Instructors & Workshops

Festival of Voices May 4-6, 2018 in Smithers BC

2018 Instructors

Festival of Voices 2018 is thrilled to welcome these SIX exquisitely talented instructors!

Patti Powell

Patti grew up with a significant stutter, which made speaking up in public a difficult experience. However, there was no difficulty in singing – a liberating revelation. This liberation brings joy and belonging with it, and she believes everyone has a right to this, as part of being human. If you have a pulse, and breathe (even only occasionally!), she believes singing is for YOU.

A graduate of the Community Choir Leadership Training program in Victoria, Patti has been bringing the joy of singing to many ordinary folks through her four community choirs since 2006. Her charisma, natural high energy leadership skills and warm personality bring an atmosphere of cheerful community spirit to the choirs.
She also sings in the popular ‘City Soul Choir’ and in the acapella quartet ‘What It Is!’.


Patti’s workshops include Harmony is Fun and Songs for Living together (2-part session)

Patti's Workshop Descriptions (click this bar to view / hide)

Harmony is Fun

Have you ever wanted to find a short song that is easy to learn and share with friends? Patti will teach tunes you can take home and share with your communities to bring song and ritual back into your life.We’ll learn simple 2 and 3 and sometimes 4-part rounds, grooves and chants that you can enjoy with anyone in your communities who loves to sing.

Songs for Living together – 2 part

Humans have used songs to survive, to thrive and to sustain us through grief and pain. We need new songs to bring us through the times we are living in! We will learn songs for birthing, growing, loving, working, making change, dying and sustaining our spirits thru this era. Patti will teach tunes to take home with you to use in your lives and to share with your communities, to bring song and ritual back in to life at work and home and the world.

Samantha Taylor

is a versatile and engaging singer, choir director, songwriter, arranger, and voice teacher. She directs three community choirs in Vancouver and the Fraser Valley and teaches workshops on group harmony singing, vocal improvisation, embodied singing techniques and world vocal musics. She holds a BFA in Theatre Performance and an MA in Ethnomusicology. Samantha is the co-founder/artistic director of Estuarium Arts Company and a founding member of the acclaimed female sextet, the Shirleys. Emphasizing experiential learning and oral tradition, Samantha’s approach is widely accessible and inspires whole-hearted participation from people with all levels of musical experience.


Sam’s workshops include Vocal Improvisation and In the Oral Tradition (2-part session)

Sam's Workshop Descriptions (click this bar to view / hide)


Discover the joy and the fun of vocal improvisation! We will take a curious and playful approach as we explore spontaneous vocal music. Improvisation structures and exercises will be introduced and applied as useful tools in shaping the creative process. This accessible approach will benefit soloists, ensemble singers and composers alike.

In the Oral Tradition – 2 part session

Immerse yourself in the music as we learn a cappella songs in the oral tradition. We will be working without sheet music, developing a whole body approach to listening and discovering fresh ways of learning new music in community with others.

Karla Mundy

is a vibrant, soulful and diverse vocalist, pianist, arranger and choir leader. Karla directs the Harmony Mountain Singers (North Van), Rhythm ‘n’ Roots (East Van), EarthSounds (Bowen Island) and the Island Soul Choir (Vancouver Island). She loves leading harmony singing workshops and has taught at GSGW, Voiceworks, Beyond Trad, Sing Smithers, VIMW, SongRoots and at many choir and work retreats. Karla is the founder of SongRoots and is the main organizer of many vocal workshops, retreats, camps and singing/study trips. She is very passionate about providing opportunities for people to sing in harmony and learn about their voices and music in a fun, encouraging and inclusive environment. As a performer, Karla is a founding member of the No Sh!t Shirleys, TriVo, Cleia, Plough, The Tanglewood Trio and she released her first solo CD called ‘Way Back’ in 2012.


Karla’s workshops include Appalachian and Eastern European Sampler (2-part session)

Karla's Workshop Descriptions (click this bar to view / hide)


In this introductory exploration of the sound, style and harmonies of a rich singing tradition, we will explore the high lonesome sound, tight stacked harmonies, slides, scoops and even a yodel!

