Choral Workshop at Ogontz

July 22 – 28, 2018

Now in its 29th season, the Ogontz Choral Workshop offers extraordinary opportunities for singers, church musicians, and choral conductors to explore repertoire and learn choral interpretation with some of the world’s leading choral directors. Registration is open to anyone and no auditions are required (pre-registration and tuition payment is required). Past participants have come from across North America  and beyond and have included singers and musicians of all backgrounds. Along with the featured guest artists, participants learn together, rehearse, relax, and sing for a glorious week in the intimate rustic retreat in the White Mountains of New Hampshire known as Ogontz Camp.

Information on music rental and purchase

Choral Masterworks Series

Each year the choral workshop showcases a masterwork, one carefully selected to exemplify what makes a piece endure through time. Participants will take a deep look into the piece and the historical context in which it was composed.

Choral Conductor’s Seminar

Participating choral conductors have the opportunity to receive mentorship from a master conductor. They may sign-up after arrival and will conduct in special sessions with the help of volunteer singers. All workshop participants are invited to attend.

  • College students are eligible for a special discount.
  • Graduate credits can be arranged through the University of Rhode Island.
  • The workshop may qualify as Professional Development for educators.

New Offer for Past Workshop Participants!

If you are responsible for a first-time singer attending in 2018, you may be eligible for a $50 refund on your tuition. Make sure …

… you are registered and paid;
… your friend provides your name on their registration form and pays;
… you email after you both are registered and paid.

About the 2018 Session

David Hill Choral Workshop

Sunday, July 22 to Saturday, July 28

The 2018 workshop will be led by David Hill, director of the Bach Choir of London and Yale University’s Schola Cantorum. Participants will also work with voice faculty member Paula Rockwell of Acadia University, Nova Scotia, who will lead sessions in vocal technique and masterclasses. Paula will perform a solo recital for participants to enjoy toward the end of the week.

Other Faculty: George Kent, Artistic Director of The Ogontz Arts Foundation

Unlike many summer choral workshops, which focus on a culminating public performance, the Ogontz Choral Workshop is an opportunity to become immersed in several masterpieces without the pressure of preparing to perform.

Masterwork: War Requiem, Opus 66 by Benjamin Britten (1913 – 1976)

Many regard the War Requiem as Benjamin Britten’s greatest masterpiece. A committed and lifelong pacifist, Britten embraced the opportunity to express his beliefs when he was asked to compose a major choral work to celebrate the dedication of the new Coventry Cathedral. Completed in 1962, the Cathedral of St. Michael was constructed next to the ruins of the medieval cathedral which had been destroyed by German bombs in November 1940. Britten conceived a plan to intersperse the text of the Latin Mass for the Dead (Missa pro defunctis) with nine poems of Wilfred Owen, an English poet who was killed in action a week before the Armistice of World War I.

Owen’s texts are sung by the tenor and baritone soloists; the soprano soloist, a boys’ chorus and a full chorus provide the Latin requiem text. Britten intended the three soloists to represent the three nations most affected by the war: England, Germany, and Russia. In the premiere, soloists Peter Pears (tenor) and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (baritone) were joined by soprano Heather Harper, who stood in for Britten’s choice of Galina Vishnevskaya, who was prevented from participating by the Russian Minister of Culture.

The Britten-Pears Foundation maintains a comprehensive Benjamin Britten War Requiem website, where you can learn more and listen to a recording.

Benjamin Britten Rehearses War Requiem: Recorded during the rehearsal for the Decca recording in January 1963 with Britten as conductor. The orchestra was the London Symphony with soloists Galina Vishnevskaya, Peter Pears and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau.

Benjamin Britten and Meredith Davies conduct War Requiem: a live television broadcast from Royal Albert Hall with Heather Harper soprano, Thomas Hemsley baritone, and Peter Pears tenor; August 4, 1964.

Consumed By Violence, With Hope For Peace: Britten’s ‘War Requiem’: Marin Alsop’s essay, aired on NPR, November 21, 2013

The Hidden Heart: a 2001 documentary on the life and music of Britten and his long relationship with Peter Pears. (Segment about the War Requiem is at about 30 min.)

