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

Matt Reyna

July 24 – 31, 2021 // Plymouth, MA

For singers who love to dance and dancers who love to sing

CDSS is moving forward with 6 COVID vaccine-required camp sessions for 2021. Each session will adhere to national, state, and local public health ordinances in effect at the time of the session. CDSS will continually monitor public health guidelines and keep registered campers informed of program adjustments as they are necessary.

Click here to read more about our decision process.

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A singing class in the pond

Program Description

Harmony of Song & Dance offers an incredible diversity of music and dance experiences. The day begins with the all camp sing, a powerful harmony singing experience involving a combination of learning by ear as well as written music. Skilled song-leaders lead the camp through a wide-ranging repertoire of rousing and inspiring harmony singing, accommodating all forms and levels of experience. This is followed by a period dedicated to dancing, again with something for everyone, with separate classes of contra and English with the finest in dance music and dance instruction. All dances called by our dance staff, Will Mentor and Melissa Running, will be non-gendered. This includes dances during our morning dance sessions and the evening contras and English dances.

The afternoon program offers workshops on a range of themes, including traditional singing, harmony singing, dance musician skills, traditional and ritual dancing, art and choreography.  There will be ample time after class to swim and socialize before dinner. In the evening, there are inspiring staff concerts, followed by a full dance program of both English country and contra dance.

Dancers waltzing around the dance floor

The days are packed with learning opportunities but set in an atmosphere of great conviviality. Instrumental jam sessions and rollicking pub sings set in the incomparable peace and beauty of Pinewoods make this week a haven for lovers of both song and dance.

Shut down your computer and take a week in the woods for your musical and dancing nourishment!

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

~ Betsy Branch, Program Director

Schedule

Updated June 30

7:45-8:15Hot Breakfast served cafeteria style
8:15-8:45Cold Breakfast Coffee/Tea available
8:45-9:00Vocal Warm-ups
9:00-10:15All-Camp Chorale
10:30-11:35Dance Period
Contras – Will Mentor
English Breakfast Dancing – Melissa Running
11:40-12:10Swimming, Bookstore staffed
12:15Lunch
1:30-2:30Period 3
Songleading — Brendan Taaffe
Ukulele Jam — Katie Martucci
Morris Dance — Chris Bracken
Scandi & French Dances — Jeremy Carter-Gordon
Scandi Music — Melissa Running, Aaron Marcus
2:45-3:45Period 4
Original Choral Compositions — Brendan Taaffe
Songs of Social Struggle — Jeremy Carter-Gordon, Lauren Breunig
Percussive Dance — Armand Aromin, Aaron Marcus
Choreography — Will Mentor
4:00-5:00Period 5
French and Scandi Dance Party — Jeremy Carter-Gordon, Melissa Running
Swing Harmony Singing — Katie Martucci
Drawing — Will Mentor
Community Singing — Lauren Breunig, Chris Bracken
5:00-6:10Free time, Hang out, Jam, Swimming, Bookstore staffed
6:15Dinner
7:30Staff Concert
8:30 Evening Dance Party

Class Descriptions

Updated June 30

8:45-9:00

Vocal Warm-Ups – Katie Martucci

9:00-10:15

All-Camp Chorale – the singing staff

How can a day get started any better than by singing gorgeous songs in full harmony in a beautiful setting in nature? Our amazing singing staff will teach a variety of wonderful songs from all over the world. Some songs will have printed music, and some will be taught by ear. No previous singing experience required. Many campers and staff alike call this their favorite part of the day.

10:30-11:40

Contras – Will Mentor

Music by: Betsy Branch, Armand Aromin, Brendan Taaffe: Come and explore the full range of contra dancing: from chestnuts to contras written last week.

English Breakfast Dancing – Melissa Running

Music by: Aaron Marcus, Jakob Raitzyk, Rebekah Geller: Something savory, something sweet, something brisk and bracing—come dig into a smorgasbord of English country dance as we enjoy a moving “second breakfast.” We’ll have old favorites and new, simple fare and chewier morsels, engaging for feet and ears and minds.

1:30-2:30

Songleading – Brendan Taaffe

Bringing a group of people together is a magical thing, and-like many magical things-is underlain by craft. I’ve been fortunate to make my living as a song leader for over a decade now, working with choirs throughout North America, the UK, Ireland, and New Zealand. I would like to share some of the good practices I’ve learned in my travels, many of them from observing other leaders. In this class we’ll learn songs together and then analyze the experience, pinpointing what worked well about the teaching and what could be improved. We’ll look for opportunities for class members to teach songs, incorporating the ideas from the class. Great both for people leading songs in formal and informal situations.

