Bongani Magatyana is a professional music director /composer /theatrical producer living in Khayelitsha township in Cape Town, South Africa. He was born in Cape Town in a township called Old Crossroads; his father was a self-taught choir conductor in the Old Apostolic Church. A very popular composer, his folk-inspired choral compositions—popular pieces for South Africa’s major choral competitions—are sung by choirs around South Africa and internationally. Last year Bongani directed African musical " Songs of this Soil " for Artscape theatre and composed/directed an African musical "Finding David "for Capetown Opera .This year Bongani composing music/directing an African musical called "People of Nyalashishi" a musical about Xhosa and San people and is working on a new commission by Capetown Opera company. Bongani's first love is leading South African folk music workshops. He has been teaching around the world -Norway ,U.K. , Germany, the Netherlands and USA. This will be Bongani's first time teaching in Canada.
Brian Tate is an award-winning Vancouver-born (now living in Victoria) composer/arranger and popular choral clinician and choral director. He is music director of Vancouver’s 100-voice City Soul Choir and taught singing and choir at for 22 years at Studio 58, Langara College's professional theatre school. Brian performs as a jazz vocalist and also performs with Dawn Pemberton and Karla Mundy in the world music a cappella vocal trio “TriVo”. Brian has had a lifelong interest in music of the African Diaspora, and has travelled and studied in Cuba and West Africa. He frequently gives choir workshops and is in demand internationally as a clinician and workshop leader. Brian is a passionate advocate of life-long music-making at all levels.
Coco Love Alcorn is the queen of the collaboration, the gel of the jam. Her shows are an invitation to connect, an invitation to sing, and an invitation to be swept away by great melody, catchy lyrics and winning performances. Her career has spanned over 20 years, 10 albums, cross-Canada tours and award nominations. Coco will be teaching songwriting and improv at SongRoots this year. “Coco is the ultimate musical spark plug... an electrical connector through which the creative energy flows. In my 30 years of touring around the world, I have never seen another performer able to bring people together like Coco does.” - James Keelaghan - Artistic Director, Summerfolk and renowned Canadian singer/songwriter.
Vibrant, genuine and soulful, Dawn has deep musical roots that take her powerful voice from gospel and soul to jazz, funk and world music. She has become a staple of the Vancouver music scene and can often be found tearin’ it up as a vocalist, teacher, facilitator, adjudicator, choir director and “go to girl” for live performances and studio sessions. She currently directs Roots ‘N’ Wings Women’s Choir and teaches masterclasses and workshops all over Canada. A passionate educator and performer, Dawn approaches music with a sense of adventure, quirkiness, and serious groove and shapes it into her own unique and dynamic package. Tight, expressive and bold, Dawn will hit you where it counts, funk you up and make you say “Go ‘head!”
Jennifer Scott is a singer and pianist born in Vancouver, BC, Canada. She specializes in jazz, blues, and world music. She is considered one of the more important jazz artists working in Canada and the United States today. As well as being a performer, she arranges and writes jazz and pop tunes, with several CDs containing a combination of original tunes, tunes she has arranged, and more traditional tunes. She has also appeared on many CBC recordings and has worked with many other musicians both live and in studio.
Jenny Lester is a dynamic Bluegrass performer and recording artist who has established herself as an important singer/songwriter and multi instrumentalist. Her original songs are carefully crafted in the bluegrass convention while displaying a contemporary freshness and that breathes new life into the fabled “high lonesome” sound. She studied at South Plains College in Texas and has three Golden Reel awards.
Karla Mundy is a vibrant, soulful and diverse vocalist, pianist, arranger and choir leader. Karla directs Rhythm ‘n’ Roots and Harmony Mountain Singers in Vancouver, the Island Soul Choir on Vancouver Island and EarthSounds on Bowen Island. Karla leads harmony singing workshops throughout BC and organizes many singing camps, workshops and singing study trips abroad. Karla is a founding member of the No Sh!t Shirleys, TriVo, Cleia, Plough, Tanglewood Trio and Big Whoop! Karla is passionate about teaching harmony singing, getting the music off the page and digging deep into new musical territory. She released her first solo CD called ‘Way Back’ in 2012 and is a Mom!
