Share the joy of ensemble singing with The Western Wind!
Western Wind Workshops are uniquely interactive, intense musical experiences. Each participant is made part of a small ensemble that is guided / facilitated (not conducted) by a member of The Western Wind. In their small ensembles, participants sing an eclectic and intriguing selection of music that might include Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, Early American, 19th and 20th-century part-songs, rounds, hymns and folk-songs, jazz, pop, improvisations and more!
Through small-group sessions and master-class style seminars, The Western Wind addresses each singer’s individual development, fostering growth in skill and accomplishment. Because the ensembles are formed based on musical skills, the workshop is open to singers at all levels – professionals and amateurs, soloists and ensemble performers, conductors and music teachers.
See pictures of past Smith Workshops
Located amid the charming sophistication of Northampton, Massachusetts, Smith College is the oldest women’s college in the United States. Smith’s historic campus, nestled at the foot of the Berkshires, is surrounded by the unspoiled countryside of New England. The campus provides excellent facilities for jogging, tennis, workout, swimming and squash. Scenic, wooded walks and a superb art collection are added offerings.
Smith College is within driving distance (2½ hours) of New York and Boston. Peter Pan Bus lines operates daily service to Northampton from New York City and Boston. Amtrak serves the town of Springfield, Massachusetts just 30 minutes from Northampton, and bus service is available from Springfield to Northampton. Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Connecticut, services all major airlines and is a 45-minute drive from the campus.
You may make your deposit now of $250
(You will receive an email acknowledgment with a link to our questionnaire.)
Our participants come from a variety of musical backgrounds and have a vast range of experience. The minimum requirements are that you’re able to carry a tune and have a basic familiarity with music notation. If you’re unsure, please give us a call, and we’ll help you out.
Note: After July 8, tuition increases by $45.
Note: Weekend 2022 session has been
Bring Your Group! Pre-existing groups are welcome at Western Wind Workshops. Discounts are available on tuition for groups of eight or more.
Get a 10% discount if this is your first Western Wind Workshop.
A 5% tuition discount is applied for Friends of the Western Wind. Partial scholarships are available based on financial need.
Participants are housed in a lovely and airy dormitory on campus. Participants also have the option to arrange their own overnight accommodations. A list of nearby hotels and motels and travel information will be sent upon request. Delicious meals are served on campus. The Smith food service creates fresh meals on the premises and will accommodate most diets including vegetarian and vegan.
Off-campus participants who choose to have meals on-campus will be charged for these meals at check-in ($15 for breakfast, $18 for lunch, $26 for dinner, or $52 for all 3 meals in a day).
5-day session begins on Monday evening, August 8 and concludes on Saturday, August 13 in the late afternoon.
Participants residing in the dorm can arrange to stay the final Saturday evening following the conclusion of the workshop for a modest additional charge.
|Linda Lee Jones, soprano|
Eric S. Brenner, countertenor
David Vanderwal, tenor
Todd Frizzell, tenor
William Zukof, workshop director
Christina Kay, soprano enjoys a versatile career that spans concert, opera, and choral repertoire. An avid performer of early music, she made her Carnegie Hall debut in 2019 as soprano soloist in Handel’s Messiah with the Masterwork Chorus and Orchestra. Her skill with Renaissance and Baroque-era repertoire has led her to notable summer festivals, including the Carmel Bach Festival’s Virginia Best Adams Masterclass, the American Bach Soloists Academy, and the Baroque Opera Workshop at Queens College. In New York City, she performs with period ensembles ARTEK and The American Classical Orchestra, and has also appeared with Brooklyn Baroque, Ensemble Leonarda, and Gotham Early Music. Christina is particularly interested in ornamentation and improvisation of late Renaissance and early Baroque repertoire, and loves writing and performing her own ornamented arrangements of popular 16th and 17th century madrigals. Also a passionate advocate of contemporary works, she has performed the role of Lead Singer in Petr Kotik’s Master-Pieces (S.E.M. Ensemble), premiered the role of Daphne in David Chesky’s La Farranucci (Operavocateur), and most recently appeared as Annabelle in an Act I preview of Timothy Lee Miller’s new opera The Bird Lady with OperAvant, Inc.
