Instructors & Workshops

Festival of Voices May 7-9, 2021 in Smithers BC

2021 Instructors

Festival of Voices 2021 is thrilled to welcome these SIX exquisitely talented instructors!

Moira Smiley

Singer / Composer, Moira Smiley travels the world creating new works for voices and accompanying her performances with her banjo, accordion, piano, and percussive movement. Her recordings feature spare, vocally-driven collections of warped traditional songs and original polyphony. A vocal polyglot, her voice and compositions have been featured in TED conferences, on BBC Radio and TV, NPR, ABC Australia, and live at countless venues from Lincoln Center to Royal Festival Hall. When she’s not leading her own vocal group, moira smiley & VOCO, Moira has toured with pop artist, tUnE-yArDs; Irish super-group, SOLAS; The Lomax and Folklife Projects; and Billy Childs’ “Laura Nyro Re-Imagined”. Moira premiered her solo album ‘Unzip The Horizon’ at the Savannah Music Festival in 2018, and published it’s companion choral Songbook in 2019.

As a composer, Moira Smiley is known worldwide for choral arrangements like Bring Me Little Water, Silvy and originals, Stand in That River and How Can I Cry. She’s in demand as a commissioned composer, writing multi-movement pieces like Time In Our Voices and In The Desert With You for the Los Angeles Master Chorale, Vonnegut Requiem: Light Perpetual for Voces Novae, Loud My Soul for Ad Astra Festival and Headwaters for The Myrna Loy Theater. The European premiere of Time In Our Voices was performed by the voices and mobile phones of Ars Nova Copenhagen under the direction of Paul Hillier. In 2018-2019 Moira released the album and choral songbook, Unzip The Horizon as companion to her The Voice Is A Traveler solo show. She continues composing and improvising in collaboration with artists in film, video game production, theater and dance, and her work can be heard on feature film soundtracks, BBC & PBS television programs, NPR, and on more than 70 commercial albums. Upcoming premieres and current projects include Greta Sails for youth choir,Utopias for voices and strings, and a re-telling of Ovid’s tale of Narcissus for mobile phones and voices. 

Workshops

Moira’s workshops include Embodying Folk Songs (2-part session) and Wild Wild Voice 

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

Embodying Folk Songs – 2 part session

This workshop starts with 20 minutes of warmups and techniques for healthy singing (that you can record and take home with you!). You’ll then learn thought-provoking arrangements of three gorgeous, rousing songs from Appalachian and Anglo-Celtic traditions. As Moira teaches the harmony parts and simple body percussion in these arrangements, she’ll also discuss the HOW & WHY of style, traditional context, vocal color, ornament and physicality. This workshop is designed to give singers and song leaders tools to confidently approach traditional folk songs. These are tools for solo singers AND/OR any size group of singers! We’ll choose from songs like… Hallelujah: A bright, beautiful shape-note folk-hymn of gratitude John of Dreams: A simple, elegant version of Bill Caddicks exquisite lullaby that has an amazing folk & classical music legacy Devils 9 Questions: Moira’s unique rhythmic approach to enigmatic Child Ballad No. 1

Level 3
(on a difficulty scale of 1 to 5  with 5=most difficult)

Wild Wild Voice 

The human voice has astonishing range and color, and – as with our lungs & brains – we may not use it to its full glory! This fast-paced, fun workshop playfully explodes your assumptions about your own voice. You’ll sing extraordinary parts of unusual traditional songs. Eastern European and Appalachian songs will root you, while call & response, vocal improvising and movement will keep you discovering ever more inventive parts of you. Moira playfully draws out techniques, timbres and styles you always knew were in you as a singer or writer, but maybe hadn’t felt you could bring out! Expect group and individual (optional) singing and sound-making. Parts of the following songs will be learned: Bring Me Little Water, Silvy. I Mor Fe, Dressed In Yellow, Si Verias, Stand in That River, Parting Friends, Oj Jabuko