Michael Creber is one of the West Coast’s most sought-after musicians, both onstage and in the recording studio. A Grammy-nominated producer, and a Juno award winner, his career as a keyboardist, composer, teacher and producer embraces many areas of music including jazz, rock, gospel and R&B. He has performed and recorded with kd lang, Raffi, the Rankin Sisters, Petula Clark, David Foster, Shirley Bassey, Powder Blues, John Sebastian, Cyndi Lauper, Dee Daniels, Phil Nimmons and many others. During the last few years, Michael has kept busy writing scores for film and television, producing CDs, teaching, and keeping up a full performance schedule. Michael has three albums of original music which have been featured on CBC Radio’s nationally broadcast JazzBeat, and on Vancouver’s Hot Air.
Sophie Michaux was born in London, raised in the French Alps, and now based in Cambridge MA (USA). Although she focuses on classical music, her versatility and musical curiosity have brought her to be an active performer in many repertoires including French Cabaret songs, English Sea Shanties, as well as a variety of world polyphonies: in 2014 and 2017, she toured the U.S and Europe with Northern Harmony, an ensemble that is renowned for its command of varied world ethnic singing styles from the Balkans, the Republic of Georgia, South Africa and the US. She is the founding member of Sophie et Adam, a folk music duet with guitarist and singer Adam Jacob Simon, and of Culomba, a world music ensemble with Adam Simon (Voice, Guitar, Double Bass), and Lysander Jaffe (Voice, Violin), Sora Harris-Vincent (voice and Shruti box), and Avery Sherman (voice) . She has also explored the Yiddish song repertoire, with performances at the Goethe Institute for the Anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprise and the celebration of musical wealth in the Vilna and Łódź Ghettos during WWII.
Admin and SongRoots Team Extraordinaire!
Ali Romanow is a multi-instrumentalist and music educator based in British Columbia. Competent on a variety of instruments Ali also brings her captivating vocals, original writing and arranging to whatever project she is currently focused on. Ali spends her time in Courtenay BC, where she directs the FolkHarmonic Orchestra.
Wendy is passionate about all aspects of music – organizing workshops, teaching, collaborating, and playing. From her living room to being onstage to time in the studio, Wendy sings, plays guitar, accordion, upright bass, ukulele and fiddle. She plays a broad variety of genres, ranging from Celtic, folk, gypsy jazz, Brazilian choro, to French café music, and western swing. Wendy has the great pleasure of teaching accordion, guitar, ukulele and fiddle to kids of all ages in Courtenay, BC.
Wendy Knudson and Ali Romanow help out with many aspects of SongRoots. One of their important roles is that of 'Float Crew' with Bob Romanow! These three people get us all on and off of Gambier Island!
Karla Mundy started SongRoots in July 2013 and is beyond thrilled at how this dream has taken root and is growing. After going to (and loving) many music camps and workshops, Karla thought it would be wonderful to have an all vocal camp in Western Canada. At most of the camps that Karla went to, there would be large overflowing and happy singing classes and she could imagine that a whole camp dedicated to singing would be wonderful. SongRoots is a chance to dig deeper, expand repertoire and styles and focus solely on the voice with others who love to sing in an intensive setting on a beautiful island away from our busy daily lives! Karla loves the sense of community that has emerged from SongRoots and is delighted by the musical and personal growth that happens every year during (and beyond) these 5 magical days in July!
CLASS ONE (CLASSES FROM 2018 - new classes will be posted soon for 2019)
‘The Next Level’ Performance Masterclass w/ Dawn Pemberton and Michael Creber (max 8 singers)
Ready to explore the edges of your artistic boundaries? In a fun, curious and supportive environment we will dig deeper and play with the elements that help create electrifying performances.This masterclass is open to singers of all levels and styles. We will learn some fantastic tools to enhance your stage presence and delivery, solo chops, free your voice, build your confidence, inspire your musicality and refine your overall performance techniques. All participants must come prepared to sing one song and must bring a leadsheet/chart or sheet music in their key.
Singing the Spirit w/ Brian Tate (max 18 singers)
Corsican Traditional Polyphony w/ Gideon Crevoshay (no limit)
Corsican polyphonic singing, which is traditionally sung with 3-4 voices (bassu, segunda, and terms), is an ancient singing style very distinctive to this Mediterranean island. In this class, we will learn both sacred and secular pieces, and how the voice parts fit together to create beautiful tension and resolution. We will also spend time learning the basics of unique Corsican ornamentation. There will be full group sessions, and small ensemble time to really dig into the dynamic nature of true polyphony
Blues! w/ Jennifer Scott (max 20 singers)
Jazz and Swing Choir w/ Dale Rasmussen (max 20 singers)
Join us as we dive in and sing fabulous vocal jazz harmony. We'll sing unique, “spicy" vocal arrangements that challenge your voice, train your ear and expand your understanding of vocal harmony’s unlimited possibilities. Everyone will get a chance to sing harmony parts, with voicings that tantalize and draw in the listener, including extended 7th voicings, 13ths and beyond. It promises to be a fun, fascinating and rewarding session for singers who love great songs. We'll also focus on the blending and shaping that goes into pulling off these fantastic vocal parts. Being comfortable with basic harmonizing and some music-reading ability will be helpful in this class.
