Singing the Spirit

Workshops in sacred song from many traditions led by Denis Donnelly

 This workshop gives people an opportunity to sing, in a non-threatening and informal environment, spiritual songs and chants originating throughout the world. The music is as diverse as the words, with the celebration of the spirit manifest in many different ways, from joyful and playful to reflective and meditative.

Denis will lead the singers through a range of songs. Many will be taught aurally, in the same way as they are passed from generation to generation in their communities of origin. Other songs will be taught from printed music, although previous experience in music-reading is not necessary. Denis will teach all songs by ear, with the printed music serving mainly as an aid to the ear and to the memory.

The music to be sung will include such as the following:

·        native American chants;

·        Gospel songs and Spirituals from North America;

·        songs and rounds from Jewish traditions;

·        songs and chants from the Celtic/Gaelic world;

·        early Christian chants and simple polyphonic pieces;

·        harmonized chants from Islamic and Sufi traditions;

·        uplifting spiritual songs from sub-Saharan Africa;

·        songs from Polynesian traditions;

·        arrangements, settings, and adaptations of chants, prayers, and blessings from all over.

In this, as is in his other workshops, Denis will very carefully adjust the pace so that everyone feels included in the learning process. It is important that no-one be left behind, and that all have the opportunity to experience the underlying joy and peace that permeates this amazing music.

No prior singing experience is necessary to enjoy these workshop. Denis just asks that you come with a desire to sing and participate fully. When the group is divided into four parts for harmony, if anyone is not sure where they fit, he will work with them to make sure that they are comfortable.

Singing the Spirit works well in several flexible formats, including the following:

·        as a weekend workshop with sessions on Saturday morning, afternoon, and Sunday afternoon;

·        as a day-long workshop with a break in the middle for lunch;

·        as a morning, afternoon, or evening workshop of two to four hours duration;

·        as a series of evening workshops over consecutive days or weeks.

In the longer workshops it is often very satisfying to have an informal “presentation” of the songs learned by the participants to family and friends. This would happen in the last half-hour or so of the last session.

The cost of presenting Singing the Spirit  varies according to the number of paid attendees, in order that the sponsoring organization does not have to take undue financial risks. Details are available upon request.