Robert Eisenstein, viola da gamba. Founding member of The Folger Consort, early music ensemble in residence at the Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C. Director of the Five College Early Music Program in Western Massachusetts. Lecturer in Music History at the University of Massachusetts. Performances with the Newberry Consort, Tanglewood Festival, Cappella Nova, the New York Consort of Viols, the Washington Bach Consort, Hesperus, and the National Symphony. BA Antioch College., MM, Sarah Lawrence College.
Yumiko Matsuoka, contemporary a cappella and jazz specialist. Originally from Tokyo, Japan; professor at Berklee College of Music in Boston, teaching ear training. Founder of Vox One, a Boston-based a cappella quintet, whose albums Vox One (1993), Out There (1995) and Chameleon (1997) have won multiple awards from the Contemporary A Cappella Society of America (CASA). In 2008 she released an anthology album of her arrangements and compositions entitled To Every Thing There Is a Season. Published by the University of Northern Colorado Jazz Press.
Other guest faculty to be announced.
|9:00–9:45||Vocal warm-ups and rehearsal of large group piece|
|10:00–12:00||Small group rehearsals|
|12:00–1:30||Lunch and relaxation|
|1:30–2:00||Optional musicianship skills classes or duo/trio coaching with guest faculty|
|2:00–4:00||Small group rehearsals|
|4:15–5:00||Optional country dancing with live band|
|5:15–6:00||Optional jazz classes|
|7:15–9:30||Performance seminar by all small ensembles|
Participants have Thursday afternoon free to play tennis, go jogging or swimming, walk into town, or take a nap!
The Western Wind and guest faculty present a concert on the first Monday night of the workshop.
5-day participants present their final concert on Saturday afternoon.
Full days of performing and listening, participating and appreciating will enrich your a cappella voyage through the ages!
You can view the full schedule from 2019 here.
A limited number of partial scholarships based on ability and financial need will be available. For information regarding scholarships please contact The Western Wind office: via e-mail or via phone, 212-873-2848. Scholarship requests are due by May 1, 2022.
Smith College is within driving distance (2½–3 hours) of New York and Boston.
By Bus – Contact Peter Pan Bus Lines (413-781-3320) for information about schedules to Northampton. There is daily bus service between Northampton and New York City and Boston.
By Train – Amtrak (800-USA-RAIL) now stops in Northampton again.
By Air – Northampton is 33 miles north of Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Connecticut, which is served by all major airlines. A door-to-door shuttle service provided by Valley Transporter (800-872-8752) is available from Bradley to Northampton for approximately $32 each way (reservations are required). Peter Pan Bus Lines (413-781-3320) provides transportation from Bradley to Northampton via a transfer in Springfield, MA. Logan International Airport in Boston is served by all major airlines and is a 2½ hour drive from Northampton.
Advance registration is required to ensure your enrollment. To register please send your deposit to us via Paypal on this website. A letter of acknowledgment containing pertinent information as well as a questionnaire will be emailed to you upon receipt of your registration. Your balance due for registration and/or accommodation fees must be paid upon your arrival and check-in to the workshop.
A full refund can be made for cancellation received prior to July 8. From July 8–July 21, a cancellation fee of 50% of the deposit will be charged to cover administrative costs. Deposit is forfeited if cancellation is made after July 21. If the workshop is canceled or postponed, neither Smith College nor The Western Wind is responsible for any related costs, charges, or expenses, including cancellation/change charges assessed by airlines or travel agencies.
The Smith Workshops also offer opportunities to perform in larger ensembles and sing informally in open reading sessions. Our guest faculty members coach and accompany singers in ensemble and solo repertoire from the Renaissance and Early Baroque, as well as in the subtleties of jazz and pop performance.
Optional performance practice classes are available (during 5-day periods only). Past topics have included vocal jazz improvisation and arranging led by Yumiko Matsuoka, and Early Music topics led by Robert Eisenstein.
The cost of the large group piece (which everyone sings) is included in the tuition. In our small ensembles published editions will be used whenever possible and participants will need to purchase the music used. In addition, a library of outstanding ensemble music will be available for sale.