Bluegrass Harmony w/ Jenny Lester and Karla Mundy (no limit)
Bluegrass Harmony is a language and process that enable three singers to create a full, lush, three-part sound. Early in bluegrass, circa 1940, Bill Monroe borrowed the choral terms of tenor and baritone to refer to harmony that reacted directly in relation to the melody and chord progression. This year in the Bluegrass Harmony class we will cover some history, context and timeline and listen to recordings of influential singers to identify qualities of style. We will walk through the process of building three part harmony and focus in on several artists and see how they used harmonies in their music. This is an excellent class for you to build your discerning ear and knowledge of how to craft harmony lines for songs across different genres. Strong bluegrass singers are able to hold their parts individually, so we will provide lots of opportunity to practice in trios.
Mining for Magic w/ Cindy Scott and Brian Seeger(max 8 singers)
This class will work on how to dig deep to reveal yourself in song. This class is about selecting the right material and making it so personal that it opens up doorways. It's about really framing lyrics into your own personal story, learning how to be emotional and vulnerable
Get Down With Motown! w/ Dawn Pemberton (no limit)
Detroit, Motor City, Hitsville, USA! The Temptations, The Supremes, Stevie Wonder, The Jackson 5…and the list goes on! Motown was a monumental musical empire that left the world with an unforgettable legacy. We’ll dig into the rich catalogue of this iconic sound and form our very own SongRoots Motown ensemble…Dust off those wingtips and fluff that chiffon!
Songwriting w/ Jenny Lester (max 10 singers)
Your Voice, Your Song– A Singer’s Masterclass w/ Brian Tate and Michael Creber (max 8 singers)
Discover your authentic voice through working with a song of your choice in a playful and safe environment. Expand your confidence, connect with your audience, and experience the many ways of expressing yourself through song. You’ll receive one-on-one coaching as well as the invaluable experience of learning from each other. Each session brings new and exciting ways of exploring your voice and your song. Singers of all levels and songs of all styles are welcome! You must bring a song that you are ready to perform (memorized words and music); also, bring the piano music (sheet music or lead sheet)
Sacred Music w/ Gideon Crevoshay (no limit)
Brazilian and Portugues Fado w/ Jennifer Scott (max 15 singers)
From Stage Fright to Stage Freedom: Break the chains that keep you from performing your very best. w/ Cindy Scott (no limit)
Have you ever felt extremely anxious before a gig, an audition, sitting in, or even singing in your church or in front of a class? Do you ever feel like you sound better in the practice room that you do in front of an audience? How would you like it if every time you performed, you performed your very best? In this class you will learn strategies to help you overcome performance anxiety, to trust the music within you, and to HAVE FUN making music.
Musicianship Bootcamp for the Empowered Vocalist w/ Brian Seeger (no limit)
Harmonies Singing Beyond 1-3-5 w/ Dale Rasmussen (no limit)
ENSEMBLE HAPPY HOUR
Doo-Wop Workshop! w/ Dawn Pemberton (no limit)
Each “Ensemble Happy Hour” we’ll learn a few doo-wop classics as a group and bop-shoo-wop all over Gambier. We will also experiment with singing these gems in small groups for the full doo-wop experience!
The Art of Collaboration w/ Brian Tate and Michael Creber (max 10 people)
Singers are often looking to team up with fellow musicians such as pianists, guitar players, string players, and other singers. Discover how to create a creative, respectful, and sustainable collaboration with other musicians, so that the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts. Learn the basic lingo of musicians, even if you don’t read music. Come prepared with a song or two of your choice that you already know well, and if you play an instrument, bring it along as well!
Shape Note Singing w/ GideonCrevoshay (no limit)
An introduction to the beautiful world of 'Shape Note Singing' with Gideon Crevoshay. (Description coming soon)
How To Write Out A Chart w/ Dale Rasmussen
Brother Duets w/ Karla Mundy and Wendy Knudson (20)
In this class we will focus on 'Brother Harmonies' from the 30s and 40s - learning some repertoire from the Delmore Brothers, Blue Sky Boys and Monroe Brothers. These groups were incredibly influential on bluegrass and early rock 'n' roll and their tight harmonies covered a wide range of American musical styles - blues, ballads and yodels! We will learn the songs as the full group and then have plenty of time to try all of the songs in different duet configurations. No need to come with a partner - you will sing with many different people in the class.