Benjamin Britten interview: In 1968 Britten discussed with a CBC interviewer his role as a composer, his approach, the artist’s struggle, and the Beatles!

Other Repertoire:

Chichester Psalms by Leonard Bernstein (1918 – 1990)

Music lovers around the world are celebrating 2018 as the 100th Anniversary of Leonard Bernstein’s birth. He composed Chichester Psalms at the request of the Very Reverend Walter Hussey, Dean of the Cathedral of Chichester in Sussex, England, for the Cathedral’s 1965 music festival. Dr. Hussey, a forward-thinking champion of the arts wrote, “Many of us would be very delighted if there was a hint of West Side Story about the music.” The result was a piece in three movements based on the text of six Psalms to be sung in Hebrew. Bernstein abandoned the 12-tone style he’d been experimenting with and created what he described as “the most accessible, B-flat majorish tonal piece I’ve ever written.” The music is tuneful and rhythmic. The text, hopeful and life-affirming, is the composer’s plea for brotherhood and peace.

Learn more at the Leonard Bernstein at 100 website.

Brash, Confident and Democratic: How Bernstein Symbolized America: Five writers on what made the protean Bernstein one of the most indelible figures in the history of the arts. New Your Times

The Complex Life Of Leonard Bernstein, A Once-In-A-Century Talent: heard on NPR’s Morning Edition

Life With Leonard Bernstein: The composer’s daughter talks frankly about her new memoir. NPR

“My soul, there is a country” from Songs of Farewell by Charles Hubert Hastings Parry (1848 – 1918)

With this piece we honor the 100th anniversary of the death of Parry, who is probably best known for his song “Jerusalem.” He composed Songs of Farewell during World War I shortly before his death. The war, in which some of his most promising students at the Royal College of Music lost their lives, was described by Herbert Howells as “a scourge that cast a devastating shadow over Parry’s mind and heart.” The first of the Songs, “My soul, there is a country,” is a setting of a poem by Henry Vaughan (1622-1695). Parry and Sir Charles Villiers Stanford have been credited with raising the musical standards in England during the late 19th century, paving the way for Elgar and a whole new generation of English composers.


Information on music rental and purchase

About the Artists

David Hill

Renowned for his fine musicianship, David Hill is widely respected as both a choral and orchestral conductor. He has held appointments as chief conductor of the BBC Singers, chief conductor of the Southern Sinfonia, music director of the Leeds Philharmonic Society, and associate guest conductor of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. He was awarded an honorary Doctorate by the University of Southampton in 2002 in recognition of his Services to Music. Hill currently serves as Professor Adjunct of Choral Conducting and Principal Conductor of Schola Cantorum at Yale University and Musical Director of London’s Bach Choir. He is an Honorary member of The Royal Academy of Music, London, and an Honorary Fellow of The Royal School of Church Music.Born in Carlisle in 1957 and educated at Chetham’s School of Music, where he is now a Governor, David was made a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists at the tender age of 17. He took an organ scholarship to St John’s College, Cambridge under the direction of Dr George Guest and returned to the college as Director of Music from 2003-2007. His previous posts have included Master of the Music at Winchester Cathedral (1987-2002), Music Director of The Waynflete Singers (1987-2002) Master of the Music at Westminster Cathedral, Musical Director of the Alexandra Choir (1980-87) and Associate Conductor and then Artistic Director of the Philharmonia Chorus (1986-1997). On 10 March 2018 the Royal College of Organists conferred on David its highest honor, the RCO Medal,” in recognition of distinguished achievement in choral conducting and organ playing.David is in great demand for choral training workshops worldwide and his handbook on the subject Giving Voice was published in 1995. He is a choral advisor to music publishers Novello, for whom he has edited a number of publications. As an organist, David Hill has given recitals in most of the major venues in the UK and has toured extensively abroad.David Hill’s broad-ranging discography of over 70 recordings, including many award-winners, can be found on the for Decca/Argo, Hyperion, Naxos and Virgin Classics labels. The discs span repertoire from the renaissance to the present day.With The Bach Choir David Hill has contributed to the film sound tracks of Kingdom of Heaven, The Chronicles of Narnia and Shrek the Third. He is engaged in a series of recordings of major English choral composers with The Bach Choir and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra for Naxos. Hill has appeared as guest conductor with the London Philharmonic, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Zagreb Philharmonic, Ulster Orchestra, City of London Sinfonia, English Chamber Orchestra, The BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Sinfonia 21, the Northern Sinfonia, BBC Symphony Orchestra, RTE National Symphony Orchestra, The Minnesota Orchestra and the Orchestre Philharmonqiue de Strasbourg as well as the Netherlands Radio Choir and RIAS Kammerchor, Berlin.Paula Rockwell

