Current Class Descriptions
Class Descriptions - Harmony of Song & Dance 2018
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 Chorus songs, Gospel, Early Music, World Music, newly written Folk Songs, and more.
Music by: Ethan Hazzard-Watkins, Julie Vallimont, Arthur Davis: Spend the week dancing your way through the broad and rich repertoire of traditional American social dancing. Contras, Squares, and more! Nils will make sure that everyone - from the newest to the most nimble - feels welcome on the dance floor, and engaged by the selection of dances.
Music by: Anna Patton, Karen Axelrod, Eden MacAdam-Somer: Something savory, something sweet, something brisk and bracing—come dig in to a smorgasbord of English country dance as we enjoy a moving "second breakfast." We'll have old favorites and new, simple fare and chewier morsels, engaging for feet and ears and minds.
Music by: Kristen Planeaux, Naomi Morse: Are you new to Contra or English dancing? Have you danced Contra and English before, but wish you could develop your skills a bit more in? Are you a seasoned dancer who loves creating joy for new dancers? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then this is the class for you! We will explore the similarities and differences between Contra and English dancing, cover basic forms and figures, and help everyone find new joy and confidence on the dance floor!
Come sing some rousing four-part Sacred Harp Music while you digest!
Enjoy the harmonic variety that is world polyphony through songs about love, loss and celebration from a collection of countries in 2, 3 & 4 part harmony. We'll be singing songs from America, England, Bulgaria, Caucasus Republic of Georgia, South African and Columbia. All singing levels are welcome and all songs and parts will be taught by ear and no sight-reading skills are required.
Eden will share her passion for the tradition of Yiddish song, from its folk roots in Eastern Europe to musical theater in New York. We'll work with field recordings and lyric sheets, learning a bit about the history as we go. Students are welcome to bring a notebook and a recording device.
There is a resurgence of community singing around the USA today from pub sings in Brattleboro to the long running Shanty Sings at Hyde Street Pier in San Francisco. In this class we’ll explore all kinds of songs that shine in these settings as well as ‘stealth song leading’ techniques to subtly enhance group singing for everyone in the room.
In this workshop we will explore the harmony sounds of some of the best brother duets ever recorded. The list is extensive, but think Stanleys, Louvins, and Everlys, and you’ll get the idea. We’ll figure out some of the secrets that made them sound so good, and we’ll make our own harmonies with our own voices, the brothers leading the way. “I don’t sing harmony,” you say? Remember that singing the melody is half of the harmony, so yes, you do! We need you too!
Let’s make up stuff! We won’t have the leisure to wait for inspirational lighting to strike, so we’ll just have to adapt our lighting rods to receive creative electricity at all hours of the day. We’ll write snippets, phrases, whole verses, maybe even entire songs, and share them with the rest of the group. We’ll spend part of the class doing short whole-group exercises to get the juices flowing, and part of the time working on our own or in duos or trios.
Madrigals are songs for several voices, often centered around themes of love, nature, or death. In this class, we'll hone in on rhythmic details, dynamics, phrasing, ensemble work, and building reading skills, all while reveling in the beautiful sounds of these works.
The rich a deep well of American and British Isles ballads is an important and powerful way that stories, lessons and life are sung about and shared. In this class we will teach songs as well as having space for folks to share ballads they already know. We’ll talk about the dynamic of how and when to share these songs and tricks for memorization. Join us and learn knee to knee as we share our stories and songs with each other.
The Southern tradition of singing Gospel goes back a long way, and we will explore mostly older songs with interesting harmonies and beautiful messages that can speak to even the sourest cynics. B Y O G(God) to this celebratory circle where we will let the music take us where it will. The love and practice of singing binds us together and grounds us. And gospel songs can lift us up to the heavens for a few minutes at a time if we let them.
We will look at the past 400 years of songs from working class movements for peoples' rights in the US and UK, and sing them for today. From the Diggers movement in 17th century England, to striking Kentucky coal miners in the 1930s, from The Peoples Charter and disenfranchisement in the UK 150 years ago, to women working in the textile mills marching against greedy bosses at the turn of the 20th century, these songs still hold a powerful message.
