“Take the leap, it will change your life in ways you could never imagine.”

Matt Reyna
July 29-August 5, 2023 // Plymouth, MA
For singers who love to dance and dancers who love to sing

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Program Description

Nothing connects people together more deeply than the arts. At Harmony week, we get the joyous opportunity to connect through singing, dancing, and instrumental music.  This year, we are celebrating the theme of singing and dancing simultaneously. Each afternoon period will include a class that incorporates song and dance together.  We will also seek out opportunities throughout the entire day to sing and dance, thus embodying the name of this camp.  

Each day begins with All Camp Chorale, a chance to learn beautiful songs from our singing staff.  After that, we will have the chance to do both contra and English country dancing. One class will teach newcomers these styles of dance.  The other is for those who already are familiar with these dance forms.  Our afternoon programming will be a combination of singing, dancing and instrumental classes.

For instrumentalists, besides the afternoon classes, there will be opportunities throughout the week to play for evening dances (camper night, and 2 open band contra sets during the week). 

So whether you want to dance, sing, dance AND sing, play your instrument, or some of each of those, we have a terrific program set up for you.  Plus free time before dinner for swimming, napping, jamming, or camper-led activities.  For you night owls, we will have fun activities after the evening dances to connect you with the other night owls. 

I am so excited to be back at Pinewoods with all of you.  It has been a joy and privilege to be Program Director for such an amazing week.

~Betsy Branch, Program Director

Teachers: One graduate credit is available through the Kodály Music Institute.


Class Descriptions

Period 1

All Camp Chorale

This Harmony week tradition is a beautiful way to start our day with singing, movement and community, surrounded by birdsong and the breeze in the trees.  Our incredible singing staff will teach a wide variety of music, including a daily dose this year of singing and movement together.  There will be time to warm up our voices and bodies, and learn some beautiful repertoire together.  We will have a sing-through of all taught material at the end of the week.

Period 2

Build community at camp with social dance!  You can choose contras, English country, or a session designed to teach you all that you need to know to participate fully in the evening dances.

Basics of Contra and English Country Dance – Ben Sachs-Hamilton with Betsy, Jeremiah, Mo, and Peter

Come learn the basic figures of both these dance styles while enjoying some beautiful music! In addition to practicing the dance moves themselves, we’ll explore some of the similarities and differences between these “sibling” traditions, as well as ways we can dance together with energy, safety, respect, and fun. New dancers, rusty dancers, and helpful dancers are all welcome.

The Joy of Dance Toolkit – Lisa Greenleaf & Joanna Reiner Wilkinson with Karen, Rachel, and Molly

If English dance is not your first language, if you are a new or returning contra dancer, or if you want a chance to focus on and build your dance skills, this workshop is for you!  We’ll take the time to look at figures and how to dance with the music, all the while enjoying the beauty and variety of both types of dance.

Period 3

MoToR/method Body Music – Evie Ladin

Using only your human instrument, explore rhythmic music in hands, feet and body, harmonic music in the voice, moving in space.  Fun and challenging on expression, precision and musicality, the style allows for levels of participation everyone can enjoy.  Explore and better understand syncopation, develop ensemble and personal rhythmic/harmonic strengths while literally incorporating music into the body. With deep training in Appalachian cultural styles, Evie explores the underlying African-diaspora polyrhythms that are embedded in those traditions, overtly reconnecting them in creative, moving ways.

English Dance For All – Melody in Motion – Joanna Reiner Wilkinson with Betsy and Molly

An exploration of the breadth of English dance styles, from elegant to energetic, playful to thoughtful, flowing to frolicking.  In keeping with the theme of the week, we’ll explore dances set to songs, whether the lyrics came first, or after.  Singing optional!

Arranging, Ensembling & Listening – Karen Axelrod & Rachel Bell

One of our favorite activities is to take a new tune, explore the tune, and then play it as a duo, see where it goes, and then come up with an arrangement. How do we come up with ideas, and how do we put them together? Sometimes it’s a very loose arrangement, and sometimes we have a distinct idea of what we want to hear.

We will work with you in developing the skills you need for “Arranging, Ensembling, and Listening.” There will be a lot of duo and trio work. You will come away with lots of ideas of what to do with a tune and how to turn that into an arrangement that you like to play over and over. And that people like to listen to, over and over.

Come with proficiency on your instrument and an ability to read music.

American Sing-Along – Peter Siegel

Accessible single and multi-part arrangements of American songs made popular, composed or brought to light by legends such as Alan Lomax,  Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Melvina Reynolds, Jean Richie, Ledbelly, and some unknowns.