Since returning to Nova Scotia, after completing her graduate studies at University of Toronto, Paula Rockwell has been steeped in musical projects, performances and music festivals in her home province, Canada and the United States. She teaches Applied Voice, Diction for Singers, Scene Studies and the Singing Actor at her alma mater Acadia University and creates productions for Acadia’s Singing Theatre Ensemble, where she is the artistic director.Paula has been featured on several recordings and co-produced her debut CD entitled Fleeting Melodies, a collection of 20th century art songs and arias. Paula has taken on several operatic roles since graduate school, working with the Canadian Opera Company, Toronto’s Opera in Concert, Vancouver Opera, Tidal Opera, Orchestre Baroque de Montreal, Opera Nova Scotia and Maritime Concert Opera.She has performed with Symphony Nova Scotia, The Chorus of Westerly (Rhode Island), North York Philharmonic (Ontario), Symphony New Brunswick, Peterborough Singers (Ontario), and The Music Room Chamber Series in Halifax, as well as for many fundraisers, including Music for Haiti, Women Only at Pier 21, and the annual Opera Nova Scotia’s Opera Valentine.Paula is heard every summer giving masterclasses, vocal warm-up sessions and a recital at The Ogontz Choral Symposium in Lyman, New Hampshire. She adjudicates music festivals on the Provincial and National levels and gives clinics/masterclasses on the topic of vocal pedagogy, interpretation and stage craft.Paula will be working on new projects including a recording of original works – Unwrapped – and a one woman show entitled Letters from Home, from her sabbatical project of January 2015. Recent projects include directing and creating Scenes from Street Scenes by Kurt Weill, an opera excerpt show entitled The B Boys of Opera and a musical theatre excerpt program entitled The Games People Play in Musicals: Chess & The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, and directing in 2016 Grease – The Musical for Acadia’s Singing Theatre Ensemble.Paula was soloist with Acadia University’s Choral production of Mozart’s Coronation Mass and Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy. She also was the vocal coach for Halifax Summer Opera Workshop productions of Bizet’s Carmen and Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro. She sang the alto solo in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with Symphony New Brunswick in May 2014 and performed it again in Fredericton, New Brunswick, in April 2016. She has performed with the Halifax-based contemporary music group Musikon at the Saint Mary’s Art Gallery and at a recent Garden Room Concert Series recital entitled “Sing the Trumpet” at Acadia University with trumpeter Curtis Dietz and collaborative pianist Jennifer King. This concert was performed again in September 2016 at the Indian Brook Concert Series in Cape Breton. In May 2016, Paula sang the mezzo-soprano solo in Verdi’s Requiem with The Chorus of Westerly and in August performed a recital in New London and Lyman (New Hampshire) with American collaborative pianist, Geoffrey Wieting. In May 2017, Paula sang the lead role in Opera Nova Scotia’s production of Gustav Holst’s opera Savitri. This year she is the artistic director of the Canadian musical Pélagie, written by Allen Cole, which will be performed at Acadia University in April 2018.George Kent
George Kent has devoted his life to raising the artistic standards of his home community of Westerly as well as Rhode Island and New England as a whole. The Chorus of Westerly, which he founded in 1959, is now widely known as a Rhode Island performing organization of reliable artistic excellence. George Kent has always believed in the ability of young children to learn the great choral scores of music literature and since 1959 he has been teaching to youngsters age eight and over such works as Bach’s B minor Mass, Handel’s Messiah, Benjamin Britten’s Spring Symphony, and Brahms’ incomparable Requiem. Generations of children have, with George Kent’s training, developed a lasting love of music.During his tenure with the Chorus he directed over 2,500 singers spanning the ages of eight to eighty-eight, toured with the Chorus twice in Britain (1981 and 1995) and once in Italy (1987) and performed in Providence and in Westerly. Mr. Kent has taught music at Rhode Island colleges and universities for over forty years. He served as Assistant Music Director and, in 1986, as Acting Music Director of the Rhode Island Philharmonic and during that tenure performed the orchestra’s Young Person’s Concerts as well as the regular scheduled classical and Pops concerts.In September 1988 Mr. Kent was awarded one of Rhode Island’s coveted Governor’s Arts Awards. In 1995 the Chorus of Westerly earned the Arts & Business Council of Rhode Island’s Jabez Gorham Award for excellence in the arts. He has received the Award for Excellence in Music from the South County Center for the Arts (1998), the Lifetime Achievement Award from Choral Arts, New England (1999) and the History Maker’s Salute Award from the Rhode Island Historical Society (2001). Mr. Kent received the Arts & Business Council of Rhode Island’s Award for Individual Achievement (2004) and was named a distinguished alumnus by New England Conservatory (2003). In May 2006, Mr. Kent received the prestigious Pell Award, honoring Senator Claiborne Pell and recognizing artistic excellence both in Rhode Island and nationally.With the Chorus of Westerly George Kent has presented ten US premieres of major 20th Century British works for chorus and orchestra. On three occasions the Chorus brought the composers of those works (William Mathias, Lux Aeterna in 1984; Paul Patterson, Mass of the Sea in 1990 and Millennium Mass in 2001) to lecture on their music in Westerly and at Brown University and the University of Rhode Island. George Kent brought Britain’s eminent choral conductor, Sir David Willcocks, to the states and collaborated with him from 1990-2010 at the annual Choral Workshop held each summer at Ogontz Camo in Lyman, New Hampshire. This summer program has also included other sessions with Richard Marlow, Herbert Bock, James Litton, and currently, David Hill.George Kent has been Organist/Choirmaster at Christ Church, Westerly, since 1956 and in May 1996 was awarded an honorary doctorate from New York’s General Theological Seminary for his outstanding contribution to church music in America.