Using a variety of games, exercises and songs, we'll explore, through trial and error (errors most especially welcome!) the magical and sometimes mysterious world of harmony. You'll gain confidence in your ability to identify scales, chords and intervals, and use these tools to help you find harmonies, both conventional and surprising. Come play with notes with us!
Delve deep into some early European harmonies. This class will focus on two or three pieces from 15th-16th centuries with perhaps a quicker look at a few others. We will explore the luscious harmonies and exciting rhythms this music has to offer, and seek out the most resonant spot in camp to sing. Ability to read music is a plus.
Have you ever loved a song, but wanted to be more creative with an accompaniment? Do you notice that some songs like to have fancy arrangements, others simple? This workshop will be geared towards any level guitarist (though it will be helpful to be able to change chords fairly easily). Feel free to bring along a song and we'll try out some accompaniment possibilities that hopefully will expand your ideas of what a left hand and a right hand can do together. Open tunings will be explored, too.
Honky Tonk Band is the perfect place to explore your lonesome side. Kari and Andrew will guide you through the dim lights and thick smoke with nothing but three chords and the truth. We will work on classic country music of the 1950s (and beyond) by artists like Hank Williams Sr., George Jones, Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline. Harmony singing will certainly be a focus and we will aim to arrange a couple songs for Roadhouse on Thursday night. Attention musicians: all instruments and experience levels are very welcome! There will be opportunities to work on improvising, band skills and music theory; basic charts and lyric sheets will be provided.
Ethan offers mini-lessons for fiddlers or other melody players throughout the week. This is a chance for personalized exploration of whatever musical questions are challenging or exciting you at the moment. Work on a particular technique, explore stylistic variation, expand your repertoire, play tunes together, or something else. A few lesson slots may be available at other times of day as well.
This class is for dance musicians who want to dig into the rhythmic aspects of ensemble playing in a playful, exploratory way. There are so many different ways to play rhythmically: even sweeping legatos can be rhythmic. How can we create more rhythmic variation? How can we listen better to each other's rhythm? How can a melody player find a niche in the rhythm section and vice versa? How to approach dragging or speeding tendencies? How to deliver the most satisfying kinds of oomph for different kinds of choreography? Rhythm-based improvisation!? We will play a mix of contra tunes, ECD tunes, and waltzes, depending on the group's interests.
Music by: Melissa Running, Naomi Morse: Come and learn Swedish turning dances with a focus on movement quality, partner connection, and musicality. Based on my experiences at a year long course in folk dance in sweden, these skills will be accessible to the beginner as well as provide new challenges to the long-time dancer. Discover the mesmerizing world of these dances such as Schottis, Slangpolska, Hambo, and Polska, all to the beautiful music of the nyckelharpa. Bring shoes that you can pivot in, and an open mind to new approaches to dance
Enter into the exciting and entrancing world of French folk dances and be careful not to get addicted! A diverse set of dances that include couples turning dances, set dances, circle dances and more! You will learn dances like mazurka, hanter dro, bourée, rondo, schottishe, and more. To come and get a head start on what may be the next folk dance craze in the US bring dance shoes, and excitement, no french required!
Music by: Arthur Davis: Swords, sticks, bells and more! Come explore English Ritual Dance traditions including sword dance from Yorkshire, Morris from the Cotswold Hills and more. We’ll begin with an introduction to various traditions then, depending on the interests of participants, focus on one or more styles in greater depth.
Crankies are like "movies on paper". This magical storytelling form dates back to the 1800s. A scroll of paper or other material is put in a special display box and a crank is turned to make the paper move. Often they have songs and tunes that go with them. We'll make crankies together. Depending on what the group wants, we'll make one big crankie together, several small ones, and/or tiny individual crankies.
Music by: Andrew VanNorstrand:
Class Descriptions - American Dance & Music Week at Pinewoods 2018
Music by: Pete Sutherland, Tristan Henderson, Oliver Scanlon: This class will look at techniques to improve and embellish your style of contra dancing. We will focus on making smoother transitions between figures, and other moments of connection. With emphasis on safety and timeliness, we will explore giving/sharing weight and learn some fun flourishes.
