by Nils Fredland, Harmony program director
Watch a video from last year, shot by Camilla Streeter.
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 and 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 a week of singing, dancing and eating together. There is a space for YOU: no matter whether you have years of experience as a dancer, singer or both; or you are new to these activities and looking to build skills and find confidence; or you want a week that will allow you to take risks, find support and be inspired; or you want simply to relax in a beautiful place, surrounded by music and dance. In the words, sung by former HSD staff member Kathy Bullock; “You are welcome in this place.” The experience will be richer for all participants if you grace us with your presence.
The week’s theme 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. The staff has deep roots in the song and dance traditions they are teaching, and their teaching reflects how these dynamic traditions are continuously evolving. They were 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 the Harmony of Song and Dance: engage, be inspired, feel supported; sing, dance and make music!
Picture 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 the C# Minor pavilion for vocal warm-ups and—if needed—help in finding your vocal part. By 9:00 AM nearly one hundred and fifty singers are sitting on benches, and the daily 75-minute All Camp Chorale has begun.
The repertoire may include American country harmony, South African choral music, shape note and gospel, contemporary a cappella, and new arrangements of traditional songs. 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. 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 four groups for an hour of social dancing: English country; contras and squares, open to everyone, and particularly friendly for new dancers; and an addition to the morning dance classes this year—the traditional English ritual dance known as morris dancing.
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.
“Singing on the Porch,” pub-type chorus songs, wraps up lunch, followed by a potpourri of singing, instrumental music making and dancing—care of the voice, American country harmony, shape note and gospel, harmony by ear, a cappella band, two vocal arranging classes, a choral accompaniment class for pianists, rapper sword dancing, a dance band class, old time slow jam, tune session, community chorale, vocal swing and honky-tonk, and a late-afternoon open mic dance for musicians, callers, and dancers.
After dinner there is a concert—where staff perform solo or in small group collaboration that is always amazing, sometimes amusing—followed by the evening dance—contra, square, and English, ending the day as we began it—as whole camp community, and the dance ends with a closing song, bringing the day full circle.
Camp staff (click on “week” in the horizontal gray bar to sort by week name)