2018 Participation Types and Rates

New Offer for Past Workshop Participants!

If you are responsible for a first-time singer attending in 2018, you may be eligible for a $50 refund on your tuition. Make sure …

… you are registered and paid;
… your friend provides your name on their registration form and pays;
… you email after you both are registered and paid.

Register early and save!

I. Resident Singer – $755

Early Bird Rate: Register by 3/18/18 for $50 off the registration price

Includes accommodations at Ogontz, meals at Ogontz, tuition/singing sessions, recreation, special events, and NH State Rooms & Meals taxes. Score expenses are not included.

II. Non-Resident Singer (Day Camper) – $725

Early Bird Rate: Register by 3/18/18 for $50 off the registration price

Includes meals at Ogontz, tuition/singing sessions, recreation, special events, and NH State Rooms & Meals taxes, but NOT accommodations at Ogontz. Score expenses are not included.

III. Student Singer – $450

Participant must be an enrolled college student to receive special rate.

Includes accommodations at Ogontz, meals at Ogontz, tuition/singing sessions, recreation, special events, and NH State Rooms & Meals taxes. Score expenses are not included. No Early Bird Discount.

IV. Non-Singer – $550

Non-singers may not participate in singing sessions including rehearsals, master classes, and warm-ups. This is the category for spouses, family, and friends coming with you who are not going to sing. Includes accommodations at Ogontz, meals at Ogontz, recreation, special events, and NH State Rooms & Meals taxes. No Early Bird Discount.