Music by: Pete Sutherland, Tristan Henderson, Oliver Scanlon: What makes a contra dance challenging? Many figures? New transitions between figures? Spatial orientation? Multiple shadows? End effects? Let's try them all!
Music by: Julie Metcalf, Max Newman: Enjoy dancing in groups of eight as we reflect on stylistic and choreographic differences between New England, Western, and Southern Squares.
Music by: Julie Metcalf, Kate Barnes: Explore the range of English country dancing, from the silly to the sublime. We'll learn all the basic figures and formations along the way, and discover what has kept English dancers coming back for almost 400 years.
Music by: Max Newman, Julie Metcalf: The ultimate beauty, balance and connection of Waltz lies in a couples' ability to harness suspension and to release it. We will teach some basic steps and patterns including cross-step figures-- but we will mostly explore the quality of connection possible between the music and your partner…like leaves floating down a mountain stream we swirl and interact with the current of the room and navigate the floor with grace. All levels welcome!
Music by: Kate Barnes, Dave Langford, Lise Brown: Western Two-step with two quick steps followed by two slow steps fits like a tight fitting cowboy boot with East Coast swing (same rhythm). Swing dancers steer toward the center of the floor while two steppers follow the wave flowing around the outside. In this class, we'll focus on both two-step and East Coast swing in a relaxed and comfortable way. We'll practice this to many musical styles and tempos. All levels welcome!
Music by: Kate Barnes, Dave Langford, Lise Brown: A dance born in Buenos Aires during the earliest days of the last century, Argentine tango is popular all over the world. Ever mysterious, tango is considered by many partner dancers to be the ultimate form of creative dance. We will work on both the livelier Milonga style, born of multi-cultures merging in the outskirts of the city, as well as the sweeping, often melancholic tangos of the golden era (1940-50s). And, we will make time for Chacarera -- Argentine folk dancing fun! The class will compare tango to other dance forms and will explore a comfortable, joyful way to communicate through this beautiful and intimate dance. Please bring shoes you can pivot with. All levels are welcome!
Music by: Tristan Henderson, Oliver Scanlon: You will learn a vocabulary of steps and sounds you can assemble in your own unique way. Become your own instrument! (Note: You'll need comfortable shoes with smooth, hard, non-marking soles and heels, preferably leather but plastic can work.)
Instrument & Singing Classes
Shape note singing, the pop music of the late 18th century and ever an all-out war on 'polite singing' enjoys more widespread popularity than ever. Pete Sutherland, an avid singer from the Sacred Harp and other shape note-singing traditions for his entire adult life, will lead a daily all-comers session. All experience levels and gender preferences (in voice parts and life). Music will be provided, but feel free to bring your own Sacred Harp, Shenandoah Harmony, Northern Harmony, copies of originals etc.
Do you love singing? Does the part where the musicians break into three-part harmony fill you with joy? Starting with two part harmony, we will draw on a range of music from sacred rounds, drinking songs, traditional ballads, blues and doo wop to expand our repertoire of vocal harmony. All is taught by ear, but for fans of chicken scratches, we will provide paper music.
Tired of that old G, C, D, Em boom-chick kind of thing? Learn some cool new chords and rhythms to play swing tunes like *Take Me Back to Tulsa, Minor Swing, C Jam Blues* and *All of Me*. Starting with two and three chord songs, this course will teach you how to get "that swing feel"; cover a handful of moveable chord forms you can use to play in any key; and touch on a few music theory topics like chord substitution and transposition - but not so much as to hurt your playing! Amaze your friends! Confound your detractors! Designed for people who don't think they can play jazz. You're ready for the workshop if can play familiar songs in constant tempo and are comfortable with barre chords. Handouts provided, recording devices encouraged. Prerequisites: Familiarity with barre chords and ability to keep a steady tempo.
We will spend the week learning tunes by ear by breaking them down into small manageable pieces, and then gradually stringing those pieces together until we have the entire tune. All tunes will be revisited every day with the goal of having a solid repertoire of new tunes memorized by the end of the week! Related topics such as chord theory are possible as an aid to more effective learning. All instruments are welcome.
This is an instrument class focusing on how to play as a large ensemble, and how to create sounds which accompany and support the lead melody players. This is mainly for melody, orchestral (chromatic) instruments, although everyone is welcome to come experience that big band contra sound!