Level 2.5 
(on a difficulty scale of 1 to 5  with 5=most difficult)

Gideon Crevoshay

Gideon Crevoshay is a musician from the hills of the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. He uses the human voice to explore the countless dimensions of sound, language, and improvisation. Gideon studies traditional and ancient forms of singing from around the world, including the US, Caucasus, and Mediterranean, finding inspiration in the wisdom contained within these traditions and how they can inform present ideas of music-making and community. He performs, records, and tours extensively with many projects including Tenores de Aterúe, Mosaïc, Sempervirens, Starry Mountain Singers, Cambridge Revels, and Briars of North America. Gideon is a member of the international music collective Found Sound Nation and has facilitated its international music festival, OneBeat, since its inception in 2012, having also co-led projects in Turkey, Russia, and the Balkans. He teaches polyphonic singing throughout the US and abroad, both independently and with the world music organization Village Harmony. Gideon is also a composer and is currently working on scoring an immersive film installation to be shown in Brooklyn, NY in 2020.

Workshops

Gideon’s workshops include Sacred Music (2-part session) and The Voice as Improviser

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

Sacred Music – 2 part session

Each one of these genres could be its own class, but I thought this might be an interesting way to introduce many different styles. “In this class, we will sing a wide array of sacred music spanning the 13th-19th centuries: monophonic chant, organum, the Latin mass from different traditions and schools, Corsican, Sardinian, Georgian, lining-out hymns, Shaker, and American shape-note.

Level 4 
(on a difficulty scale of 1 to 5  with 5=most difficult)

The Voice as Improviser 

We will explore the voice as an infinite sound maker and begin with deep listening and meditation exercises that open up people’s ears to the possibilities of their voice. Throughout the class, several music theory concepts, improvisation tools (including sound painting) and extended techniques will be introduced. We will also develop a few improvised pieces together. This will be a chance to take risks and play!

Level 3
(on a difficulty scale of 1 to 5  with 5=most difficult)

Thea Neuman

Neumann’s foray into the jazz arena began with the release of First Time Out in 2004 which she recorded with the Grant McEwan Jazz Band, an official outfit of the University of Alberta. From there, Neumann became the lead vocalist for the Rodney Whitaker’s Jazz Band at Michigan State University and went on to perform at the 2006 Detroit Jazz Festival, SXSW Festival and several Canadian Folk Festivals. Steadily, Neumann generated recognition as a jazz vocalist with the class and spunk that her brethren could admire and emulate. “Instead of being in love with the vibe of a forgotten sound from years ago, Neumann is doing what any self respecting artist should do and that is push the music forward.” (B. Black, Critical Jazz) Her latest release is with the boys from her band, “Lady and the Tramps,’ wherein Neumann’s renditions pulsate with the heart of a true jazz troubadour and the deftness to deliver scat with the genuineness of its harbingers. (S. Frances, Yahoo). Whether Thea is swinging on stage, playing fiery gypsy jazz guitar with the award winning Hot Club of Edmonton Quintet or teaching voice and yoga at her studio, Thea’s drive to create is somethin’ else. Her star is just beginning to rise.

Workshops

Thea’s workshops include Scat-Diddly-At like a Pro! (2-part session) and Singing the Blues

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

Scat-Diddly-At like a Pro! – 2 part session

Explore your voice as an instrument and join the musical conversation! Learn the basics of how to improvise with your voice, known in the Jazz world as ‘scatting.’

Level 3
(on a difficulty scale of 1 to 5  with 5=most difficult)

Singing the Blues

From Field Hollers and Spirituals , to Jazz and Rock n Roll, The Blues is at the core of North American traditional and modern music. Explore the blues with Thea, Colin and Jake.