Please note: For additional information, please contact Claire Mead at 215-962-2998 or

Refund and Cancellation Policy
Prior to 4/1/18 – 100% of fees are refundable minus a $25 cancellation service charge
Prior to 5/1/18 – 75% of fees are refundable minus a $25 cancellation service charge
Prior to 5/15/18 – 50% of fees are refundable minus a $25 cancellation service charge
After 5/15/18, refunds for fees paid are no longer possible for new or existing registrants.

More About Ogontz

A Typical Choral Workshop Day at Ogontz
8 am – Breakfast
9:15 am – Morning Warm-ups
10:30 am – Morning Sing
12:30 pm – Lunch
2 pm – Afternoon Master Class
3:15 pm – Afternoon Sing
4:30 pm – Free time
6:30 pm – Dinner
8 pm – Evening Sing or Night Activity (Recitals, etc)
Schedule may vary on any given day. All activities are optional.

Camp Ogontz is a magnificent 300-acre facility in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. The camp overlooks Lake Ogontz, a small, semi-private lake with a spectacular view of the mountains beyond. Ogontz is owned and operated by Lynn and George Kent (Professor of Music, University of RI), and is home to a variety of short, week-long, arts related summer camps and workshops throughout the summer. There are over a hundred buildings on the premises including a large rehearsal hall, a boathouse, and a fabulous dining hall. Visit this link for info on Ogontz facilities.


Living space at Ogontz varies from several medium sized indoor log cabins (with indoor plumbing and enclosed bedrooms), to about 45 Adirondack style cabins (with three open sides, roll down heavy flaps, tables, personal cubbies, beds, chairs, electricity) that are all close to shower rooms and toilet facilities. These Adirondack cabins are a little bit more rustic, but recent renovations have drastically improved their quality and comfort. All cabins are shared by one to four people depending on your preferences (during the Choral Workshops, these cabins rarely have more than two people and solo cabins are possible). After registering you will be asked to indicate your housing preferences.


Participants are treated to full and delicious meals three times a day. The food at Ogontz is prepared daily in the camp’s large kitchen and the Ogontz chefs are legendary. Ogontz strives to provide the freshest ingredients from local sources, some foods even grown and raised on the property. The Dining Hall can seat about 150 people at a time and has a warm rustic charm to it with wooden floors and large windows looking out over the facility from three different sides.
For warm afternoons and evenings where an outdoor meal is planned, there is a large wrap around deck connected to the Dining Hall that can accommodate the entire camp. Also outside the deck is a special grill and smoker. On occasion during the sessions, meals may be held at other camp locations such as on a hill or next to one of camp’s beautiful waterfalls.

The Ogontz onsite bakery prepares bread, desserts, and other tasty items daily, ranging from the famed Ogontz Chocolate Chip Cookies to daily loaves of house made bread.

Menus are set by the Ogontz team. A main dish is always featured and a vegetarian option is always available. At this time, Ogontz is not able to accommodate special dietary concerns, but the kitchen staff is always willing to talk with participants about ingredients in that particular days meals. There is a large refrigerator in the dining room in which guests can store their personal food items and beverages.

The Ogontz General Store has snacks and goodies available for purchase. A Shaw’s Grocery Store and Walmart are also located about 15 minutes away in Littleton.

Meals are provided for all participants (singers/non-singers, residents/day campers) as part of the registration fee.


During the week, outside of singing, you will have plenty of optional time to rest, relax, have fun, or explore.

Ogontz Recreational Features:

  • Over 350 acres of New England forests, pastures, and wildlife
  • Private lake
  • Acres of mountain trails to explore
  • Private swim area with dock and floating raft
  • Four tennis courts
  • Volleyball court
  • Boathouse containing canoes, sailboats, row boats, & kayaks
  • “Green Chairs” relaxing social area

Ogontz is secluded in the woods, but after a short drive you will be able to find:

  • A fully equipped gym (affordable daily and weekly rates)
  • Historic town with many interesting shops
  • Littleton’s Village Bookstore
  • Banks
  • Franconia Notch State Park
  • Pharmacies
  • Superstores such as Walmart, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Shaw’s