Every day we will get into the groove along one tradition of fiddle music, gently defined. Old-time, New England, Quebecois, Irish. All instruments and beverages welcome.
This workshop is geared towards intermediate callers who already know the basics and want to get into deeper exploration. We will take an in-depth look at teaching, working with musicians, understanding choreography, and building a strong, supportive peer group.
Want a lesson in drawing? Or do you just want to relax and draw the beautiful landscape of Pinewoods? All are welcome. Drawing boards, pencils, erasers and paper are provided.
The last period of the day will be the most creative: All workshop ideas welcome, from crafts to couple dancing to jamming, singing and juggling! Bring your ideas to camp, or contact Lisa ahead of time.
Class Descriptions - English Week at Pinewoods 2018
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Music by: Karen Axelrod, Audrey Knuth, Rachel Bell: This same class is presented twice to keep the numbers manageable; campers can attend one of the 2 sections. In the late 17th/early 18th century the English country dance reached the peak of its artistic development in terms of the refinement of the music, the ingenuity of the figure and the demands made upon the dancer. These classes will explore dances from the Henry Playford and later editions of The Dancing Master and the annual sets of Twenty Four New Country Dances for the Year published by John Walsh - and will include dances from Elephants Stairs.
Music by: Chip Prince, Jon Berger: How do we move to English country dance music? How do we hold our bodies, gesture, connect, lilt, glide, or soar? What makes a dancer graceful, expressive, and musical? In keeping with this year's theme, we'll look at techniques for understanding and improving the way we move to English country dance music, in all its moods, rhythms, and styles. The program, while accessible to newer dancers, will offer distinct and satisfying challenges to any lifelong learner.
Are you ready to take on the challenge of further developing your craft? Then Jacqueline's piano class, intended for English dance pianists actively playing in their communities, is for you! We will explore producing rhythmic, harmonic, and melodic support on piano or keyboard, in order to more easily command dancers to hear the phrasing, launch into the choreography, feel the lilting, forward flow of the style, lift their hearts and spirits, and have some fun!
Music by: Jacqueline Schwab, Corey Walters: Callers and dancers together form a network of mutual support for dance leaders of all levels of experience, including anyone wishing to step up to the mic for the first time. This is not a forum for trying out challenging or new-to-you-and-us repertoire: we will work towards the best possible presentation of dances we know well, aiming for a satisfying experience for all -- success for the caller, comfort for the musicians, joy for the dancers, and pride among assembled leaders at each other's accomplishments and growth. Callers will receive structured feedback in a supportive environment.
Music by: Jon Berger: This traditional longsword dance features a number of classic figures, as well as 6 different sword locks. It's a great opportunity for folks new to longsword to learn the basics, while more experienced dancers can experiment with modifications of the figures and staging.
Open to musicians interested in playing for English country dancing who have reasonable facility on one or more instruments (callers, beginning musicians, and others are welcome as auditors). The result of several years of development and presentation in England and the US, the workshop offers accommodation for both those who read music and those who play by ear; essential techniques for adding the "lift" necessary to inspire the dancers; basic understanding of the wide variety and history of English country dance music; useful techniques for playing in tune; and techniques for adding variety. Bring your instruments, a music stand, and a pencil, and be prepared for a week of great music-making.
Kalia will moderate this daily assembly where you can display your talents, or lack thereof, to the assembled multitudes. Dance demonstrations, mutant abilities, songs and stories, stupid human tricks, poetry and jokes, all are welcome. Sign up early, since the slots fill up fast!
Music by: Jacqueline Schwab, Jon Berger, Anna Patton: This same class is presented twice to keep the numbers manageable; campers can attend one of the 2 sections. In the late 17th/early 18th century the English country dance reached the peak of its artistic development in terms of the refinement of the music, the ingenuity of the figure and the demands made upon the dancer. These classes will explore dances from the Henry Playford and later editions of The Dancing Master and the annual sets of Twenty Four New Country Dances for the Year published by John Walsh - and will include dances from Elephants Stairs.
