Village Harmony

2017 Leaders

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.

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. The wine made in the zedashe was intended for the veneration of ancestors and the tapping of the zedashe every year carried great ritual significance.

For more information, visit their website at

Ketevan Mindorashvili

mindorashviliketevanlgFounder and director of the Zedashe Ensemble, Ketevan Mindorashvili was born in Sighnaghi and raised in a traditional singing family. 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.

john_wurdemanKetevan has been teaching Village Harmony groups in Georgia (and in Corsica in 2014) since 2003. She is married to an American-born painter, John Wurdeman, who has become the primary organizer for Village Harmony’s Georgia programs. John first came to Georgia in 1995 in search of singers that practiced the ancient art of Georgian polyphony.  In 1996 John purchased a house in Sighnaghi, Georgia, a town famous for the arts with beautiful views and in the center of the wine region.  In 1998 John moved to Sighnaghi to live full time. As a world-renowned vintner and restaurant owner as well as a painter, John divides his time between his main passions – wine, food and art – and finds the three go quite well together. He lives in Sighnaghi with Ketevan and their two children, Lazare and Gvantsa.


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.


Inija Trinkūnienė

fb-gd42793-1Inija Trinkūnienė is the director and co-founder of the Kūlgrinda Ritual Folklore Group. As a Sociologist at the Academy of Philosophy and Sociology, Inija has spent most of her professional career studying cultural and ethnic expression through Lithuanian folklore. For decades, Inija has been instrumental in Romuva, the revival of the ancient Baltic Pagan religion, and was elected as the leader of that community in 2014, succeeding her late husband, the folklorist Jonas Trinkūnas. Inija is a font of songs, and through her work with Kūlgrinda and Romuva has inspired a love of traditional music in a new generation of Lithuanians.

Artūras Sinkevičius

arturas-sinkevicius-croppedArtūras Sinkevičius studied music education at the Kaunas Educational University. He teaches folk music and dance at a High School for the arts. He is the organizer of the yearly Suklėgos Folk Festival, and he works also as a composer and musician at the Kaunas State Puppet Theater. He is the director of Gilė, a community folklore ensemble in Kaunas, and performs with the Kūlgrinda Ritual Folklore Group. In addition to being a skilled singer, Artūras plays a multitude of instruments, including bagpipes, fiddle, guitar, and double bass.

Lynn Mahoney Rowan

lynnmLynn Mahoney Rowan grew up singing in Southern VT with the Amidons, Tony Barrand and other folk music aficionados. Village Harmony introduced her to a love of world harmonies as a teenager and she continued to sing and teach with Northern Harmony and the Renewal chorus through college. She tours at home and abroad as a singer and percussionist with her band, Windborne. Lynn founded and co-led the Marlboro World Music Ensemble at Marlboro College, the Keene World Harmony Community Chorus in Keene NH, and she created and ran the Revels North year-round teen program. In addition, she has been assistant choral director and appeared as a soloist the Hanover Christmas Revels for the last six years. Lynn teaches private voice lessons to teens and adults, and has written and arranged music for a variety of theatrical productions with the New England Youth Theater and the Vermont Theater Company, Marlboro College, and local elementary schools.

Nadia Tarnawsky

TarnawskyNadiaNadia Tarnawsky has been studying Eastern European singing techniques for nearly three decades. In 2002 she received a Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship which allowed her to travel to Ukraine to collect folk songs and folklore. She has taught Ukrainian village style singing in workshops for the Center for Traditional Music and Dance in New York city, Village Harmony in Vermont and Oregon, the Kitka Women’s Vocal Ensemble in San Francisco, and the Black Forest Fancies in New Orleans among others. In 2011 she received a Traditional Arts Fellowship from Artist Trust. She sang under the tutelage of Yevgeny Yefremov with Ensemble Hilka of New York in commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the Chornobyl disaster in Ukraine.  A recording of this repertoire was recently released on the Smithsonian Folkways label. This is her third year of teaching with Village Harmony.