Ukulele Jam – Katie Martucci

Brush up on your ukulele skills as we learn tunes from a host of genres. We’ll review chords, and work on different strumming/fingerpicking patterns. Leave with a new set of songs to sing and play!

Morris Dance – Chris Bracken

Music by: Armand Aromin: Wheezy squeezeboxes are a delight, but dancing to singers is splendid! We’ll tackle a handful of dances in different traditions (mostly Cotswold, maybe a bit of Molly) that have been written to some favorite songs. We’ll err on the side of bashing through rather than perfecting. Some morris experience is handy but not required.

Scandi & French Dances – Jeremy Carter-Gordon

Music by: Betsy Branch: Jeremy will teach fun and approachable dances from French and Scandinavian traditions. Participants will have the opportunity to practice their dances to live music by campers and staff at the afternoon dance party.

Scandi Music – Melissa Running, Aaron Marcus

Melissa and Aaron will team up to teach ear-catching dance music from Scandinavian traditions. The tunes will match dances that Jeremy is teaching, and class participants will have the chance to play what they learn along with staff members at the afternoon dance party.

2:45-3:45

Original Choral Compositions – Brendan Taaffe

Sung by choirs from New Zealand to British Columbia, Brendan’s original choral work is known for its lush polyphony and moving harmonies. (To get a taste of his songs ahead of time, check out the Bright Wings Chorus performances of Wester Caputh, Heart Be Rain, and Come Love Away.) This class will be an opportunity to dig into more intricate pieces than the ones we’ll able to do in the all camp chorale.

Songs of Social Struggle – Jeremy Carter-Gordon, Lauren Breunig

Jeremy and Lauren will teach songs of social struggle from throughout history, sung for today’s times. Come learn harmonies in their band Windborne’s signature style, and connect the past to the present through songs for equality, human rights, and the earth.

Percussive Dance – Armand Aromin, Aaron Marcus

Music by: Betsy Branch: Armand and Aaron draw on multiple traditions in their percussive dance. Aaron dances a fusion of Appalachian and Quebecois styles, and Armand dances sean-nós (Irish for “old-style). Between them, they will show steps, create a few routines, and teach about improvising, quite literally, on your feet.

Choreography – Will Mentor

We will examine the ins and outs of contra dance choreography by writing contra dances.

4:00-5:00

French and Scandi Dance Party – Jeremy Carter-Gordon, Melissa Running

Music by: Open band from morning class: This dance party will highlight dances from France and Scandinavia, with live music by staff and campers. It is possible that other styles of dance will break out! Come prepared to dance, play with the band, socialize, or simply enjoy watching and listening.

Swing Harmony Singing – Katie Martucci

Learn to sing in tight three-part swing harmony, a la The Boswell Sisters and The Mills Brothers. We’ll learn a few arrangements of swing standards and dive into some of the theory so you can understand how to hear and sing your own harmonies.

Drawing – Will Mentor

A chance to draw at your leisure (with instruction if you want it). Basic materials will be provided.

Community Singing – Lauren Breunig, Chris Bracken

We will introduce easy-to-learn songs for you to take home with you. All songs will be taught by ear and we’ll play with lots of different ways to participate in singing: simple harmony parts, verse/chorus songs for instant singalongs, rounds, and more!

Registration and Fees

You can find more information about the registration process here. If you need financial assistance in order to attend, please go to our scholarships page.

Staff

Jeremy Carter-Gordon

Harmony of Song & Dance
Jeremy Carter-Gordon

Aaron Marcus

Dance Music & Spice, Family Week at Ogontz, Harmony of Song & Dance
Aaron Marcus

Will Mentor

Harmony of Song & Dance
Will Mentor

Melissa Running

Harmony of Song & Dance
Melissa Running

Armand Aromin

Harmony of Song & Dance
Armand Aromin

Lauren Breunig

Harmony of Song & Dance
Lauren Breunig

Chris Bracken

Harmony of Song & Dance
Chris Bracken

Rebekah Geller

Harmony of Song & Dance
Rebekah Geller

Jakob Raitzyk

Harmony of Song & Dance
Jakob Raitzyk

Brendan Taaffe

Harmony of Song & Dance
Brendan Taaffe

Katie Martucci

American Dance & Music Week, Harmony of Song & Dance
Katie Martucci

Betsy Branch

Harmony of Song & Dance, Program Directors
Betsy Branch