Workshops: 2020 Winter Convergence - NYC

2020 Workshop Program 

Workshop Grid

Saturday, January 25:

9:15 AM-10:35 AM – Workshop One
10:50 AM-12:10 PM – Workshop Two
2:15 PM-3:35 PM – Workshop Three
    Sunday, January 26:
    9:30 AM-11:00 AM – Workshop Four
    11:15 AM-12:45 PM – Workshop Five

      Workshop Categories
      Workshop Descriptions
      • Creative Process: Inspiration for developing creative work as well as instruction on vocal, instrumental, and/or performance techniques.
      • Group Singing: Singing together, sometimes with the song leaders pre-selected.
      • Music in the Movement: Panelists share knowledge, experiences, and strategies to make music more vibrant in today’s social justice struggles and in the society at large.
      • Music Promotion: Addressing the business end of being an independent working musician, with a focus on promoting music with a social justice message.
      • Musical Traditions of Struggle: Gain a deeper understanding of specific traditions of music that support people struggling for freedom.
      • Song Swap: The focus is on music you bring, shared in a round. Workshop leaders may open the session with a short presentation to set the tone, or just take their turn in the round.

        Sat., Jan. 25, 9:15 AM-10:35 AM – Workshop One

        1A) Choral TRACK: How To Improvise Activist Music on the Street

        (Auditorium – 1st floor)      Music in the Movement 

        Image result for savitri d

        We will share and develop skills specific to the needs of street performance and actions: volume, articulation, teachability,  legibility, flexibility, and endurance.  We will improvise, generate new material and work with well known song and chant forms.

        savitri d: an NYC-based activist and artist. She has been directing The Stop Shopping Choir since 9/11 and has designed and orchestrated creative interventions all over the world.

        nehemiah luckett: is the music director of the Stop Shopping Choir and has extensive experience with choral and vocal music forms. He has played for, sung in and directed choirs since he was a child.

        1B) Songs of Hope, Freedom and Justice

        (Library – 2nd floor)      Song Swap 

        We’ll create a supportive circle where participants are invited to share a song, poem, or rap.

        Gary Allard: Brooklyn-based singer songwriter.

        1C) Learning to Love Again Through Song

        (Room 128)      Music in the Movement 

        Unconditional love: a love that does not diminish due to distance, whether physical, emotional, or moral. This is not a value that our culture lifts up. We have learned to love someone when we hold them in high regard; we reject them when they disagree with us, cause harm, or betray our trust. In this workshop, we will explore what it feels like to love those who behave unlovingly, including ourselves, even while we oppose their actions - and sing songs that help to bring out this unconditional love. How could this lift up and amplify our activism?

        Steve Deasy: Award-winning American-Canadian performing songwriter, producer and arranger; socially conscious in the tradition of Bob Dylan and Pete Seeger with contemporary musicality. PMN Steering Committee member.

        Jasper Lapienski: Community organizer, choral singer, and dancer. Coordinator of Dance Spree and the Freedom & Struggle Song Swap in Greenfield, MA.

        1D) Rainbow Song Swap (formerly known at the LGBTQ Song Swap)

        (Room 118)      Song Swap 

        This circle gives voice and support to LGBTQIA songs and issues. ALL are welcome to share songs that speak to the queer experience: originals, existing songs that offered meaning or comfort, songs you wish you had heard, rallying anthems, personal revelations, celebrations of strength over adversity and the power of diversity. All are welcome - LGBTIQA identified and Allies. 

        Due to the nature of this workshop we respectfully request participants arrive in a timely way, share with us and not just 'drop by'.

        Martin Swinger: A thoughtful facilitator establishing safe space for participants to share profound and intimate, unique and universal themes. Martin is a life-long musician and gay activist.

        Dave Gott: Banjo player and singer from Greenfield, MA and regular participant in the local PMN Song Swap in Greenfield.