Megan Henderson

megan-hendersonMegan Henderson is a brilliant keyboard player and teacher, singer, composer and choir leader with an insatiable appetite for all kinds of music. She is a collaborative pianist and piano teacher in the Boston area.  She is currently music director of Cambridge Revels. Megan is also the organist and choir director at Payson Park Church in Belmont, MA, and plays for musical theater classes at Harvard Extension and Harvard Summer School. As a vocalist, she sings with the Schola Cantorum of Boston and has made numerous recordings with the Boston Camerata. She has toured Europe and England with Northern Harmony and is thrilled to be back for her sixth session with Village Harmony.






Sinead O’Mahoney

sineadSinead O’Mahoney, a native of Montpelier, VT, has been avidly singing with Village Harmony and Northern Harmony since 2008. She has traveled abroad with Village Harmony in Corsica, France, Switzerland, Germany, and has taken two separate trips to Caucasus Georgia, including an intensive Georgian language and culture course. She has also been active in Sacred Harp and other shape-note singing throughout New England. Sinead earned her bachelor’s degree in music education from the University of Vermont in 2016, and is currently working as an elementary music teacher in Burlington.

Ensemble Vocal Luna

5Ensemble 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.

Formed 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.




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 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.





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.






Hannah Stilwell

hannah-thumbHannah Stilwell is a performer, teacher and choreographer from Calgary, Alberta, entranced by the relationship between audible and visual rhythms. Throughout her career, she has dedicated herself to the discovery of many dance forms that have fused over the past century to become jazz dance.

Hannah’s work has taken her to Africa, Cuba, Jamaica, India and throughout North America. Hannah holds a B.A. from U of C where she has instructed dance since 1982, and is a founder of Decidedly Jazz Danceworks.



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.







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.


Other leaders TBA

Larry Gordon

larryoregonVillage 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.

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.









Avery Book

Book-AveryAvery Book has been singing with Village Harmony since 1999, and has been on several Northern Harmony tours. Avery’s eclectic musical interests span the gamut from early music to traditional world folk to the music of social movements. He has traveled a number of times to Georgia to study with traditional singers, and is currently working on a set of educational recordings and transcriptions of traditional Georgian music from the province of Svaneti. As an undergraduate, Avery started a class at Oberlin College featuring American shapenote and Georgian folk singing, and more recently founded the Burlington Solidarity Singers, a group of singers and song leaders that lead and adapt songs for Vermont social and environmental justice organizations. Avery is a founding member of the Starry Mountain Singers, the Starry Mountain Trio, and Tenores de Aterúe, a male quartet that focuses on the cantu a tenore tradition from Sardinia. He currently lives in Burlington, Vermont. When he isn’t singing, Avery is a community organizer. This will be Avery’s fifth year working for Village Harmony Camp, and his fourth year as a leader.

Mary Cay Brass

MC BrassMary Cay Brass of Athens, Vermont has been teaching Village Harmony camps for 25 years. She directs two very popular community choirs in Vermont and Massachusetts and is the co-musical director of Hallowell Hospice Choir. Mary Cay is also a dynamic contra-dance keyboardist and accordion player. She spent two and a half years in the former Yugoslavia on a Fulbright Scholarship in ethnomusicology. She has published two book/CD collections of music from that region. Mary Cay has also organized and led four Village Harmony trips to the Republic of Macedonia and three previous camps in Bosnia.

Bulgarka Junior Quartet

Bulgarka Junior QuartetThe four female singers of the Bulgarka Junior Quartet— formed in 1989 as the ‘next generation’ incarnation of the internationally-famous Trio Bulgarka—in the western city of Plovdiv—hail from different Bulgarian folklore region with specific and rich vocal heritage. Each of the singers was brought up singing traditional folk music in their families before they began their professional careers. The ensemble’s repertoire includes both traditional Bulgarian folk songs and arranged Bulgarian folk music by some of the most notable contemporary composers

Kathy Bullock

Kathy BullockKATHY BULLOCK has been a Professor of Music at Berea College in Kentucky for 23 years, where she chairs the department, teaches theory and ethnomusicology, and directs the Black Music Ensemble, a 70- voice choir that specializes in the performance of African-American sacred music. She is a member of the
American Spiritual Ensemble and she performs, lectures, and leads workshops in the United States, Great Britain, Ghana, and Jamaica on music and culture of the African diaspora.

