Building a Vocal Community®
June 2016

Find A Workshop


Building a Vocal Community®

June 26, 2016 – July 01, 2016
Rhinebeck, NY
Ysaye M. Barnwell, George Brandon
Member Tuition:
Plus accommodations
SM16-2405-538Ysaye M. Barnwell, George Brandon,

We are no longer taking online registrations for this workshop.

For 30 years, Ysaye M. Barnwell and George Brandon have been building a vocal community at Omega. Each year, their workshop is a gathering of former participants and a celebration for those joining the class for the first time.

This is a rare opportunity to be part of a large and welcoming community and chorus of uncommon voices, where no experience is necessary.

During this 5-day workshop, the group explores African-American history and culture through a wide range of vocal music, including African-American congregational and choral traditions, chants from Africa and the diaspora, spirituals, blues, gospel, and music of the Civil Rights movement and contemporary struggles. It is also a wonderful opportunity to experience the joys of finding our own voice in a chorus of other voices.

Discussions of the social, political, and spiritual contexts for the songs—taught in the oral tradition—enhance the experience of the music.


Please note this course begins Monday at 9:30 a.m. and has a special schedule:

4:00 p.m.–7:00 p.m. Check In (Rooms available after 5:00 p.m.)
8:00 p.m. Welcome & Orientation
9:30 a.m.–Noon Workshop
3:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m. Workshop
9:30 a.m.–Noon Workshop
3:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m. Workshop
9:30 a.m.–Noon Workshop
9:30 a.m.–Noon Workshop
3:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m. Workshop
8:00 p.m.–9:30 p.m. Participatory Concert
9:00 a.m.–Noon Workshop
Noon–1:00 p.m. Check Out

The Children's Program is generally available during standard workshop hours only. Contact Omega registration at 877.944.2002 for details.

The above schedule is subject to change at the discretion of the faculty.


Musician, actress, and educator Ysaye M. Barnwell, PhD, MSPH, has performed as a member of the internationally acclaimed a cappella quintet Sweet Honey in the Rock for nearly 35 years.

George Brandon, PhD, is an anthropologist, composer, and integrative sound and music practitioner. He founded and leads the Blue Unity Orchestra, an ensemble whose programs include gospel music, Yoruba chant, blues, jazz standards, Afro-Pop, and more.