In January Joe Craven and his wife Pamella asked me to be a teacher for their newest creative arts endeavor, and I said, “YES!”
I had no idea what they were cooking up, but I knew if the Craven Family was involved there would be magic in the recipe. “We want to do a weekend retreat that is all about expressing ourselves through VOICE,” Joe explained. “No focus on instrumentation, just that instrument that we all carry with us: The Human Voice.” Then Pamella said, “We’re thinking about calling it Vocàli Camp.”
Soon they called back to let me know that two other people had said, “Yes.” Inga Swearingen, a Central Coast vocal stylist, and Sam Rogers, a beat-box virtuoso and Bay Area boy (now a Salt Lake City transplant) from a very musical family.
Over the next three months we emailed, talked and had video chats. Along the way we struggled through our little insecurities about taking on this brand new project. In addition, we all had very busy performance and workshop schedules elsewhere. But slowly Vocàli Camp took form. Each of began to get excited about what we could offer collectively.
So, this weekend (April 28th to May 1st, 2016) Vocàli is in concert with much singing, playing with our voices and rhythms, poetry and storytelling. Under the tall pines and cedars of Pinecrest’s Camp Sylvester, 35 people are gathered from all over the Western U.S! Each of us focused on our own special interests and skills. I enjoyed teaching Improv Ice-Breakers on the the first night. Then I did two workshops on beginning storytelling on Friday morning. Inga is teaching us about creating harmonies and free-range singing. Sam’s taking us through rich exercises in creating poly-rhythms, and much more.
Along the way we are guided by Joe Craven’s magic wand and Pamella’s magic SPOON as she mixes up good food, filled with her love and blessings. And Hattie Craven is on hand, too, with her angelic voice, great willingness to help in the kitchen, and the offer of delightful massages and braids to anyone who will accept. Just say, “YES!”
Keep watch for next year’s Vocàli. It will be another delicious and magic-filled weekend to explore the power of the human voice and our capacity to come together as one great choir.