Village Harmony

Winter Weekend Festival – February 27 – 28, 2021

Date: February 27-28, 2021
Venue: N/A
Leaders: Suzannah Park, Sarina Partridge, Reza Saffari, Olaolu Lawal, Suzannah Park, Sarina Partridge, Reza Saffari, Olaolu Lawal, Ketevan Mindorashvili, Frederic Vesperini, Elitsa Stoyneva Krastev, Northern Harmony, Brendan Taaffe, Lala Simpson, Lonnie Norwood, Larry Gordon, Emma Björling, Zedashe Ensemble, Bongani Magatyana, Samira Merdzanic, Carl Linich, Nicholas Williams, Adam Simon & Sophie Michaux, Sandra Santos Canizares, Frank Watkins
Price: $150 with self-selected discounts

Join Village Harmony teachers zooming in from around the world for a virtual smorgasbord of song—or a smorgasbord of virtual song—as we replace our customary in-person February weekend in Vermont with a very special online musical extravaganza.

Our two-day feast of online singing sessions will take place Saturday & Sunday, February 27-28 with twenty-four 50-minute classes spread out over two days.

Sessions will be led by expert musician-teachers from across the US, Quebec, Norway, Sweden, Corsica, Bosnia, Georgia, Iran, South Africa and New Zealand.

REGISTER HERE

Here is one of the songs we will learn, a children’s song cover from Iranian folk-pop singer Reza Saffari, who will be joining us from his home province of Gilan, Iran on Saturday.

Reza will also be MC-ing pre-recorded concert by his band on Sunday.

Pre-registrants will be sent a pdf booklet of songs (mostly from the Northern Harmony book) ahead of time so that they can take part in our shape-note sing, led by Larry Gordon and members of the current quarantine incarnation of Northern Harmony, at 5pm EST on Saturday.

Otherwise, song teaching during the weekend will be done primarily by ear, with word sheets displayed onscreen. And when the festival is over we will send attendees a download link to access recordings and lyrics for nearly all songs taught during the weekend.

Otherwise the sessions are intended to be ephemeral and in the moment. A joyous celebration of how music can build bridges between us—in a time when connections between nations and peoples are sorely missing.

The zoom link we will send out in advance will be the same for every session. You may of course attend as many or as few classes as you wish. Zoom fatigue being a reality, we expect most people to pick and choose among the sessions and not be on the whole time. But even just a few great new songs in your back pocket will make it a great weekend.

Registered singers will be able to contribute a voice part video online for a SongAlong instant virtual choir video ahead of time that we will broadcast during the FINALE.

Registration for the weekend is $150, but we also offer self-selected reduced tuition levels ($100/$75/$40) for those who find the fee steep.

REGISTER HERE

Here is the weekend’s schedule. Note that times are in USA Eastern Standard Time (EST). There will be a 10-minute break between each class. Faculty bios are below.

SATURDAY, February 27

11 am – Welcome/Breakout Sessions: Suzannah Park, clogging / Sarina Partridge, original songs

12 pm – Reza Saffari (Iran)

1 pm – Olaolu Lawal (Nigeria)

2 pm – Ketevan Mindorashvili (Georgia)

3 pm – Frederic Vesperini (Corsica)

4 pm – Elitsa Krastev (Bulgarian)

5 pm – Northern Harmony Shape-Note Sing (a pdf booklet will be sent to all registrants ahead of time)

6 pm – Brendan Taaffe (Original songs)

7 pm – Lala Simpson (Malagasy)

8 pm – Lonnie Norwood (Gospel)

9 pm – Suzannah Park (Lullabies)

10 pm – Kafana/coffee house: presentations by Village Harmony faculty

SUNDAY, February 28

11 am – Welcome/ Breakout Sessions: Larry Gordon & Wanda Philibert, Balkan dancing / Beth Damon, art project

12 pm – Emma Björling (Sweden)

1 pm – Zedashe CONCERT (Georgia)

1:30 pm – Reza Saffari CONCERT (Iran)

2 pm – Bongani Magatyana (South Africa)

3 pm – Samira Merdzanic (Bosnia)

4 pm – Carl Linich (Georgian)

5 pm – Nicholas Williams (Quebec)

6 pm – Sophie Michaux / Adam Simon (Original/Croatian)

7 pm – Sandra Santos Canizares (Cuba)

8 pm – Frank Watkins (Gospel)

9 pmFINALE: Singalong of all songs & a showing of our instant virtual choir from the SongAlong project

Apply Now!