Level 2.5 
(on a difficulty scale of 1 to 5  with 5=most difficult)

Marian Rose

A lifelong love of the accordion and a more recent love affair with the clarinet have led Marian to explore many styles of music beyond the prairie polkas and waltzes that she grew up with – French, Quebecois, Klezmer, New England and Appalachian fiddle tunes – plus the folk dances that go with all these styles. She is a well-respected contra and square-dance caller and has taught folk dance to children and their families in over 300 schools across Canada. To encourage classroom teachers to incorporate music and dance into their curriculum, Marian has produced a series of books and cd’s, the most recent of which is a bilingual resource for French immersion classrooms.

‘I strongly believe that singing and moving together to music is a healing, joyful experience much needed in the world today.’

For further information, see www.marianrose.com

Workshops

Marian’s workshops include A Little Song and Dance (2 part session) and Round and Round

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

A Little Song and Dance – 2 part session

Over the centuries, in many cultures around the world, people have danced to the sound of their own voices – sometimes because there were no musicians in the vicinity, sometimes because dancing was forbidden by cultural or religious tradition, sometimes for the pure joy of singing and dancing at the same time. Some of the dances and song games in this session will be childishly easy, and others will challenge your multiple intelligences.

Level 2 
(on a difficulty scale of 1 to 5  with 5=most difficult)

Round and Round

A delightful session of rounds old and new, easy and devilish. Some of these go well with dances or movement games, so come prepared to move a bit, too.

Level 1.5
(on a difficulty scale of 1 to 5  with 5=most difficult)

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Dance for All (not a workshop)

On Saturday evening, Marian will lead a session of dances for everyone, some that were taught in the earlier sessions and others just for the plain joy of dancing together. If you’re a musician and pick up tunes easily by ear, you’re welcome to join the band.

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.

Workshops

Colin’s workshops include Dissolving Dissonance and accompanying Thea & Jake with Sing the Blues

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

Dissolving Dissonance

Getting familiar with the unfamiliar. A series of fun exercises and songs which explore dense chords, syncopated rhythms and unusual time signatures from a variety of choral and jazz traditions.

Level 3
(on a difficulty scale of 1 to 5  with 5=most difficult)

Jake Jenne

I was born and raised in the small Northern town of Smithers BC. Smithers was a unique place and I know my approach to music is largely shaped by growing up in such an odd little rural community. I was lucky enough to have a pair of musician parents to help me decide on clear career path at quite a young age, but nonetheless, I still had to reach out and be creative with finding the opportunities I needed to grow as a musician within such a small setting. Smithers’ challenge of its isolation was hard but it also allowed me to play with extremely innovative and creative musicians such as Alex Cuba, Jordy Walker and Oliver Schroer.
 
After graduation I studied saxophone at VIU with Phil Dwyer, drums at the Victoria Conservatory of Music with Damian Graham, and I had a few eye opening drum lessons privately in Toronto with Nick Fraser. Through these opportunities I developed my Jazz proficiency, but of equal importance, it sent me searching for a more current innovative music to compliment the limitations of classic jazz. Some of the music I found was that of John Tielli and playing with his then Metal Kites, working in the choir of The Hidden Cameras, drumming for Snowblink as well as Dan Goldman’s other project Luxury Pond, and working with ex-Rheostatics drummer Dave Clark in his Woodchopper’s Association. This time in Toronto allowed me to explore the beautiful and complicated realm of free improvisation and find peace with simplistic and deliberate playing. Since this period I have been touring though I also find employment through, session work, arranging music for choir, teaching music (both private lessons as well as organizing and running drum and choral workshops groups), coaching, and arranging.

Workshops

Jake’s workshops include Dissolving Dissonance and accompanying Thea & Colin with Sing the Blues

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

Dissolving Dissonance

Getting familiar with the unfamiliar. A series of fun exercises and songs which explore dense chords, syncopated rhythms and unusual time signatures from a variety of choral and jazz traditions.

Level 3
(on a difficulty scale of 1 to 5  with 5=most difficult)

— 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