Village Harmony

South Africa Camp 2022 (July 30 – August 15, 2022) ($1900 adult / $1600 youth)

Date: July 30 - August 15, 2022
Venue: Nylesvley Nature Reserve, Limpopo Province, South Africa
Leaders: Matlakala Bopape, Bongani Magatyana, Mollie Stone, Patty Cuyler
Price: $1900 adult / $1600 teen

We aim to make this and our other international camps affordable for high school & college student participation by offering automatic youth discounts.

This will be Village Harmony’s thirteenth study-performance camp in South Africa. You will come away from your 2-1/2-week adventure—which will take us from the rural far northeast of the country to the townships of Cape Town—with an insider’s understanding of the musical and cultural diversity of South Africa.

The camp will begin in residence at the Nylsvley Nature Reserve in Limpopo Province, learning repertoire and rehearsing to prepare a concert program.

We will primarily focus on learning South African songs and dances: traditional gospel, church chorus, folk and struggle songs. Mollie and Patty will also teach the group an eclectic sampling of American and world music choral arrangements to add diversity to our concert program.

bongani-at-cape-town-festivalSotho and Xhosa singers (from Matlakala and Bongani’s choirs respectively) will join us as full participants in the camp, enriching the learning experience and the cultural exchange all around.

We will then launch into our performance tour, joining festivals and giving concerts with other ensembles in churches, schools and community centers. Part of this time we will return each night to our private digs at Nylsvley. Our last two nights in the region—when performing in Pretoria and Soweto—we will be housed in a Johannesburg hotel.

cape_town-from-airFollowing our Johannesburg stay we will fly to Cape Town for a final six days, with concerts and collaborations with local choirs in and around the city—while taking opportunities to explore the beautiful sights and culinary offerings of the Cape.

We will suggest flight itineraries for everyone, but participants will be responsible for arranging for their own transportation to and from South Africa, and for the one-way flight between Johannesburg and Cape Town mid-tour. We recommend that you plan to arrive in South Africa at least a day early to adjust to the time change.

Space in the camp will be limited to 25. We will be looking for a balance of teens and adults as well as of men’s and women’s voices in the group.

Tuition is based on double (with a few triple rooms) occupancy. A limited number of single rooms at Nylsvley will be available for a $200 supplemental fee. (Shared occupancy-only for hotel rooms, unless a singer wishes to pay the difference in cost.)


NOTE: All participants in Village Harmony in-person camps must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to attend.

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Leaders

Matlakala Bopape

matlakalalgMATLAKALA BOPAPE, of Polokwane, South Africa, is the director of Polokwane Choral Society—a community-based group whose aim is nurturing musical talent in African society. As a director, Matlakala is committed to drawing out musical excellence from her singers, as well as exposing them to musical cultures of the world. Her limitless patience, careful attention to vocal technique, and rich repertoire of folk and contemporary South African choral music make her a formidable teacher. Matlakala’s first taught with Village Harmony in Italy in 2000 after a fortuitous initial meeting with Patty & Larry at Festival 500 in St. John, Newfoundland the previous summer

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Bongani Magatyana

BONGANI MAGATYANA is a professional singer /music director /composer /theatrical producer living in Gugulethu Township in Cape Town, South Africa.

He was born in Cape Town in a township called Old Crossroads; his father was a self-taught choir conductor in the Old Apostolic Church. Bongani’s father taught him how to read and write tonic solfa music notation at a young age, and young Bongani dreamt of becoming a church choir conductor, too. Today he conducts a 120-voice OAC choir himself, as well as a community male choir.

Bongani’s folk-inspired choral compositions—popular pieces for South Africa’s major choral competitions—are sung by choirs around South Africa and internationally. Currently Bongani teaches at the Zolani Centre in Langa Township, leads an educational musical theatre company, and continues to compose music in a variety of genres, bringing vibrant performances to communities across Cape Town.

Bongani has been teaching with Village Harmony since 2012, co-leading annual study-performance camps and workshops in South Africa, the US and the EU.  A dancer as well as singer, and he is particularly adept at communicating the elusive rhythms of South African songs.

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Mollie Stone

Mollie Stone

MOLLIE STONE is a Chicago native internationally renowned for her workshops on black South African choral music. Mollie served as a conductor at Chicago Children’s Choir from 2005-2020 and has been director of the University of Chicago’s two largest choirs since 2011. Mollie earned her master’s degree in classical choral conducting from Westminster Choir College and her conducting doctorate from Northwestern University. In 2001, she received a grant from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation to create a DVD, Vela, Vela, to help educators learn and teach black South African choral music in the oral tradition. In 2006, Mollie received another grant to study how South Africans are using choral music in the struggle against HIV, which became the topic of her highly-acclaimed doctoral thesis. Mollie has been teaching with Village Harmony since 2009.

Patty Cuyler

Patty Cuyler photoPATTY CUYLER, born in California, educated at Princeton University, long-time resident of Vermont and currently living in Chicago, IL, is an energetic, dynamic workshop leader and choral director and is internationally-renowned for her expertise in teaching Corsican, Georgian and South African music. She has been co-director of Village Harmony since 1995 and over the years spear-headed the expansion of the organization’s reach into the four corners of the globe. It was primarily Patty’s vision and labor that shaped Village Harmony’s response to the pandemic year.

Patty has co-led Village Harmony’s community world music choir Boston Harmony (which she founded) since 2005 as well as the Chicago World Music Chorus (2013) closer to home.

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Venue

Nylesvley Nature Reserve, Limpopo Province, South Africa

imagesNylsvley is one of the top birding spots in Southern Africa, with at least 365 species recorded. We will stay in the nature reserve’s lodge, with double room accommodation in a nicely-renovated dormitory building and separate building with a spacious kitchen and rehearsal space.

The reserve is a Ramsar site known for  “the conservation and wise use of all wetlands through local and national actions and international cooperation, as a contribution towards achieving sustainable development throughout the world”.

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