Roots Jam - Instruments and Voices w/ Jenny Lester (no limit)
Inspired Improv Happy Hour w/ Cindy Scott and Brian Seeger (max 16 singers)
It's about joy! It's about growth! It's about now! This class, designed specifically for vocalists, will be filled with fun games to help you improve your vocal improvisation, both RIGHT NOW, and OVER TIME. Expect lots of group interaction and some skill work. Leave with realistic strategies to help you continue to grow on your vocal improv journey.
Monday July 8-Friday July 12 2019
Monday July 8th - Water taxis will begin taking people from Horseshoe Bay to Gambier Island at 10:00 am. Please arrive at 9:30 am for registration and to have your bag tagged and loaded. Bowen Islanders will have their own water taxi that will leave at 9:30.
Friday July 12th - Water taxis will begin leaving Gambier Island at 1:30 pm. The last water taxi will likely leave around 2:30. You can safely plan to be back at Horseshoe Bay between 2:00 and 3:00.
Here is a full view of the week's schedule!
SongRoots – Summer Camp Accommodations
There are various options for accommodations at Camp Fircom.
1. Tenting! You have the option of bringing your own tent and setting up your home for the week in some of the gorgeous camp sites at Camp Fircom. By bringing your own tent you save $20 off the total cost of camp. There are communal washrooms for tenters and cabin sleepers.
2. Canvas Tents - Camp Fircom provides 4 large Canvas tents. These can be shared by 3-4 people and mattresses are provided - all you need to bring is your own sleeping bag and pillow. This option is available at no extra cost.
3. Teepees - Camp Fircom also has 2 large teepees that can be shared by 3-4 people as well. There is a raised wooden platform and mattresses are provided. You need to bring your own sleeping bag and pillow. This option is available at no extra cost.
4. Cabin/Bunkhouse – will sleep up to 8 in a room - everyone will get a lower bunk and can keep their gear on the top bunk. There are shared communal bathrooms and everyone brings their own bedding. There are electrical outlets in the cabins. This option is available at no extra cost.
5. Craigcroft – there is a choice of shared or single rooms (limited) in Craigcroft. Craigcroft is a 2 storey dorm-style residence with 12 rooms and a large common room. There are two bathrooms with additional washrooms located in the dining hall which is right next door. You can bring your own bedding or you can pay an extra $20 to have it supplied for you. There is an additional cost to stay in Craigcroft of $75 for a double room and $150 for a single room.
6. Farmhouse - this is the most luxurious accommodation available! There are two bedrooms (each with a queen sized bed), a fully equipped kitchen, a large patio (with a view of the water) and a beautiful living room. All linens are provided. There is an addiontal cost of $300 per room at the Farmhouse.
FOOD at Fircom!
Fircom focuses on healthy, delicious homemade meals to ensure that you are satisfied and feeling great during your time at camp. Our chef and farmer work together to grow beautiful, abundant harvests in our 1.5 acres organic garden. Much of the produce from the Farm ends up in beautiful meals or in the delicious and colorful salad bar served at each lunch and dinner.
Camp Fircom is endeavouring to be as sustainable as possible and tread lightly on the earth. One of the ways they are doing this is by trying to cut back on food waste. The main thought is 'take what you need, and eat what you take' - there is going to be plenty of food for second helpings so please don't be shy if you didn't get enough food the first time. 2nd helpings are available!
Everyone arrive at Horseshoe Bay between 9:30 am-10:00 am to register on Monday July 9th. For those people coming from Vancouver Island, you can take the 8:30 am boat and come straight over to register., We will be going over in many different water taxis - we can only load one at a time, so it does take a while to get the whole group over there. Be patient and it should all run smoothly - enjoy the beautiful ride!
You will be registered by Wendy Knudson, Ali and Bob Romanow. They have a wonderful system to get you all registered, loaded on the boat and sent over. You must check in with them first before heading down to the dock!!
We have to make special arrangements for the water taxis on Monday morning and those costs are included in your ticket. If you miss the water taxi, you will be responsible for getting yourself to the island (through Cormorant Marine Water Taxi) and will have to cover that cost. Some people have been asking about special water taxi departure times - I am unable to organize anything extra outside of our scheduled times.