Zoe Christiansen

Zoe with clarinetZoe Christiansen is a remarkable accordion, keyboard and clarinet player with particular expertise in eastern European and Turkish styles as well as Klezmer music.  She has participated in the two most recent Northern Harmony tours and has been music director for a number of community theater productions. Most recently she has traveled extensively in Turkey, Albania and Kosovo studying traditional instrumental and vocal styles.

Gideon Crevoshay

Gideon_Crevoshay_PhotoGideon Crevoshay, Gideon Crevoshay originally from northeastern Vermont and now hailing from EastMontpelier, Vermont, began touring with Village Harmony and Northern Harmony as a teenager in 1997. He attended Oberlin College where he became immersed in early music and co-founded a singing ensemble that focused on Georgian, Corsican and American traditional polyphony. A brilliant vocalist, he is a founding member of the Starry Mountain Singers, Starry Mountain Trio, and the Sardinian quartet Tenors de Aterúe, and tours annually with the international musical collaboration OneBeat. This will be Gideon’s fourth year teaching at Village Harmony Camp.

Zorana Guja

ZoranaZorana Guja is a masters student in ethnomusicology at the Academy of Music in Sarajevo. In addition to doing field work in village traditions around Bosnia, she comes from a living aural tradition in her family. She is the editor of the student magazine Modus Musicus and a member of the vocal ensemble Etnoakademik which focuses on reviving and nurturing Bosnian’s vocal heritage. She is the artistic director of the folk ensemble Barscarsija in Sarajevo and lead vocalist of her own band. With Village Harmony Zorana plans to teach several songs from rural village traditions with authentic styling.

John Harrison

harrisonjohnJohn Harrison is a dynamic choral director, workshop leader and composer from Vermont. His passion is the search for and development of an American choral tradition that integrates African-American Gospel music, jazz, blues, shape-note, rock and roll, country, and Appalachian music. In his compositions and teaching he strives to combine these great American traditions to create a unique choral music that is rhythmically sung and rich with story. John has directed the Montpelier Community Gospel Choir in Montpelier, VT for the last 18 years. He has led camp sessions for Village Harmony for 16 years, as well working with Brendan Taaffe’s Turtle Dove Harmony for the last 4 years. He recently left his job of 10 years teaching music K-12 in a public school to focus on working with community groups and composing. John brings to all his teaching a deep love for choral singing and its power to create community, as well as a lot of humor. He lives in Plainfield, VT with his wife Scottie.

Emil Ivanov

Emil Ivanov is choreographer of the Pazardzhik Ensemble in western Bulgaria. He taught our first Village Harmony Bulgaria camp session an award-winning dance set for its 2000 performance at the prestigious Koprivshtitsa Festival. His infinite patience and endless humor make him a perennially popular and well-beloved dance instructor. As he has for Village Harmony’s previous Bulgaria sessions, Emil will be doing a lot of our on-the-ground arrangements for this Bulgaria camp.

Lysander Jaffe

imagesLysander Jaffe, originally from Conway, MA, is a versatile musician based in Boston. He is a brilliant violinist and violist, adept at both classical and folk styles.  He has traveled extensively to Georgia, Turkey, Kosovo and  and Bulgaria, studying and documenting traditional music. As a vocalist, Lysander has a wonderful command of the ornamented styles of Georgian, Albanian and Corsican singing.  He is a veteran  of many years of Village Harmony and has participated in the two most recent Northern Harmony tours.  This will be his third year of teaching at Village Harmony.