Sacred Harp Singing: Music and History – Ben Sachs-Hamilton

The tradition of singing “shape-note” music stretches back over two hundred years, and many streams of American music and culture have influenced the collection of songs in the Sacred Harp we sing from today. Mixed in with plenty of singing, we’ll explore some of these streams, including fuging tunes, anthems, folk hymns, camp meeting songs, and more. You don’t need to have sung shape-note music before, but some music reading experience will be helpful.

Period 4

Pinewoods ‘23 SATB Mixtape – Rani Arbo

This class is a chance to spend a week in pursuit of a collective vocal blend and joyful musical telepathy in a smaller ensemble. If you are a quick study for aural learning and/or can sight read, that’s a plus (music will be shared in advance). Being confident holding your part is required! We’ll queue up 4-6 songs for the week (still TBD), possibly including a short early music work, a jazz or swing tune, arranged works from American and/or global folk traditions, and a group improv.

Voice and Body Expression – Lexi Ugelow

This will be a multimodal class, geared towards those who want to explore self-expression using their voices and bodies. Classes will incorporate a mixture of music and movement activities along with some more classic chorale style harmony singing to broaden our repertoire. The goal of this workshop series will be to strengthen the connection we have with ourselves as movers and music makers. Participants will leave with a handful of expressive arts techniques to bring home to their own creative communities.

French & Breton Dances & Tunes – Rachel Bell and Jeremiah McLane

In this class we’ll look at French traditional dance music including both Bal Folk and Fest-Noz repertoire. We’ll cover  dance tunes from Central France (Auvergne, Limousin, La Creuse, Berry) and tunes from northwest France (Brittany and Poitou). We’ll teach the tunes by ear, and at the end of each class we’ll have sheet music available. We’ll also learn some of the dances that go with these tunes, so if you don’t play an instrument but can hum a tune, this class can work for you! For those who do play an instrument, a basic level of proficiency on your instrument will be extremely helpful.

Cotswold Morris – Crispin Youngberg with Mog Youngberg

Cotswold morris has a fine tradition of singing in the pub after dancing, but we rarely see this dance style performed to vocal accompaniment. Crispin thinks this is a great shame. In this class we’ll work on dancing to singing, thinking about how to use voice as an instrument for dance, and how this informs the dancing that we do. This is a great opportunity for dancers to learn new dances, and for singers to practice singing as dance music. All singers and dancers welcome!

Period 5

Molly Dancing – Mog Youngberg with Crispin Youngberg

What is Molly dancing? In this dance tradition from the fens of East Anglia and Cambridgeshire, the oldest recorded dances are variations of simple social dances. We’ll learn some of these, as well as some more recent dance compositions from the Marlboro repertoire. This is a dance class for singers too – many Molly teams use voice as an instrument, and we’ll be using this dance style to explore the relationships between song and dance and music. All dancers and singers welcome!

Holding Culture in the Body – Evie Ladin

Exploring percussive and social dance from a variety of traditions, Evie will lead you in an exploration of how we hold culture in the body. With basically the same instrument and capabilities, cultures around the world explore similar movement concepts differently – in how and where you feel the beat, your center of gravity, approach to space, and more. We will also explore ideas of history and migration through the lens of dance.

Contra Callers Confab – Lisa Greenleaf

Let’s geek out about contra calling! Every day there will be a new theme, decided by participants in the class. Topics might include: Effective programming, working with musicians, teaching harder dances, flight time, and more. No experience necessary, just an open mind and a desire to think like a caller.

Going Solo – in Duets and Trios! – Rani Arbo

Explore the awesome alchemy of duo and trio singing! This class is for beginners who haven’t ventured into singing one-on-a-part (and for confident singers who’d love to support those beginners). We’ll begin by singing together and learning some very basic music theory to help us  find our parts. Then we’ll gently connect with new singing partners (switching up all week) to experiment with tone, pitch, energy, rhythm, and phrasing. Be ready for deep listening, courageous sharing, and supportive coaching! We’ll sing songs I’ll teach, songs you bring, and possibly some Morning Chorus repertoire. The focus won’t be learning full songs, but on tuning into each other and exploring how our unique voices combine. No sight reading needed.

Tune Sharing and Jam Session – Peter Siegel & Mo Brachfeld

Each session will start with Mo and Peter playing an accessible tune for long enough for folks to learn it by ear.  After that, they will facilitate a jam session with tunes selected by campers. At the end of the session will be time to honor our ancestors in music who have influenced us over the years.  This part can include tunes composed by our influences, or tunes that we learned from them.  This is a by-ear session, and participants will go home with at least 6 tunes that they learned together.  Tunes from this session will likely appear at the 2 open band evening contras as well.