Village Harmony

New England Traveling Teen Camp I – June 19-July 8, 2017 – $1375

Date: June 19-July 8, 2017
Venue: Stump Sprouts Retreat Center
Leaders: Larry Gordon, Bongani Magatyana, Samira Merdzanic, Sinead O’Mahoney
Price: $1375

This camp features an international trio of leaders:  Bongani Magatyana, from Capetown South Africa and  Samira Merdzanic from Bosnia, along with Village Harmony founder Larry Gordon, and VH alumna and intern Sinead O’Mahoney.

Bongani has an especially deep knowledge of South African traditional music and culture and he is a truly great teacher with an particularly clear way of imparting the sometimes elusive rhythms of traditional South African singing and dancing.  He is also a wonderful composer of new songs in the folk style.  His infectious enthusiasm can coax a big South African sound out of even the most timid singers.

Larry will lead American shape-note songs, renaissance and contemporary compositions and likely some Corsican songs, as well as leading folk dancing every morning.  Sinead will teach the group several Georgian songs.

Samira will teach a variety of songs from Bosnia: traditional lyrical sevdalinka, village songs featuring sharp dissonances,  and sacred songs from different religious traditions. 

This will be a wonderfully international ensemble! We are especially excited that the camp will include three teen girls from Bosnia and two teens, boy and girl from South Africa, from the high school choir that Bongani works with.

The tour itinerary will include Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont.


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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.


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.




Samira Merdzanic

samiraSAMIRA MERDZANIC was a dynamic co-leader at our 2016 Bosnia camp. She subsequently came to the US to teach at a Village Harmony teen camp during the summer of 2017. Samira teaches accordion and leads many choirs in her home town of Bugojno. Since 1996 she has led an all girls’ choir, Bugojno Vocal Ensemble which focuses on preserving the traditional and sacred vocal traditions of Bosnia and neighboring countries. She also leads a children’s choir and a choir focusing on Croatian folk and spiritual traditions in Bosnia. Samira is very active in promoting concerts, choir festivals and exchanges throughout Bosnia and the Balkans.


Sinead O’Mahoney

sineadSINEAD O’MAHONEY, a native of Montpelier, VT, has been avidly singing with Village Harmony and Northern Harmony for over a decade. She has traveled abroad with Village Harmony in Corsica, France, Switzerland, Germany, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and has taken three separate trips to Caucasus Georgia, including an intensive Georgian language and culture course. She has also been active in Sacred Harp and other shape-note singing throughout New England, and she became a co-director of VH’s community choir Boston Harmony in 2018. She also co-led the Mettabee Village Harmony choir with Larry Gordon and has helped host many Village Harmony online workshops. She has been praised for her sure command of rhythm and clear and efficient teaching style. Sinead earned her bachelor’s degree in music education from the University of Vermont in 2016. She currently lives in the greater Boston area.





Stump Sprouts Retreat Center

stumpsproutsSituated in rural northwest Massachusetts, Stump Sprouts Retreat Center is a rustic multi-season resort—founded as a cross-country ski resort—and retreat facility. The center of activity is the hand-crafted three-level guest lodge with bedrooms and lounge on the top two floors and kitchen and dining area on the lower level. Our rehearsals take place in the center’s converted dairy barn. And additional bedrooms are just across the lane in the 200 year-old farmhouse. Stump Sprouts is located on 450 acres of woods and meadows, with splendid vistas and hiking trails. The center’s organic gardens that often provide vegetables for our kitchen.