The Village Harmony year group is a collaboration of young musicians, ages 12 and up, based in Vermont, but increasingly including participants from across the U.S. and from many foreign countries as well. During the school year, the ensemble draws singers to central Vermont for two-day weekend rehearsals and local performances, culminating in a two-week-long performing tour. (In the summer, Village Harmony summer camps perform throughout New England and in other countries. Please see the "summer camps" link, above, for details).
Village Harmony is dynamic, joyous, and unfailingly musical. Participants sing from memory with a powerful, well tuned, straight-toned sound. Watching Village Harmony perform is almost as much fun as listening to them. Audiences are unfailingly tickled by their informal and energetic stage presence.
Village Harmony attracts a diverse body of participants; home schoolers from rural Vermont, children from Long Island professional families, sisters from a family of three generations of traditional music performers, students from suburban high schools, and students from as far-flung as Germany, England, Romania Ukraine, and Hong Kong find their way to Vermont to sing together. What these teenagers have in common is their passion for music-making and a commitment to a transcendent musical experience.
Village Harmony is a collaborative choir. At rehearsals, we arrange ourselves in a circle, and everyone is free to offer comments and suggestions on each piece. Because of our small size (usually we attract about 20 participants), every voice truly counts. Leaders sing along with the chorus, and many pieces are performed without a discernable conductor. This structure and process engenders a high degree of engagement with the music, and a strong sense of ownership of the group among all participants.
As Village Harmony is completely unauditioned, we have a wide range of ability in the group, but we have performed extremely difficult renaissance masses by Josquin and Dufay, and challenging contemporary works by Peter Maxwell Davies, Hugo Distler and others. The singers of Village Harmony have not accepted limits to what it is possible to sing. With capable guidance, they readily accomplish what conventional wisdom says should be too difficult. We rarely have "normal" orchestral instrumentation available, but nonetheless have performed baroque works with a fiddle or two, clarinets, saxophones and keyboard with great success.
In past years Village Harmony has performed on Garrison Keillor's Prairie Home Companion and at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. Each year their spring tour takes them somewhere new: to England, to Russia, to the mid-west states, up and down the East Coast, or to Georgia and Alabama, where without fail they are received as one of the most exciting young singing groups of our time.