Leaders

Suzannah Park

SuzannahVH-2013SUZANNAH PARK comes from a family of three generations of ballad singers, storytellers, and dancers and lives in the North Carolina mountains of her birth. She began teaching at Village Harmony in 2000 after participating as a camper since the age of twelve. Her joyous and intuitive teaching style, born of a lifetime of familiarity with traditional music, makes singers old and young feel at home in the songs that she shares and with each other. Whether she is teaching American ballads, South African songs and dances or Appalachian clogging, laughter and good times abound. When not on tour with Village Harmony Suzannah leads the Wild Asheville Community Chorus and kicks up her heels with the Green Grass Cloggers. www.suzannahpark.com

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Sarina Partridge

Sarina Partridge is a musician, song-leader and educator in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She feels most alive when learning, creating and sharing songs, and enjoys singing, teaching, and touring with a wide variety of music projects – Eastern European and Yiddish song, old-time music, community song-leading… and everything in between.  Sarina has worked as a classroom teacher for the past ten years, weaving music into the everyday work and joy of building and sustaining community – it works for grown ups, too! Sarina leads a community choir in her neighborhood in Minneapolis, and leads workshops  with choirs around the country. She has a passion for connecting people with their own creativity and with community, and uses singing to help folks develop a sense of wonder for this wild world around us. All of us have a right and a need to make music, stretch ourselves, grow, and play. Let’s sing!
www.sarinapartridge.com
sarinapartridge.bandcamp.com

 

Reza Saffari

Reza Saffari (born May 23, 1991), is an Iranian pop singer, songwriter, actor, painter and illustrator from Gilan Province in northwestern Iran. Reza started learning solfège and music theory since he was 13. Four years later, at the age of 17, he started his career as a pop singer. He also is in love with, and likes to perform, traditional folk music from his home region Gilan, sung in the Gilaki dialect. A good way to get an idea of what Reza is up to is by going to his YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/RezaSaffariChannel

Olaolu Lawal

Olaolu Lawal is an arranger and composer of African choral music, currently living in Norway where he is a doctoral student in ethnomusicology in Trondheim. Ola’s works such as Gunugun and Kabiyesi have been performed at several choral events across Nigeria, Africa and in the World Choir Games. Ola is also a record producer and a recording artist and is currently recording an album of a collection of Yoruba folk songs that are reproduced via an amalgamation of live and digitally sampled percussion instruments.

Suzannah Park

SuzannahVH-2013SUZANNAH PARK comes from a family of three generations of ballad singers, storytellers, and dancers and lives in the North Carolina mountains of her birth. She began teaching at Village Harmony in 2000 after participating as a camper since the age of twelve. Her joyous and intuitive teaching style, born of a lifetime of familiarity with traditional music, makes singers old and young feel at home in the songs that she shares and with each other. Whether she is teaching American ballads, South African songs and dances or Appalachian clogging, laughter and good times abound. When not on tour with Village Harmony Suzannah leads the Wild Asheville Community Chorus and kicks up her heels with the Green Grass Cloggers. www.suzannahpark.com

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Sarina Partridge

Sarina Partridge is a musician, song-leader and educator in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She feels most alive when learning, creating and sharing songs, and enjoys singing, teaching, and touring with a wide variety of music projects – Eastern European and Yiddish song, old-time music, community song-leading… and everything in between.  Sarina has worked as a classroom teacher for the past ten years, weaving music into the everyday work and joy of building and sustaining community – it works for grown ups, too! Sarina leads a community choir in her neighborhood in Minneapolis, and leads workshops  with choirs around the country. She has a passion for connecting people with their own creativity and with community, and uses singing to help folks develop a sense of wonder for this wild world around us. All of us have a right and a need to make music, stretch ourselves, grow, and play. Let’s sing!
www.sarinapartridge.com
sarinapartridge.bandcamp.com

 

Reza Saffari

Reza Saffari (born May 23, 1991), is an Iranian pop singer, songwriter, actor, painter and illustrator from Gilan Province in northwestern Iran. Reza started learning solfège and music theory since he was 13. Four years later, at the age of 17, he started his career as a pop singer. He also is in love with, and likes to perform, traditional folk music from his home region Gilan, sung in the Gilaki dialect. A good way to get an idea of what Reza is up to is by going to his YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/RezaSaffariChannel

Olaolu Lawal

Olaolu Lawal is an arranger and composer of African choral music, currently living in Norway where he is a doctoral student in ethnomusicology in Trondheim. Ola’s works such as Gunugun and Kabiyesi have been performed at several choral events across Nigeria, Africa and in the World Choir Games. Ola is also a record producer and a recording artist and is currently recording an album of a collection of Yoruba folk songs that are reproduced via an amalgamation of live and digitally sampled percussion instruments.

