Helen just returned home from six weeks of singing with Village Harmony. Village Harmony runs teen camps each summer where the kids spend 7 days in rehearsal learning traditional music from around the world and then go on tour for 2 weeks. Here's how one person describes it:
The concert is about to end. Twenty-three mostly barefoot teenagers grab at each others’ hands and bow, sweaty and tired, intensely pleased with themselves. They grin broadly as New Englanders of every age rise to their feet in the old wooden church building, applauding, whistling, ululating.
A note is sounded above the din and the young singers launch into a South African dance song, stilling the crowd long enough to allow them to make their way down the aisles to take a final ovation from the back of the building.
As the young people, unleashed, dive into the crowd or escape outside, you remain rooted in your pew a bit longer, shaken to the core by what you’ve just witnessed. Where did that conviction come from, that powerful centered sound you never expected to hear from an amateur—let alone a teenage—choir. Look around; other moist eyes and stunned expressions tell you that you aren’t the the only one who sensed that something life-changing has just happened among the singers—and has been shared with the audience.
In Helen's first session she worked with 3 composers from Russia, the Ukraine, and Vermont. They sang gospel tunes, danced traditional Russian circle dances, and sang Ukrainian tunes. Best of all, she spent 3 weeks singing with her cousin. Helen solos in this video. It was her first time soloing.
In the second session (with different kids and composers) she learned to clog, sang a beautiful Appalachian lullaby, and sang songs from ancient Occident.
For all you knitters, to me Village Harmony is the Peace Fleece of music. Groups go to South Africa, Macedonia, Georgia, Russia and meet with villagers to learn music. They bring it back and share it throughout New England. Now, if only the kids all knit too :)