singing of a wide range of songs taught by ear and from written music, some energetic gospel-style and some poignant and slow, some with harmonies taught and some with improvised harmonies, traditional songs and songs composed by folks steeped in the oral tradition, secular and sacred, old and new, all working towards that transcendent state which is unique to group harmony singing.
Morris Dancing: Adam Brown
Music by: Paul Eric Smith
We will be learning to dance the graceful and energetic Cotswold Morris with a look at Fieldtown and Bampton traditions. Our approach will be to look at mechanical, functional and stylistic elements of the stepping, figures and dance constructions... so all levels of experience are welcome. Whether you are a beginner wanting an introduction or an expert looking for refinement, there will be room to address your needs.
French Canadian Dance Tunes: Pascal Gemme
Learn all kinds of (square) Quebecois repertoire including Brandys (3/4), Galops, Jigs, Marches and straight reels with even or odd number of parts. Repertoire will be chosen according to participants interests from modern and traditional sources. Bowing and ornamentation will also be discussed and taught as well as how to incorporate the music in your own personal style.
Bright Lights and Bar Fights: Swing Harmony Singing: Naomi Morse, Anna Patton
Sing close harmony arrangements of swinging American songs from tin pan alley, jug bands, the barbershop, and the honky-tonk bar. We'll work on blend and swung rhythms and finding those inner harmonies of ragtime-y chord progressions. Recommended for singers who have experience holding their own harmony part.
Songs of the Georgia Sea Islands: Rani Arbo, Mary Alice Amidon
We will share songs from the lively and rhythmically powerful singing tradition from the Georgia Sea Islands. We'll listen to recordings of the songs to help us get a feel for the style, and learn a little about how it came to be. Like most of America's regional musical traditions, Georgia Sea Island music grew from a blend of cultures, mostly British, Southern American, and African. We'll learn songs by ear, in both unison and harmony, and enjoy some movement by playing the traditional African American play party games from the collection Step It Down. This music is very accessible, soulful and fun so come join us.
Sea Songs: Deirdre Murtha
Learn to sing sea chanteys and maritime songs...just in time for pub night! Chanteys are sailors' work songs. They were used as tools to get jobs done on both square-rigged ships of the late 19th and early 20th centuries and in fishermen's rowboats. We'll learn about their different uses and build a solid chantey repertoire (with the help of handouts) from the British, Irish, and Caribbean traditions. We'll also sing maritime-related songs (about loved ones on shore, the pressgangs, the fishing industry, and more.)
Harmony Singing: Cindy Kallet
Have you always wanted to BE a luscious sound? Harmony singing is less about hearing what’s right than feeling it. We’ll spend time exploring regions of discomfort as well as delight, and through theory and experimentation, gain confidence in our abilities to “land that note!”
Dance Feast: Scott Higgs
Music by: Karen Axelrod, Becky Tracy, Naomi Morse, Anna Patton
Is dancing your passion? Join us for an hour of more-challenging and varied dances. Cool contras will be our centerpiece, with assorted tasty side dishes for variety (e.g., swing, English, ceilidh). Awesome music and spirited dancing -- what could be more delectable?
Banjo: Jeff Davis
Most of the focus will be on the lesser-heard styles of, say, Frank Proffitt and Doc Boggs, traditional two and three-finger styles, thumb and index-lead. There will some clawhammer, too. Beginners welcome.
French Canadian Songs: Pascal Gemme
Come and sing your favourite French Canadian songs as well as learn a few new ones. Pascal will guide you through the most common forms of call and answer songs that we usually hear at a Quebecois veillée. Focus will be given to delivering good unison réponses to songs you've never heard before. We will also work on pronunciation, style and some harmonies that have been incorporated in the style by modern bands.
Harmony of Song & Dance in 3/4 time: Keith Murphy, Becky Tracy
Part band class, part pub sing, part dance class. We'll sing through songs in waltz time and work on quick band arrangements: "We'll start this one by playing the last 8 bars of the chorus; play the break after the third verse; double chorus at the end" If that doesn't make sense, it will at the end of the week. Might include a little waltz step tutorial, too. The songs we work on will be the basis for an all camp singing-dancing-waltz party at the end of the week. For singers and instrumentalists.
Songs from the Cecil Sharp Collection: Jeff Davis, Deirdre Murtha
Cecil Sharp started collecting folksongs in England in the first decade of the 20th century, in the U.S. ten years later, and his work makes up the largest single collection in each country. We’ll investigate this massive work and compare and contrast the songs he collected on both sides of the Atlantic, from playparty games to classic ballads.
Shape Note: Peter Amidon
Simply a shape note sing, mostly from The Sacred Harp (Sacred Harp books provided), but will also include shape note tunes from other collections. We will go over parts, but some music reading ability is helpful since everything is from written music. Although the singing will be punctuated with some discussion of the history and culture of shape note singing in the United States, this is, primarily, a daily singing party of this extraordinary body of home-grown American choral music.
Rapper: Adam Brown
Music by: Pascal Gemme
This will be an introductory-level crash course on the exciting and whirling Rapper Sword Dancing. We will address stepping and body movement aspects of Rapper, but will focus more intently on the figures in order to fly through the dizzying blur of a whole dance by the end of the week. Do not be alarmed! All ages, shapes, sizes and levels of adventure are welcome and we don’t expect any amputations to occur.
Guitar for Song Accompaniment: Cindy Kallet
We'll investigate various approaches to crafting a guitar arrangement for a song: strum variations, chord inversions, using the right hand and left hand selectively, transitions. We'll take examples of accompaniments and figure out if they work for the song, and why. Bring along a song!
Honing Your Harmony: Duos, Trios and Quartets: Rani Arbo
Do you ever wonder if singing harmony could feel even more glorious than it already does? In this class, we'll explore how our unique voices combine, and enjoy fine-tuning that alchemy in a supportive setting. We’ll work in duos, trios and quartets, and along the way experiment with tone, pitch, energy, rhythm, phrasing, and lots of deep listening. Magic will happen! If you have a simple song to share, please bring it.
|5:45-6:25||Swimming, Bookstore staffed|
|9:15||Evening Dance Party|
|11:00||Late Night Activities|