Where to meet? Where to park?
Meet on the lawn by the (former) Boathouse Restaurant. There you will receive your welcome package and be organized into different water taxis. The Water Taxi Loading area is at the end of the Government Dock in Horseshoe Bay, which is to the East of the Boathouse Restaurant. Please do not go to the Water Taxi office, as they are not responsible for the check-in of our campers.
Parking! - there are various lots at Horseshoe Bay. I would suggest carpooling. The lots closest to the terminal cost about $20/day. There is a cheaper lot up the hill. http://www.tiddlycovelions.com/?page_id=11 The best option is getting dropped off if possible!
LIONS OVERFLOW PARKING Located at 6318 Marine drive, West Vancouver Across from the 2nd hole of Geneagles Golf Club, just south of Geneagles Elementary School
**We will be arriving and leaving at low tide which means that the ramp to get to the boat is kind of steep! The trip to and from Fircom is a little arduous. It does include carrying your luggage, walking up and down steep loading ramps and then walking up a hill on Gambier up to Camp Fircom. There is a truck that will take our luggage and could drive people with mobility problems. We will have designated helpers and lifters are all there to help each other.
3. Leaving on Friday
The boats start leaving Fircom at 1:30 on Friday. We can only load one water taxi at a time so I am unable to tell anyone exactly when they will get back to HSB. It could be as early at 2:15 or you could be on the last water taxi and not get back until about 3:30 or so.
See below for important info and helpful tips!
1) How do the canvas tents and teepees work? Teepees can accommodate 4-5 people– Fircom provides mattresses and you bring your own sleeping bag and pillow. Think sleep over/slumber party! You will be close and cozy. If you have a group of 3-4 people, there would be no extra cost.
2) How can I pay in instalments? How much is camp?
You can send Karla post-dated cheques spread out between Jan 6th- June 1st. You must send Karla $100 initially to reserve your spot and all other post dated cheques by the end of January. Camp costs $690 + $25 Registration + GST. There are several accommodation upgrades that cost extra.
3) I'm really new to singing and nervous about coming.. what classes are best suited for beginners/less experienced singers?
– Bluegrass Singing (with Jenny Lester and Karla), Get Down with Motown (Dawn Pemberton), From Stage Fright to Stage Freedom (Cindy Scott), Harmony Singing Beyond 1-3-5 (Dale Rasmussen), Doo-Wop Workshop (Dawn Pemberton), Roots Jam (Jenny Lester)
4) Are there any Bed & Breakfasts available near Fircom? No,
Fircom is on the south eastern corner of Gambier and there is no road access to New Brighton or most of the rest of the island. There are no accommodation rentals in the near vicinity.
5) Can I bring my own boat to Fircom? You can, but there is no mooring on the government dock. You can anchor in Fircom Bay or Halkett Bay, however you will have to bring a dinghy and paddle in.
6) Where can I tent? There are several lovely tenting areas in the forest and in more open areas.
7) Can I come for part of the camp? This event is all or nothing. We will have additional boats in emergency circumstances but otherwise we expect participants to stay for the duration of the program.
8) Can I bring my dog? Unless you have an assistance/service animal, animals are not permitted.
9) Is the accommodation wheelchair accessible? Please contact Karla for more information on the accessibility of the site and facilities. There are many gravel roads and a fair bit of walking between class - Karla could try to accommodate accessibility as much as possible with accommodation choice and class location.
10) I own a cabin on Gambier. Can I just come for the days?
Yes that would be fine. Contact Karla and we would sort out your cost for the camp.
11) I’d like to bring my baby, is that ok?
That could be possible and it might be a little tricky. We could try to sort out an accommodation that would work for you. Please contact Karla and talk through what the days are like and how you could try to make it work for you and your baby.
12) I’d like to bring my 8 year old, is that ok?
At the moment, this camp is geared towards adults and we don’t currently have it set up to work for kids as well (we are working on that for the future)
13) I’d like to know more about what emergency services are available on Gambier. Can you tell me about that?
Fircom is an isolated site however emergency services can be dispatched to site. In case of an emergency medical situation, the patient will be evacuated either by boat or by helicopter.
14) This year seems more expensive than last year. Why is that?
Costs all around have gone up a little – just keeping up with increased costs! I have also expanded the teaching team and brought in some teachers from further away!
15) I’m broke. Is there any way I can barter my fee?
There could be some limited possibilities of helping out with camp and reducing some of the fee. Please contact Karla if you have some ideas.