Village Harmony

Oregon Adult Camp, July 30-August 6, 2017 – $750

Date: July 30-August 6, 2017
Venue: St Benedicts Lodge
Leaders: Mary Cay Brass, John Mark Harrison, Carlos Jurado
Price: $750

This will be our eleventh 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.

Mary Cay Brass will share a cornucopia of songs from her life- long love of music from the Balkans. From Macedonia she will teach dance songs, love songs, wedding songs and ritual songs sung in complex meters accompanied by accordion  From Bosnia, she will draw from some new arrangements of achingly beautiful love songs called “sevdalinka”, a tradition stemming from the time of the Ottoman Empire; as well as dynamic two part flirtatious love songs for women sung in a strident style with tight, crunchy harmonies. Mary Cay will also teach several songs from the Croatian Adriatic coastal tradition called “klapa” four-part songs (some with accompanying dances!) about the sea, the beautiful landscape, good wine, and, of course, love. And finally, a song or two from Vojvodina, part of north Serbia, with a vivacious Hungarian flare.

Long-time VH leader John Harrison will bring his lively arrangements of a cappella gospel as well as original jazz-inflected compositions inspired by gospel and shape-note.

We are excited to welcome as co-leader Carlos Jurado from Colombia.  He delighted both teen campers and audiences  last summer and two summers ago with his repertoire of songs from Latin America featuring lively cross rhythms and compelling percussion. He will be leading songs from Colombia as well as other Latin American countries.  He will want some drummers and other percussionists.

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 St. Benedict’s chapel.

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

Apply Now!


Mary Cay Brass

Mary Cay Brass of Athens, Vermont taught at her first Village Harmony camp 30 years ago. She directs two very popular “Village Harmony” style community choirs in Vermont and Massachusetts and is the co-musical director with Peter Amidon of the Hallowell Hospice Choir. Mary Cay is also a dynamic contra-dance keyboardist and accordion player. She spent two and a half years in the former Yugoslavia on a Fulbright Scholarship in ethnomusicology and has published two book/CD collections of music from that region. Mary Cay has  organized and led four Village Harmony trips to the Republic of Macedonia and four to Bosnia, and co-led a Lithuania camp. Her website is



John Mark Harrison

harrisonjohnJOHN MARK HARRISON is a dynamic choral director, workshop leader and composer from Vermont. His passion is the search for and development of an American choral tradition that integrates African-American Gospel music, jazz, blues, shape-note, rock and roll, country, and Appalachian music. In his compositions and teaching he strives to combine these great American traditions to create a unique choral music that is rhythmically sung and rich with story. John has directed the Montpelier Community Gospel Choir in Montpelier, VT for the last 18 years. He has led camp sessions for Village Harmony for many years, as well working with Brendan Taaffe’s Turtle Dove Harmony. John brings to all his teaching a deep love for choral singing and its power to create community, as well as a lot of humor. He lives in Plainfield, VT with his wife Scottie.


Carlos Jurado

CarlosJuradoCarlos Javier Jurado of Pasto, Colombia, is a former Fulbright scholar who earned his masters degree in choral conducting from Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ, in 2007. After finishing his studies he returned to Colombia, where he was hired by the music department at Nariño University in Pasto. On top of his academic work—he conducts two choirs and teaches music theory at the university—Carlos is also academic advisor for the Batuta National Foundation, an institution devoted to promote the practice of music for Colombians from rural areas of the country who are victims of violence and displacement. This will be Carlos’ third year teaching at Village Harmony camp.


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.