Village Harmony

Cuba Camp – March 11 – 24, 2018 – $1675adult/$1375youth

Date: March 11-24, 2018
Venue: Housing in family hostels (casas particulares) in Havana & Matanzas
Leaders: Alina Orraca & Schola Cantorum Coralina, Sandra Santos González, Maribel Nodarse & Ensemble Vocal Luna, Los Muñequitos de Matanzas & Grupo AfroCuba de Matanzas, Karla Mundy, Patty Cuyler
Price: $1650 adult/$1350 youth (high school/college students)

The application period for this camp will be open until September 20, 2017.  Acceptance emails will be sent out on October 1st, at which time a 25% tuition deposit will be required to secure your place in the program. It is very likely that we will have more applications for qualified candidates for this program than we will be able to accept. If you are not accepted into the program, your registration fee will be refunded.

This program—our second trip to Cuba—is intended for experienced singers and choir directors who can sight-read with fluency, are able to tackle complicated rhythms, and are serious about studying Cuban choral music and Afro-Cuban singing and dance.

Unlike most of our other camps, this is not a program for non-music readers!

View a short video collage of our first camp in Cuba in February 2017, created by singer-alumna Tikko Freilich.

We are aiming for a vocally-balanced ensemble to study intensively with some of Cuba’s most renowned choral conductors and traditional dance ensembles. To make the program a true sharing, we will be inviting a number of Cuban singers to join us for our rehearsals and performances so that they can experience Village Harmony and sample our own repertoire.

Proposed changes to the US-Cuba travel policy will likely include banning individual people-to-people travel to Cuba in the coming months. However, group people-to-people travel—organized by US organizations that sponsor projects like ours—is still expected to remain permitted under the new legislation. 

We expect that our camp, with its itinerary overflowing with cultural contact and exchange, will be permitted under the new guidelines. Until the new policies and procedures are fully fleshed out (probably not before the early fall) and we can guarantee that the program will go forward, we ask participants to hold off on arranging their travel to Cuba.

Alina OrracaWe are fortunate to again have Alina Orraca—founder of the international touring ensemble Schola Cantorum Coralina—along with Sandra Santos Gonzaléz & Maribel Nodarse Valdésconductors of the acclaimed women’s ensemble Vocal Luna—work with us in intense daily singing sessions during our first week in Cuba.

Evenings will alternate between learning a set world music repertoire to add variety to our performances and classes in salsa and Afro-Cuban dance. Each after-dinner session will end early enough to allow the group ample time to mingle with locals as we sample the vibrant night life of Old Havana’s Vedado neighborhood.

We will be staying—and rehearsing—in grand old homes belonging to local families that have been turned into private hostels or casas particulares. We will eat breakfasts and suppers with our casa hosts, giving us wonderful opportunities for a cross-cultural sharing of ideas and histories. Lunches will be largely our own, and we encourage participants to search out the neighborhood’s private family-run restaurants, known as paladares, which not only offer more vivid interactions with Cuban reality than state-run restaurants, but inexpensive, authentic homemade Cuban food.

On the morning of our eighth day we will leave Havana for Matanzas on the northern shore of the island about 90 kilometers east of the capitol, where we will be based for the remainder of our stay.

Matanzas is justly celebrated for its Afro-Cuban folk culture, and there we will immerse ourselves for intense days of singing, dancing and drumming classes, including workshops with Los Muñequitos de Matanzas and Grupo AfroCuba.

Our two-week trip will end with a concert and after-party shared with local musicians and dancers and our casa host families.

Tuition i
ncludes housing, transportation, breakfasts and dinners during the workshop period. Optional $100 single-room fee for our stay in Havana. Transportation to and from Cuba, and lunches while we are in Havana, will be the responsibility of each participant.

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Apply Now!

Leaders

Alina Orraca & Schola Cantorum Coralina

Alina-Orraca-directora-del-coro-2Alina Orraca is one of Cuba’s most eminent choral conductors and educators and has presented highly successful courses, workshops, and performances in Nicaragua, the Vatican, Venezuela, Spain, Brazil, México and Sweden, as well as Cuba and Canada. Born in 1957 in Havana city, she studied music from an early age and won conducting degrees from Cuba’s National School of the Arts and the Institute of Higher Arts.

imagesAlina is the director of the Schola Cantorum Coralina, an award-winning mixed choir she founded in 1993 under the sponsorship of the Pablo Milanes Foundation. is a part of the Catalogue of Artists of the National Center of Concert Music of Cuba, signifying its selection as one of the most prestigious Cuban choirs. See and hear Coralina in a recent YouTube music video here.