Ketevan Mindorashvili

mindorashviliketevanlgKetevan Mindorashvili was born in Sighnaghi in the eastern province of Kakheti in (the Republic of) Georgia. She was raised in a traditional singing family. Founder and director of the Zedashe Ensemble, Keto showed a gift for singing since childhood and continued to study music technique extensively in university. She devoted herself to preserving traditions on the brink of disappearance, and has become known as a singer and a teacher of Georgian folk music, particularly the fluid ornamentation of eastern folk songs. She has a deep knowledge of ancient church chant, and is a master of the panduri, the three-stringed lute from the eastern Georgian region of Kakheti.

Keto has searched valleys and mountains for ancient polyphony, collecting folk songs and chants, as well as writing her own music within the tradition. Today she hosts students from all over the world in her native Sighnaghi and travels internationally leading tours of Zedashe and teaching workshops. She has appeared on all Zedashe recordings to date, and has participated in numerous tours to the United States, United Kingdom, and throughout Europe. Keto has been teaching Village Harmony groups in Georgia (and in Corsica in 2014) since 2003.

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Frederic Vesperini

Frederic VesperiniSpartimu EnsembleFREDERIC VESPERINI of Ajaccio, Corsica is a long-time member (and currently director) of Ensemble Spartimu. Specializing in the traditional folk and sacred polyphony of Corsica, the ensemble is regularly invited to in prestigious international festivals, most recently including trips to Sardinia, to Poland and to Tbilisi, Georgia. Over the past decade the ensemble has have added brilliant performances of music from the Republic of Georgia to their repertoire. Spartimu has recorded two CDs. Village Harmony has met to share music with Fred and Spartimu in Ajaccio on nearly every trip we have made to Corsica since 2004.

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Elitsa Stoyneva Krastev

Elitsa Stoyneva Krastev is a seven-time gold medalist in traditional folk singing from Bulgaria. Elitsa graduated from a professional music school and she has performed at numerous concerts and competitions in Bulgaria and around the world. After coming to the United States, Elitsa continued to sing and has been a special guest singers in many music halls, including Berklee Performance Center in Boston, the Grand Prospect Hall in Brooklyn and Sanders Theater at Harvard University.

Northern Harmony

Northern Harmony 2008Northern Harmony’s brilliant young singers always share in the teaching at workshops.   Many of them have participated in Village Harmony and Northern Harmony tours since their young teens, and many have studied traditional vocal styles first hand in Georgia, South Africa, Corsica and the Balkans.

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.

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Lala Simpson

Lala Simpson comes from the musically diverse Island of Madagascar. She permanently moved to New Zealand in 2002.  Lala grew up immersed in the music and dance of her homeland and that of France, the Islands of the Indian Ocean and Africa. Lala speaks 3 languages fluently and applies her skills for learning a new language to learn songs from other cultures. She runs regular open community singing workshop in Wellington and around New Zealand teaching her original songs and songs from other countries.

Lonnie Norwood

Born and raised on the South Side of Chicago, LONNIE NORWOOD, JR, grew up with an unquenchable passion for music and community service. A conductor with Chicago Childrens’ Choir, Lonnie is active as a choral clinician, helping educators and ensembles understand the historical significance, vocal technique, and the social justice aspects of gospel music and African American spirituals. Recent work has included workshops with ensembles at the University of Chicago, teaching & singing with Village Harmony in South Africa, musical exchanges with members of the Bahamas National Youth Choir and Bahamian musicians, BFli Young Artists Camp at ETA Theater Chicago, and with SongRoots (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada) teaching gospel and spirituals. He has also begun authoring articles along these lines of interests.

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.

