Village Harmony

Oregon Cascades Residential Adult Camp – July 28 – August 4, 2019 – $750

Date: July 28 - August 4, 2019
Venue: St Benedicts Lodge
Leaders: Larry Gordon, Brendan Taaffe, Natalie Nowytski
Price: $750

A week of singing bliss on the McKenzie River.

This will be our fourteenth annual singing week at St. Benedict’s Lodge in the Cascades. Bounded on one side by the wild, scenic McKenzie River and on the other by national forest, the 70-acre complex is an inspiring setting for our singing retreats.

The week, famous among VH camps for its kitchen staffed with singing chef-overseers, will include a Georgian supra (feast) at mid-week, and will conclude with a concert in the chapel at St. Benedict’s Lodge, where we will be in residence during the camp.

Repertoire taught during this session will be as eclectic as its three music leaders. Larry Gordon, founder and co-director of Village Harmony, will teach a gamut of song types, from South African dance-songs to early music to traditional American shape-note tunes, as well as lead daily dance contra-, English country and Balkan dance sessions.

Singer-composer Brendan Taaffe will lead a mix of traditional American harmony, his original pieces, and makwayera songs from Zimbabwe. Inspired by the cadences of early American hymnody, Brendan’s compositions are known for their lush harmonies and intricate counterpoint and are popular with choirs throughout the U.S. and the U.K.

Natalie Nowytski will teach from her vast repertoire of traditional songs from Ukraine and the Balkans, coaching singers in a range of vocal styles and languages.

In residence at St. Benedict’s Lodge, McKenzie Bridge, Oregon.

Apply Now!


Larry Gordon

Village Harmony founder and director LARRY GORDON has been making community music in Vermont since the early 1970s. He founded Village Harmony in 1989, and his patient and relaxed, yet demanding, teaching style and his collaborative approach have shaped the welcoming atmosphere of the Village Harmony community since the beginning. Though his first love was medieval and renaissance music, he is a vital figure in New England shape-note singing, and he is the music editor of the popular Northern Harmony shape-note songbook. Larry is an inspired organizer with an unerring eye for good repertoire and a unique knack of pulling together interesting combinations of singers and letting them shine.  Larry has led Onion River Chorus in Montpelier since the late 1970s, and is well known across the US and internationally for leading stunning periodic ad hoc incarnations of Northern Harmony, a semi-professional tour group made up largely of veteran Village Harmony singers.  Recently he has been devoting increasing time to teaching Balkan folk dancing.


Brendan Taaffe

Brendan-TaaffejpgBRENDAN TAAFFE, based in Brattleboro, has been leading singing workshops around the world since 2004. An active composer, he specializes in American harmony styles and Zimbabwean makwayera style singing. In 2011, Brendan spent a month working with choirs in Zimbabwe to document songs from that tradition. He is a founding member of the Bright Wings Chorus and directs Turtle Dove, an organization that runs singing camps for adults. Brendan is also a multi-instrumentalist on guitar, fiddle, banjo, and mbira and holds an M.A. in performance from the Irish World Music Centre at the University of Limerick.




Natalie Nowytski

Natalie Nowytski is an award-winning composer and performer based in Minneapolis. A first-generation Ukrainian-American and Minnesota native, she trained classically with her grandmother, the legendary vocal coach Oksana Bryn. Her Ukrainian heritage and love for traditional folk music brought Natalie to the internationally acclaimed Ethnic Dance Theatre in 1996 where she began specializing in the vocal styling of traditional Central and Eastern European music.

She has traveled to Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France and Ukraine to study culture and folk music from professional musicians and villagers alike. Often dubbed a “chameleon voice,” Natalie sings in approximately 50 languages and in nearly 20 distinct vocal styles.

In addition to her diverse roster of private voice students, Natalie frequently conducts multi-level vocal workshops—including for New England-based Village Harmony—and has served as consultant for various choirs, including The Rose Ensemble, Mila Vocal Ensemble and KITKA. Through her performance and research, she has become respected as a master artist of Eastern European vocal styling.


St Benedicts Lodge

st-benedictsLocated on the McKenzie River at the edge of the Willamette National Forest, St Benedicts Lodge is an inspiring setting for singing, with close encounters with Oregon’s famous old-growth fir trees. Rooms are primarily singles, with a few larger rooms, as well as a handicapped-accessible cottage. Easy access to wonderful hiking, hot springs, waterfalls. A big lawn in front, perfect for volleyball, frisbee, and dancing.