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Sandra Santos González, Maribel Nodarse & Ensemble Vocal Luna

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.

Maribel-Nodarse-Valdes

Maribel Nodarse Valdés joined the staff of Vocal Luna in 2002, after completing her conservatory training at the National School of Music. A specialist in conducting and interpreting Latin American music for children’s choirs, Maribel taught music education in Havana from 2002-2007. She has been conductor of the boys’ choir Pequeños Principes since 2009, the girls’ choir Allegretto since 2013 and the youth choir Cantabile since 2014.

Ensemble Vocal Luna is a select ensemble of 12 women with a highly-varied repertoire embracing an eclectic range of composers, styles and genres of world music.

5Formed in 2002, Vocal Luna consistently wins grand prizes and gold medals in prestigious international choir festivals. At home they have shared the stage with important ensembles such as Exaudi, Ars Longa, the National Choir of Cuba and Coralina, and were chosen as the host choir for a UN conference held in Havana in 2003. Over the years Vocal Luna has collaborated with many ensembles and orchestras from abroad, including groups from Chile, Argentina, Colombia, Venezuela, Germany, Moldova, Russia, Italy and Spain.

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Los Muñequitos de Matanzas & Grupo AfroCuba de Matanzas

munequitos de matanzasDuring our stay in Matanzas we will take workshops with two of Cuba’s most acclaimed folklore groups, Los Muñequitos de Matanzas and  Grupo Afrocuba de Matanzas. Both ensembles specialize in the traditional African dances, percussion, and songs which are such an integral part of the island’s legacy.

Los Muñequitos has continually recorded since 1956 and is one of the most beloved rumba groups of all time. You can watch them giving a dance class HERE.

Grupo Afrocuba was founded in 1957 and is recognized worldwide for their mastery of Afro-Cuban folklore. Most members have Yoruba and Congo roots and are practitioners of the religions whose music and dance they perform; their repertoire includes folk genres performed only by them. Watch recent youtube clips of Grupo AfroCuba performing HERE and HERE.

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Karla Mundy

Karla-Mundy-for-webKarla Mundy grew up outside Calgary, Alberta and from a young age, was extremely passionate about piano, singing and dancing. She studied piano from the age of seven onwards, sang at all times and was introduced to many styles of music through her study of jazz, modern, flamenco, African and Latin dance as a teenager.

A vibrant, soulful and diverse vocalist, pianist, arranger and choir leader. Karla conducts four Vancouver community choirs, leads harmony singing workshops and performs extensively throughout BC and Alberta. Karla is a founding member of ‘The Shirleys’ -an all-female acapella sextet, ‘TriVo’ – vocal trio with Brian Tate and Dawn Pemberton and ‘Plough’ -an old-time string quartet. Karla specializes in world vocal traditions and rhythms and is passionate about ‘getting the music off the page’ and learning to embody the rhythm of the music.

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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.

Patty co-leads the community world music choir Boston Harmony (which she founded in 2005) as well as the Brooklyn World Music Chorus (since 2012)—both of which she commutes by air to conduct—and the Chicago World Music Chorus (2013) closer to home.

 

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Venue

Housing in family hostels (casas particulares) in Havana & Matanzas

Casa Mildred, La HabanaIn old Havana we will be housed in three or four privately-owned casa particulares in the Vedado quarter of the city, a residential neighborhood frozen in time, abundant with classic American cars and crumbling grand mansions. Built at the beginning of the century around a linear plan, it was inhabited by Havana’s rich families. The streets and sidewalks are large and many houses have gardens, which makes it a lovely neighborhood to walk around. Our Vedado casas are in easy walking distance of each other and of the historic center of the city and many cultural attractions, including the broad esplanade of the Malecón, the Paseo del Prado, Central Park, the University of Havana, and the Gran Teatro de La Habana.

Yojans insideIn Matanzas we will stay in two or three privately-owned houses that have been converted into hostels. Matanzas is called the City of Bridges, for the seventeen bridges that cross the three rivers that traverse the city (Rio Yumuri, San Juan, and Canimar). For this reason it was referred to as the “Venice of Cuba.” (It was also called “La Atenas de Cuba” —”The Athens of Cuba”—for its poets.) Matanzas is known as the birthplace of the music and dance traditions danzón and rumba.

Most rooms in both Havana and Matanzas will be double occupancy. In Havana we expect to have a few rooms available for single occupancy for a singles supplement of $100.

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