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Emma Björling

Emma Björling is one of the leading singers of Swedish folk songs performing these days. She is a member of the bands Lyy and Skye Consort with Emma Björling, as well as vocal groups Kongero and Baravox. She has also toured widely with the well-known Swedish folk band Ranarim. Emma has been performing in choirs since the age of six, and studied both jazz and classical music before returning to the traditional music she first heard her grandfather play on the fiddle. She teaches at a folk music college and at the Department of Music and Media in Piteå, conducts workshops in traditional Swedish music, and writes arrangements for choirs and vocal groups.

Zedashe Ensemble

zedashe-dancingZedashe Ensemble, directed by Ketevan Mindorashvili, was founded in the mid-1990s to sing repertoire that had been largely lost during the Communist era. The group is known for their performance of ancient three-part chants from the Orthodox Christian liturgy, folk songs from the Kiziqian region as collected from village song-masters and old publications, and folk dances from the region. The group’s name is taken from the special earthenware jug, or zedashe, that was buried under the family home for the purpose of making wine.

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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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.

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Carl Linich

Carl-LinichCARL LINICH has been a scholar, teacher,and performer of traditional Georgian polyphonic singing since 1990, and is a member of TrioKavkasia. A fluent Georgian speaker, Carl lived in Georgia for 10 years, and received two prestigious merit awards from the Georgian government in recognition of his work to promote and preserve Georgian folk music. He has worked on numerous publications related to Georgian folk music for the Tbilisi State Conservatory, the State Folklore Center of Georgia, and the International Centre for Georgian Folk Song. Carl has been leading Village Harmony camps since 2000, and toured with Northern Harmony in 2001 and 2002. He currently directs the Supruli Ensemble in New York City and a Georgian choir at Bard College, and sings in a family trio with his two sons. www.kavkasia.com

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Nicholas Williams

Nicholas Williams has developed a reputation as a versatile and sought-after musician in the traditional music scenes of Québec and New England.  His rhythmic yet nuanced style of flute playing draws from Irish and Scottish traditions, as well as from his studies of classical North Indian music.

After completing a BFA in world music and composition at York University, Nicholas moved to Québec in 2000, where he has enjoyed exploring the common ground of his own diverse musical experiences with the rich Québécois musical tradition.

Also an accomplished accordion and piano player, he has been a member of the band Genticorum since 2000, in Crowfoot since 2005, plays with fiddler Laura Risk, and also is half of the Alex Kehler & Nicholas Williams duo.

Adam Simon & Sophie Michaux

Adam Simon—born and raised in Cambridge, MA— and his wife, French mezzo-soprano Sophie Michaux, are avid folk singers performing frequently with Northern Harmony. As the folk music duo “Sophie et Adam” alongside they frequently perform a varied repertoire of European and American folk music, including their own compositions and arrangements. An accomplished composer, Adam has enjoyed many recent performances and commissions from nationally acclaimed ensembles. Sophie’s unique background—born in London but raised in the French Alps—informs her artistic identity, making her feel at home in an eclectic span of repertoire ranging from grand opera to French cabaret songs. The two will teach one of Adam’s original songs and, time permitting, a traditional Croatian klapa song.

Sandra Santos Canizares

DSC_2065A pianist and conservatory student from an early age and graduate in choral conducting from Cuba’s Conservatorio Amadeo Roldán, Sandra Santos was a solo singer and children’s choir director before joining the prize-winning women’s ensemble Vocal Luna as director.  In 2007 she founded the girl’s choir Lunitas. In 2011 Sandra assumed directorship of Coral Children of Musica Antigua; and in 2013 she founded the youth choir Young Cantoras.

Sandra was one of Village Harmony’s teachers in Havana at our 2017 and 2018 camps in Cuba. We are thrilled that Sandra is now living in Bloomington, IN.
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Frank Watkins

Frank Watkins is professor of music and Director of Choral Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire. A native of Omaha, Nebraska and raised as a gospel singer and pianist, Frank holds degrees in piano performance from Jackson State University and the University of Arkansas, and advanced degrees in choral conducting from Northwestern University and Michigan State University. In 2016 Frank went to Corsica as a participant in Village Harmony’s camp there, and was inspired to take his  own students the following year to Dakar, Senegal, where they studied the use of hip-hop and rap as a form of non-violent political protest. Frank’s research interests include the inter-sectionality of race, class, and gender in the music of African-American Women in the 21st century. Frank’s love and passion are teaching. It is his goal to make an impact—not just an impression—on the lives of those that follow his baton.