Village Harmony

Winter Weekend at Lake Morey – Fri-Sun, Feb. 24 – 26, 2017

Date: February 24-26, 2017
Venue: Hulbert Center
Leaders: Larry Gordon, Mary Cay Brass, Will Thomas Rowan
Price: $175-$320

In New England our ever popular, twelfth annual winter weekend will be held at the Hulbert Center in northeastern Vermont, its expansive grounds offering opportunities for cross-country skiing as well as ice skating on Lake Morey.

Mary Cay Brass will share a cornucopia of songs from her life- long love of music from the Balkans. From Macedonia she will teach dance songs, love songs, wedding songs and ritual songs sung in complex meters accompanied by accordion  From Bosnia, she will draw from some new arrangements of achingly beautiful love songs called “sevdalinka”, a tradition stemming from the time of the Ottoman Empire; as well as dynamic two part flirtatious love songs for women sung in a strident style with tight, crunchy harmonies. Mary Cay will also teach several songs from the Croatian Adriatic coastal tradition called “klapa” four-part songs (some with accompanying dances!) about the sea, the beautiful landscape, good wine, and, of course, love. And finally, a song or two from Vojvodina, part of north Serbia, with a vivacious Hungarian flare.
In addition to some of his original compositions, Will Rowan will teach Lithuanian songs and sutartines. The ancient polyphonic singing tradition of sutartines translates as singing in “agreement” and imitates the sound of a flock of birds.  The topics and functions of sutartinės encompass almost all known Lithuanian folk song genres—work, calendar cycle ritual, wedding, family, wartime, historic, etc. Melodies of sutartinės are not complex, containing two to five pitches, but the parts overlap, sometimes in three part canons, and the resulting sound is quite hypnotic.  The melodies are symmetrical, consisting of two equal-length parts; rhythms are typically syncopated, and the distinctly articulated refrains give them a driving quality.
Village Harmony founder Larry Gordon will teach several South African songs and dances, some new and traditional shape-note songs, and a couple of renaissance numbers.  He and Will together will teach some Corsican songs.  He will also lead dancing each evening.

Accommodations at Hulbert Center are largely quadruple rooms with some double rooms available. Cabins are winterized and cozy. Commuters are welcome.

$240 per person in 4-person shared bunk room
$320 per person for a double room
$200 special teen price
$175 for commuters

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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.

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.

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.


Hulbert Center

HOC Cabin BedroomAccommodations at Hulbert Center are largely quadruple rooms with some double rooms available. Cabins are winterized and cozy. Commuters are welcome.

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