Detail for Smith College Workshops

Session I: June 26–28; June 29–July 4, 2015
Session II: July 31–August 2; August 3–8, 2015

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.

A Kids Program and a Teen Program for teens 14 and up will take place the first weekend of Session I (June 27–29). The Teen Program may extend over the 5-day period subject to enrollment. These programs run concurrently with the adult program.

See pictures of past Smith Workshops

Download the 2014 Workshop Brochure

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 for the period of your choice.
(You will receive an email acknowledgment with a link to our questionnaire.)

First time? 10% discount if you are a
first-time participant at a Western Wind Workshop.
Workshop veterans, bring a friend and share the discount!

Session Details:

General Details:

Workshops Basics/Qualifications

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.

Bring Your Group! Pre-existing groups are welcome at Western Wind Workshops. Discounts 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 available based on financial need.

Tuition and Accommodations

The following prices are from 2014 and are subject to change:


Weekend – $250 (after 5/26 for Session I and 6/30 for Session II, tuition increases by $25)

5-day – $495 (after 5/26 for Session I and 6/30 for Session II, tuition increases by $40)

8-Day – $545 (after 5/26 for Session I and 6/30 for Session II, tuition increases by $55)

Teen Program – $145 (after 5/26 tuition increases by $15)

Kids Program – $125 (after 5/26 tuition increases by $15)

Room & Board Costs

Weekend – $180 double/$199 single (includes 2 nights; Saturday breakfast thru Sunday dinner)

5-day – $455 double/$490 single (5 nights; meals from Tuesday breakfast thru Saturday dinner)

8-day – $695 double/$710 single (8 nights; all meals thru Saturday lunch)

Teens – $175 double/$195 single (2 nights; Saturday breakfast thru Sunday dinner)

Kids – $135 double/$145 single (2 nights; Saturday breakfast thru Sunday dinner)

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 ($13.50 for breakfast, $18.60 for lunch and $30.00 for dinner). There is a discounted price if you have both lunch and dinner ($36/day), as well as for those who choose to have all meals on-campus ($45/day).

Arrival/Departure Info

Smith I: June 27–July 5

Weekend session begins Friday evening, June 27 and concludes Sunday, June 29.

5-day session begins on Monday evening, June 30 and concludes on Saturday, July 5 in the late afternoon.

8-day session begins on Friday evening, June 27 concludes on Saturday, July 5 in the late afternoon. (Monday June 30 is a day off until the evening. It’s an opportunity to explore the gorgeous Smith campus, swim, hike, shop and visit local area attractions.)

Smith II: August 1–9

Weekend session begins Friday evening, August 1 and concludes Sunday, August 3.

5-day session begins on Monday evening, August 4 and concludes on Saturday, August 9 in the late afternoon.

8-day session begins on Friday evening, August 1 and concludes on Saturday, August 9 in the late afternoon. (Monday August 4 is a day off until the evening. It’s an opportunity to explore the gorgeous Smith campus, swim, hike, shop and visit local area attractions.)

5-day and 8-day participants residing in the dorm can arrange to stay the final Saturday evening following the conclusion of each workshop for a modest additional charge.


Guest Faculty:

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.

Charles Weaver, lute, theorbo, baroque guitar (Session I). Charlie Weaver has performed on early stringed instruments with Early Music New York, Hesperus, Piffaro, Parthenia, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Folger Consort, ARTEK, Musica Pacifica, Quicksilver, and Mercury Baroque. The New York Times has praised his “agile lute and Baroque guitar accompaniments.” He is on the faculty of the New York Continuo Collective, an ensemble of players and singers exploring the poetic and musical antecedents of opera in semester-length workshop productions. He has also worked as a vocal coach at  the Queens College Baroque Opera Workshop, and the Yale Baroque Opera Program. He also maintains an active career as a choral singer and director, specializing in plainchant and Renaissance polyphony.

Grant Herreid, lute, theorbo (Session II), performs frequently on early reeds, brass, strings and voice with Hesperus, Piffaro, and My Lord Chamberlain’s Consort, and plays theorbo and lute with ARTEK and New York City Opera. He has also performed with the Kings Noyse, the Newberry Consort and the Folger Consort. He teaches at Mannes College of Music in New York, and directs the New York Continuo Collective. He recently worked as stage director for the Accademia d’Amore Baroque opera workshop with Stephen Stubbs, and he played theorbo for the Chicago Opera Theater’s production of Monteverdi’s Ritorno d’Ulisse. He has created and directed several theatrical early music shows, and is a founding member of the group Ex Umbris.

Yumiko Matsuoka, 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.

Polly Murray, Kids Program, is an accomplished choir director and music teacher who has served on the faculty of the Haddonfield School District for 20 years. She is the Founding Artistic Director of ChildrenSong of New Jersey, a community children’s choir program that provides performance experiences to South Jersey’s young vocalists who may not have access to such opportunities due to circumstances of their schooling.

Ms. Murray received music degrees from Temple and Northwestern Universities, has pursued post-graduate work at Westminster Choir College, and studied at the Kodály Institute in Kecskemet, Hungary through a Geraldine Dodge Foundation Fellowship Grant. She has been featured in the Philadelphia Inquirer and Camden County Courier-Post as an outstanding music teacher in the region and has received numerous education awards for her distinguished teaching practices and contributions to the arts in South Jersey. She has also directed children’s honor choirs on the regional and state levels.

In addition to teaching and conducting ensembles, Ms. Murray has presented numerous music workshops both statewide and internationally. In July 2014, she presented a choral workshop in Kasukabe, Japan for a prominent girls high school as part of a cultural exchange program.

Co-teaching with Polly will be Western Wind soprano Michele Kennedy, who grew up singing with the San Francisco Girls Chorus.


A Sample Western Wind Workshop Day
9:00–9:45Vocal warm-ups and rehearsal of large group piece
10:00–12:00Small group rehearsals
12:00–1:30Lunch and relaxation
1:30–2:00Optional musicianship skills classes or duo/trio coaching with guest faculty
2:00–4:00Small group rehearsals
4:15–5:00Optional country dancing with live band
5:15–6:00Optional jazz classes
7:15–9:30Performance seminar by all small ensembles

8-day participants have Monday open for recreational activities, including a swim at a local pond. 5- and 8-day 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 Friday night and on Monday night of each Smith workshop week.

Weekend participants finish their stay by presenting a concert on Sunday afternoon. 5-day participants present their final concert on Saturday afternoon. 8-day participants participate in both concerts.

Full days of performing and listening, participating and appreciating, will enrich your a cappella voyage through the ages!

Click here to view the full 2014 Session I schedule (PDF).


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, 2015.


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 TrainAmtrak (800-USA-RAIL) serves the town of Springfield, just 25 minutes from Northampton. Connections can be made via local bus service or taxi.

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.

Registration Policy

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.

Participants who enroll in any combination of 5- and/or 8-day workshops for both Session I and Session II receive a 20% tuition discount for each workshop.

There is also a tuition discount available to all participants who register before midnight on May 26, 2015 for Session I and July 1, 2014 for Session II.

Full refunds are made for cancellations received prior to May 27 for Session I and July 2 for Session II. From May 28–June 10 for Session I and July 3–16 for Session II, a cancellation fee of 50% of the deposit will be charged to cover administrative costs. Deposit is forfeited if cancellation is made after June 10 for Session I and July 16 for Session II. 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.

Special Offerings

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.

Music Policy

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.