Music by: Chip Prince, Corey Walters: George Balanchine, among others including Imogen Holst, noted that "dance is music made visible." The music of England's social/folk dance tradition is unusual in its embrace of a wide variety of musical forms and styles -- "duple" meter jigs, reels, hornpipes and marches; "triple" meter minuets, waltzes of several varieties, and slip jigs; and several eccentric forms. Set geometry and structure is equally varied. Sources and styles include Renaissance dance music, baroque theater music, classical-era sonatas, traditional songs, modern waltzes, and much more. We'll explore how the best choreographers have incorporated these disparate elements to make each visible and to enthrall the dancers.
Playing for English country dance can be one of the most gratifying things - to watch the dancers move with our musical expression of each tune. During the course of the week, we'll dive deep in the creative and musical world that English tunes have to offer. In both group classes and individual lessons, we'll focus on what we can personally bring to the music by breaking down each tune and exploring the harmonic and solo possibilities. We'll also focus on our listening skills on being a supportive musician to both the dancers and to the other musicians around us. Feel free to contact me about specific tunes you would like us to concentrate on.
The song comes first. We'll explore the message of the song, unaccompanied, before we decide how to enhance it with an instrument. I should be able to help you directly with banjo, guitar or English concertina-but any instrument is welcome. You might be a beginner or an experienced performer, but you should know your song (no reading texts) and know basic chords or scales. We'll help each other explore most effective ways to accompany.
Music by: Karen Axelrod, Rob Rohr, Anna Patton: Come cut loose with a selection of contemporary and classic contras.
Music by: Corey Walters: Great Western Morris dance cotswold morris in the styles loosely derived from the villages of Leafield and Bampton. In this class Crispin (previously foreman of the team) will teach a mixture of the team's original dances in these styles, and variations on traditional dances. As well as teaching the dance steps, we'll work on performance style and audience engagement. All welcome, no previous morris experience required.
A multi-media presentation of the rudimentary elements of music theory as they apply to an appreciation of English country dance and music. The course assumes no knowledge of music whatsoever, but moves quickly to cover the basics of scales; keys (major, minor, modal); chords and simple harmony; music notation (you'll be able to read music by week's end); tempo, meter, and rhythm; and how it all combines to create the music we all love to dance to! The next time you hear something like "This next dance is a slip jig in 9/8 triple time, in D dorian mode, dotted quarter at about 106, two As and a B," you'll know exactly what it means!
Mostly singing-and a little history. We'll look at the great wealth of British songs that came to the New World: ballads, music hall, occupational songs. But we'll also pay attention to American songs that went to the UK, including sea shanties, minstrel songs and Tin Pan Alley hits. We'll also sing some English standards-like "Oh Good Ale"-that aren't found in the New World. Most have fine choruses, all have interesting stories.
Music by: Chip Prince, Audrey Knuth: As the 18th century progressed and the demands of the ballroom changed, the English country dance underwent a marked transformation, becoming simpler and more standardised in form. The leading music publishers of the day, John Johnson, the Thompson family and the Rutherfords were joined by a host of smaller publishers all producing their annual sets and collected editions of dances into the early 19th century. They provide plenty of suitable material for the last class of the day.
Music by: Karen Axelrod, Corey Walters: Dances you know you want to know: the gems of our repertoire. Learn or refresh, be ready to enjoy each evening's "for those who know" selections. Beginners will learn the dance patterns, and more experienced dancers can fine tune for the subtleties which make these dances so beloved. Other classic and favorite dances will fill out the session as time permits.
This class is for dance musicians who want to work on the rhythmic aspects of their playing in a playful, exploratory way. There are so many different ways to play rhythmically: even sweeping legatos can be rhythmic. How can we create more rhythmic variation? How can a melody player find a niche in the rhythm section and vice versa? How to approach dragging or speeding tendencies? How to deliver the most satisfying kinds of oomph for different kinds of choreography? Rhythm-based improvisation!? Come explore these eternal questions and more.
For generations, the Camphouse Porch has been the scene of excellent community sings at Pinewoods. Come add to the aura. Bring a chorus song to sing or just lend your voice to great traditional songs of the past, from the UK and North America. New songs welcome-as long as there is a chorus.
Class Descriptions - Early Music Week at Pinewoods 2018
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Please see our Self-Rating Guide for definitions of levels