Village Harmony

South Africa – July 31-August 20, 2017 (21 days) – $2100 adults/$1700 youth

Date: July 31-August 20, 2017
Venue: Nylesvley Nature Reserve, Limpopo Province, South Africa
Leaders: Matlakala Bopape, Bongani Magatyana, Patty Cuyler, Mollie Stone
Price: $2100 adult / $1700 youth (high school & university students)

We are hoping to make this and our other international camps more affordable for high school & college student participation by offering substantial youth discounts.

This will be Village Harmony’s ninth study-performance camp in South Africa. You will come away from your 3-week adventure—which will take us from the rural far northeast of the country to the townships of Cape Town—with an insider’s understanding of the musical and cultural diversity of South Africa.

The camp will begin with a week in residence at the Nylesvley Nature Reserve in Limpopo Province, learning and rehearsing our concert program, following which we will begin a two-week performance tour, meeting up with local choirs and dance groups and enjoy the hospitality of home stay hosts both in South Africa’s northeastern quadrant and in the Western Cape.

long-roadDuring our rehearsal week we will of focus on learning South African songs and their dances, including traditional gospel, church chorus, folk and struggle songs. In addition Mollie and Patty will also teach the group an eclectic sampling of American and world music choral arrangements to add diversity to our concert program. Bongani will teach anyone who is interested the bongani-at-cape-town-festivalbasic steps for miners’ gumboot dancing. Eight Sotho and Xhosa singers from Matlakala and Bongani’s choirs will join us as full participants in the camp, enriching the learning experience and the cultural exchange all around.

We will spend the next week touring in the northeast part of the country, staying with local home stay hosts and giving concerts and meeting with other ensembles in churches, schools and community centers, including a choral festival cape_town-from-airwith an overnight stay in Soweto.

Mid-way through our performance tour we will fly from Johannesburg to Cape Town, where we will be lodged with host families in one of the city’s outlying black townships. Bongani will arrange a week of concerts and collaborations with local choirs in and around the city while we take every possible opportunity to explore the beautiful sights of the Cape.

We will suggest flight itineraries for everyone, but participants will be responsible for arranging for their own transportation to and from South Africa, and for a one-way flight mid-tour between Johannesburg and Cape Town mid-tour. We recommend that you plan to arrive in South Africa at least a day early to adjust to the time change.

Space in the camp will be limited to 25. We will be looking for a balance of teens and adults as well as of men’s and women’s voices in the group. We have reserved some financial aid for teenagers and college students who need help to attend.
$2100 adult / $1700 youth (high school & university students)

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Leaders

Matlakala Bopape

matlakalalgMATLAKALA BOPAPE, of Polokwane, South Africa, is the director of Polokwane Choral Society—a community-based group whose aim is nurturing musical talent in African society. As a director, Matlakala is committed to drawing out musical excellence from her singers, as well as exposing them to musical cultures of the world. Her limitless patience, careful attention to vocal technique, and rich repertoire of folk and contemporary South African choral music make her a formidable teacher. This will be Matlakala’s 17th year teaching with Village Harmony, after a fortuitous initial meeting with Patty & Larry at Festival 500 in St. John, Newfoundland in 1999.

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Bongani Magatyana

Bongani_MagatyanaBONGANI 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 solfamusic notation at a very young age, and young Bongani dreamt of becoming a church choir conductor, too. Today he is conducts a 120-voice OAC choir himself, and his 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 in South Africa and the US since 2012.

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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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Mollie Stone

Mollie Stone

MOLLIE STONE is a Chicago native internationally renowned for her workshops on black South African choral music. Mollie has served as a conductor at Chicago Children’s Choir since 2005 and at the University of Chicago since 2011. Mollie earned her master’s degree in classical choral conducting from Westminster Choir College and her conducting doctorate from Northwestern University. In 2001, she received a grant from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation to create a DVD, Vela, Vela, to help educators learn and teach black South African choral music in the oral tradition. In 2006, Mollie received another grant to study how South Africans are using choral music in the struggle against HIV, which became the topic of her highly-acclaimed doctoral thesis. Mollie has been teaching with Village Harmony since 2009.

Venue

Nylesvley Nature Reserve, Limpopo Province, South Africa

imagesNylsvley is one of the top birding spots in Southern Africa, with at least 365 species recorded. We will stay in the nature reserve’s lodge, with double room accommodation in a nicely-renovated dormitory building and separate building with a spacious kitchen and rehearsal space.

The reserve is a Ramsar site known for  “the conservation and wise use of all wetlands through local and national actions and international cooperation, as a contribution towards achieving sustainable development throughout the world”.

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