Carlos Jurado

CarlosJuradoCarlos Javier Jurado of Pasto, Colombia, is a former Fulbright scholar who earned his masters degree in choral conducting from Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ, in 2007. After finishing his studies he returned to Colombia, where he was hired by the music department at Nariño University in Pasto. On top of his academic work—he conducts two choirs and teaches music theory at the university—Carlos is also academic advisor for the Batuta National Foundation, an institution devoted to promote the practice of music for Colombians from rural areas of the country who are victims of violence and displacement. This will be Carlos’ third year teaching at Village Harmony camp.

Alma Karabeg

alma KarabegAlma Karabeg – is an active music teacher and choral director. Since 2012 she has been an active member of the Center for Peace Building. She directs their choir, Harmonija, in sacred and secular music of all the Bosnian peoples and religions. She will share some of that repertoire with Village Harmony. Many members of all ages from Harmonija will likely join Village Harmony for rehearsal week and joint concerts.

Alma Karic

Alma-KaricAlma Karić – has taught both choral and orchestral music for the past 15 years in a Sarajevo music school. In addition to her school ensembles she directs the children’s choir «Sunflower» and an all women’s choir «Chorus Cadenza». She has won numerous prizes for her work at both the local and international level. She loves a diverse repertoire of traditonal Bosnian sevedalinka as well as music from around the world. She is fluent in German and English and plays accordion and piano.

Petrana Kucheva

Pepa-KuchevaPetrana (Pepa) Kucheva grew up in a family of singers in Thrace, Bulgaria. In her time in the US, she has toured and performed extensively, including concert appearances at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall and at the United Nations. She founded and directed the singing group Pesnopojka in New York City, and has taught Balkan music at the Balkan Music and Dance workshops on both coasts and throughout the United Sttes. Pepa has four recordings to her name and has won many honors in her native Bulgaria for her performances and activities in teaching traditional music. In 1999 the Slavic Heritage Council of America awarded her a special Certificate of Recognition in gratitude for her outstanding contributions to the Slavic community of Greater New York. In 2013 Pepa collaborated with the Packard Library of Congress making video recordings for audio and visual conservation. Pepa continues to tirelessly work for the preservation of Bulgarian traditional music through teaching, mentoring and conducting, and organizing workshops and seminars. Pepa has taught off and on with Village Harmony since 1999. This will be the fifth trip to Bulgaria that Pepa has organized for us.

Jean Etienne Langianni

Jean-Etienne-LangianniJean Etienne Langianni is a well-known singer, composer and teacher across Europe, is at home as much with contemporary popular music and all periods of European classical chant as he is with the traditional folk and sacred polyphony of his native Corsica. He leads workshops of Corsican singing both in Corsica and throughout western Europe. A member of Tavagna (the Corsican folk music group) and Organum (the ancient music ensemble led by Marcel Peres), he is a talented composer whose works reveal a deep understanding of Corsican folk and sacred music. This will be Jean-Etienne’s seventh time working with Village Harmony/Northern Harmony in Corsica.

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 young sons.

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.



Val Mindel

Val Mindel 2Val Mindel, a veteran teacher at Village Harmony, is a versatile teacher, singer and instrumentalist. She focuses on teaching the mechanics of creating harmonies and arrangements as well as singing in small groups, using early American country, Appalachian, gospel and bluegrass repertory. She lives in southern Vermont and leads adult harmony workshops there and around the country, often with daughter and fellow Village Harmony leader Emily Miller. She was a member of the 1970s string band, Any Old Time, has performed and taught in Hong Kong, Canada, Scotland and England, and was a long-time instructor at Chicago’s Old Town School of Folk Music.

Samira Merdzanic

samiraSamira Merdzanic – 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. Two girls from this choir attended a Village Harmony teen camp in 2009. This past summer she took this choir to a choral festival in Ohrid, Macedonia and they won first prize. 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 choir festivals and exchanges throughout Bosnia.  At camp she will teach a diverse repertoire of traditional sevdalinka, village songs and sacred songs from all the peoples of Bosnia.

