Shaker Song Invitational

Saturday July 22 from 10-4p in Gouldsboro, ME
Sunday July 23 from 10-1p and 5-9p in Blue Hill and Stonington 

Featuring George Emlen, Kaity Newell, Shepsi Eaton, Willy Clementson, Bennett Konesni and YOU!

Have you ever wondered what Shaker songs are out there beyond “Simple Gifts”? Over the course of this weekend, a handful of great New England Songleaders will share and teach a collection of original Shaker songs with participants, in a simple and unadorned style inspired by Shaker aesthetics and sensibilities. These will include an emphasis on early Shaker wordless songs and other songs from the repertoire that are particularly accessible to all singers.

Our aim in this weekend is to create a small chorus of professional and complete amateur singers to learn new (old) shaker songs. It will be less about being “instructed” on how to sing, and more about creating a small group of mixed voices that will sing these songs together, mostly in unison, at a final concert. Each of our song leaders will bring 2-3 songs and teach them to the group, aiming for a final set of about a dozen songs. We hope participants will then take them back to their home communities and share them more broadly. This will be quite a special and rare small group experience. We expect not more than a handful of participants. Welcome!

Day 1 of this weekend will be held from 10a to 4p on Saturday July 22 at Darthia Farm in Gouldsboro, where we’ll be learning in the barn of a working horsepowered farm, which is inspired by Shaker simplicity. Please BYO lunch.

Then on Sunday July 23rd we’ll gather from 10a to 1p to polish them up at Bagaduce Music, or if we can get into the Burnt Cove Church early enough, we may meet and sing there. At 1p we’ll break for folks to go grab lunch and take some personal time.

That evening at 5p we’ll have a little Salon for supporters to Bagaduce Music explaining our process/progress, followed by a full concert for the general public at 7p in Burnt Cove Church in Stonington, Maine.



Song leaders will include:

George Emlen

George W. Emlen is a conductor, composer, arranger, songleader and music educator in Maine and Massachusetts. For 32 years he was music director of Revels, a Boston-based, national performing arts organization best known for annual performances of The Christmas Revels, a rich and joyful celebration of the winter solstice.

A graduate of Dartmouth College, George earned an advanced degree in choral conducting at the New England Conservatory. In Maine he founded and conducted the Acadia Choral Society, while also conducting the Oratorio Chorale and the Mount Desert Summer Chorale. George has been on the faculty of the New England Conservatory, where he directed the Conservatory Camerata; Lesley University in the Creative Arts in Learning program; the College of the Atlantic, and the University of Maine. He also taught and conducted at Noble and Greenough School and was music director at the Putney School.

In recent years George has worked with Bobby McFerrin in the vocal improvisatory genre of Circlesinging, which he incorporates into his conducting and teaching. He currently teaches a leadership course (“Conducting Your Chorus”) at the Harvard Kennedy School for senior executives in state and local public office.

George’s compositions and arrangements are published by Lawson-Gould, Thorpe, Lorenz/Sacred Music Press, and Redwing Press.

Kaity Newell

Kaity teaches music in Damariscotta and at Maine Fiddle Camp and has sung and played in many classic Maine groups. A celebrated elder in the Maine folk music community, Kaity is actually a native of Great Britain, and has brought many a fine song from the British Isles to our local community. She also plays viola in the local community orchestra, and fiddle in dance bands across the state.

Molly Gawler

Molly Gawler is a mother, dancer, musician in the local Downeast Maine area. She grew up with traditional roots music learning fiddle, banjo and many songs from her mom and dad; Ellen and John Gawler. Alongside her sisters, Edith and Elsie Gawler, they form a trio called the Gawler Sisters performing and offering music bringing joy to all occasions. Molly Gawler went to school for ballet and modern dance earning a BFA at SUNY Purchase and danced professionally with Pilobolus Dance Theater touring the world. She has her own one woman show of original choreography called Droplet Dance. In the realm of singing, Molly has had the pleasure of entering in to various circles: Village Harmony, Gawler Family Band, Childsplay, Circle Songs and Lullabies (at Bagaduce Music) Bennett Konesni Worksong Chorus, Misty Mountain Singers, Bay School, Georgian Music, Kirtan with Shepsi Eaton, Schootic Arts for All, Maine Fiddle Camp, and good ol’ bingbongers in the kitchen. She is mother to Mica (age 2) and Caspian (age 5) and lives in a wooden yurt in Orland, Maine with her beloved husband Lao and their dog named Acadia.

Shepsi Eaton

With roots singing Georgian music and having studied and practiced the Indian Devotional Music Kirtan for almost two decades, Shepsi brings familiarity to spiritual practice that is outside mainstream christianity.  As a farmer devoted to balancing simplicity and complexity in search of “source” on his farm, Darthia Farm, in Gouldsboro, Maine, he is a perfect leader to include in this invitational.

Willy Clementson

A veteran of acclaimed singing groups Village Harmony and Northern Harmony, and an acolyte of legendary New England Singer Larry Gordon, Willy Clementson has distinguished himself with his peaceful and powerful approach to singing with attention to detail balanced by his powerful sense of connection to people and music. 

Bennett Konesni

Director of Bagaduce Music, Bennett has studied and practiced worksongs such as sea shanties, farmer’s hollers, and lumbercamp ballads since he was a teenager working aboard schooners on the coast of Maine. He has been featured by the Library of Congress for his Mighty Worksong Community Chorus, and has been a Special Envoy in Traditional Music to Ukraine and Mongolia for the US Department of State. He counts such classic Maine bands as Old Gray Goose and The Gawler Family as experience, and can be found singing on his garlic farm in Belfast when not running Bagaduce Music.  



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