Eastern European Sampler – 2 part session

In this class we will sample some of the beautiful and unique styles of harmony singing from Croatia, Georgia, Bulgaria and Estonia. We will stretch our harmonic ears and delight in the magic of a good drone!

Jennifer Scott

is a singer and pianist born in Vancouver, BC, Canada. Specializing in jazz, blues, and world music, she is considered one of the more important jazz artists working in Canada and the United States today. As well as performing, she writes and arranges jazz and pop tunes. Her CDs contain a combination of original tunes, arrangements, and traditional numbers. She also appears on many CBC recordings and has performed with several musicians both live and in studio.


Jennifer’s workshops include Blues Odyssey! and Latin American Music (2-part session)

Jennifer's Workshop Descriptions (click this bar to view / hide)

Singing the Blues

Using examples from artists like Rev. Gary Davis to Alberta Hunter to Ray Charles and beyond, we will do an overview of cool repertoire, techniques and LOTS of singing together to get the feel of what makes the blues such a wonderful thing to explore.

South American Music – 2 part session

Working with rhythms, melody and harmony we will explore the wonderful world of Latin music and all this entails. We will learn a new Latin rhythmic and musical genre and then explore repertoire. We will learn both solo and ensemble songs exploring basic vocal/hand percussion, idiomatic nuances, beautiful melodies, harmonies and language (Portuguese, Spanish & English). Join me as we discover the music of Brazil.

Colin Maskell

loves making, teaching and sharing music. He’s traveled the world (New York, New Orleans, Nepal, India, England, Scotland, Africa, and all over Canada) with an ear to the sounds and experiences that permeate the social landscapes. During his performance career Colin has been involved in countless jazz and world music projects. He teaches from a jazz perspective and has worked as a mentor for stage bands, concert bands, and small groups.

Jake Jenne

has been playing and singing since he was 2 years old and as a teen had the opportunity to be mentored by Oliver Schroer, Daniel Lapp and Jordy Walker. He is a passionate teacher and a sensitive and soulful musician. Jake is presently working as a touring drummer, most recently with Alex Cuba and The Aerialists. In addition he keeps busy with workshops, retreats, and teaching.


Colin & Jake’s workshop: Jazz Rhythms and all that Scat

Colin & Jake's Workshop Description (click this bar to view / hide)

Jazz rhythms and all that scat

Is specifically designed to help you connect more intimately with rhythm and incorporate rhythmic diversity into section grooves, doubling, harmonizing, and any other activity requiring rhythmic precision including scat singing. Participants will learn to sing on upbeats rather than downbeats and incorporate these techniques into solo and ensemble performance.

Festival of Voices 2016 was sponsored by

— voices from the festival —


The Festival of Voices is the best place to learn new music, meet new friends, build skills and build community. The instructors are amazing and I came away full of inspiration and new ideas to try. The sense of community, especially when singing gospel songs together, was uplifting!

~ emily bulmer


— voices from the festival —



What an exciting and encouraging weekend! I have learned SO MUCH and am going home stoked to SING!

~ joanne vinnedge


— voices from the festival —


What more could I ask for? A weekend of singing with all my dear friends and meeting new people! It renews my soul and flushes out winter's cobwebs. The beautiful weather and venue was the icing on the cake!

~ ingunn reinsbakken


— voices from the festival —


What an exceptionally well-organized and fun event. The clinicians had a great diversity of skills and talents to share. They co-facilitated the large group sessions seamlessly with great energy and humour and the smaller group sessions were a great opportunity to explore a variety of musical styles and techniques. 

~ emma tius


— voices from the festival —


This weekend was very healing for me, bringing some much-needed joyful balance into my life.... I feel the voice is a tool for healing and mobilizing energy. I have a renewed heart to take back to my community. It was very thoughtfully organized by a great group of people. The artists were amazing.

~ cheri reidy