Northern Harmony Singers

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.  Their strong voices supporting each vocal part makes the teaching and learning particularly efficient and gratifying for all.

David Oliver

DavidOliverA former high school principal, David Oliver was also for many years the education director of Folkworks.   A wonderful accordionist, band leader and singing leader, his pub sessions are immensely popular and his ceilidh band, The Hedgehog’s Skin, is in regular demand. David lectures on folk music education at the Universities of Newcastle and Durham, and he has authored a collection of choir arrangements of English traditional and political songs. Over the years he has hosted and organized a number of Village Harmony and Northern Harmony visits to the Hexham-Newcastle area, including collaborations with his community choir.

Vahidin Omanovic

Vahidin 2Vahidin Omanovic is the co-founder and co-director of the Center for Peacebuilding in Sanski Most, Bosnia.  He is an Islamic imam, and professional trainer in nonviolent communication with a masters degree in conflict transformation from the School for International Training in Brattleboro, Vermont. Vahidin experienced a personal transformation while participating in interethnic dialogue and trauma healing sessions with an American organization in the 1990’s. He found that reconciliation was the only way forward in his country. He is the recipient of several peace prizes from international organizations. In addition to helping organize this Village Harmony camp, he will teach Sufi chants.

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. Weather she’s teaching American ballads, South African songs and dances or Appalachian clogging, laughter and good times abound. When not on tour with Village Harmony Suzannah can be found singing with the Starry Mountain Singers, leading the Wild Asheville Community Chorus and kicking up her heels with the Green Grass Cloggers.

Caroline Price

Caroline PriceIn her decades of teaching, Caroline Price has built a wonderful singing culture at Elmfield School in Stourbridge.  She has hosted Village Harmony and Northern Harmony there since our first visit in the early 90’s, and working with her eager singers is always a highlight of our UK tours.  Her Stream of Sound choir performs a wide range of world music, including many of her own excellent harmonized arrangements.

Will Thomas Rowan

will-new-photoWILL THOMAS ROWAN is a composer and multi-instrumentalist who began singing with Village Harmony when he was 14. He performs with Windborne, a band made up of Village Harmony alumni, which has toured internationally as part of the State Department’s American Music Abroad program. He is studying for a Masters in Conducting at Bard, and is also an award-winning composer who writes everything from ballads to symphonies. Will helps create exciting folk music, dance, and drama performances with Revels North. Through his travels in Lithuania and encounters with the Trinkūnai family, he has fallen in love with the hypnotic harmonies of singing Sutartinės. This is Will’s seventh year teaching at Village Harmony camp.

Aurelia Shrenker

Aurelia_ShrenkerWith a foundation in classical voice, Aurelia began singing with Village Harmony and Northern Harmony at a young age, which introduced her to the music of various world traditions. She performed as a soloist and with the duo Ash (2009-2011), whose repertoire featured music from Caucasus Georgia, Appalachia, the Balkans and Corsica. A former student of Ethnomusicology at UCLA and NYU, Aurelia has studied Georgian music for the last fifteen years. She spent 2011-2012 in Georgia on a Fulbright Award, recording and documenting traditional music from Eastern Georgia.  Aurelia recently set up an interactive website featuring these recordings. She is currently living with her husband outside of Nice, France.

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 Zimbabweanmakwayera 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. This is Brendan’s sixth time teaching at Village Harmony camps.

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 Spartimu in Ajaccio on nearly every trip we have made to Corsica since 2004, and we will do so again this summer. This will be the second time that Frederic has also traveled up to Canari to teach during our Corsica rehearsal week.

Heidi Wilson

Village HarmonyHeidi Wilson is a singer-songwriter with a passion for sharing songs inspired by and in service to community and the natural world.  She has been leading a cappella singing groups for the last ten years.  Heidi teaches Kid’s Folk Singing courses at the Summit School of Traditional Music and Culture, co-directs the Ollabelles, a women’s vocal ensemble, and leads the Plainfield Community Sing.  This is her fourth year teaching for Village Harmony.