        1E)Hip Hop TRACK: Subgenres In Hip Hop

        (Room 112)      Musical Traditions of Struggle 

        From trap to boom bap, from drill to acid rap, we've seen various forms of rap music since its original inception in 1973. This workshop will give participants a taste of different sub-genres and styles of hip hop. These styles could be molded by time period, location (cities, countries, etc), ethnicity, etc. Facilitators will discuss, not only the genres, but the subcultures of hip hop and how the music influenced the cultures that they represented.

        Dilson Hernandez: Dilson is a genre merging artist from the Bronx. His talents include creative writing, playing various instruments, spoken-word poetry, singing, audio engineering, and beat making. He also became a certified Audio Engineer from the Institute of Audio Research. Dilson wishes to change the world with his art and community work (mostly for youth), striving for a more progressive and creative future. Dilson currently works at the nonprofit Friends of Island Academy advocating in courtrooms for 16-21 year-old incarcerated youth in NYC.

        1F)Spoken Word TRACK: Peace to the Poets: A Guided Writing Meditation and Sharing

        (Room 110)      Creative Process 

        This workshop will lead participants through a series of prompts and explore free verse writing. The sessions will include ice breakers, a group poem activity,  a guided writing session, and a sharing portion of the participant’s written works.

        Frank Antonio López, of the Peace Poets: Frank Antonio López has woven the knowledge of his BFA earned at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and his years of film experience with poetry to teach youth throughout New York City, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Ireland, and Singapore as a facilitator for his alma mater’s Tisch Special Programs. In 2006 and 2009, Frank was nominated for the prestigious NYU Oliver Stone Screenwriting Award for overachievement in the field of storytelling.  He is a member of The Peace Poets.

        Sat., Jan. 25, 10:50 AM-12:10 PM – Workshop Two

        2A) “We Began to Sing”: How Group Sings Draw Hearts Together

        (Auditorium – 1st floor)      Music in the Movement 

        We’ll start by screening a new 25-min film, “We Began to Sing,” which features the work of Annie Patterson & Peter Blood, and the late Pete Seeger.  There will be a chance for Q and A with the film-maker, Polly Wells, followed by a discussion on how community singing furthers the mission of PMN to advance justice and peace through music. Polly, Peter, and workshop participants will explore together what makes a group sing really click and draw hearts together.

        Polly Wells: Canadian-American independent documentary filmmaker, member of a song circle in Toronto.

        Peter Blood: Co-creator of Rise Up Singing & Rise Again, editor of Pete Seeger’s autobiography, Where Have All the Flowers Gone: A Singalong Memoir

        Candida Paltiel: is a documentary producer, director, and writer. She was the Aristic Director of Planet in Focus International Environmental Film Festival and received her MFA in Film from Columbia University.

        ) Nueva Canción TRACK: Canto comprometido: Latin American Women composers and performers in nueva canción and beyond.

        (Library – 2nd floor)      Group Singing 

        This participatory workshop opens up the nueva canción track by celebrating Nueva canción artists including Sara Gonzalez, Amparo Ochoa,  Mercedes Sosa,  Liliana Herrero, and especially  Violeta Parra focusing on the directly political lyric content of their original and interpreted compositions.  We'll share songs by contemporary artists like Katia Cardenal, Lila Downs,  Ana Tijoux, and Liliana Felipe whose repertoire although outside the historical moment of "new song" often addresses issues of oppression and liberation. translations and lyric sheets provided.

        Colleen Kattau: Vocalist and writer of original & bilingual music. With a voice that 'haunts with its range and clarity" her energy in performance is contagious. She performs solo and w her

        band Dos XX.

        Juliana Barnet: Activist, anti-colonial anthropologist, musician, writer, cultural educator and organizer immersed in Latin American popular movements and their music, based in Mexico and the US (DC metro area).

        Ruben Gonzalez:  Originally from San Juan Argentina, Rubén González is a singer songwriter, musician and educator residing in New York City.  His music is a journey crossing borders between distant places and spaces: South and North America, politics and poetry, pain and humor.  Ruben’s music has a “handmade” feeling that draws audiences into a communal music making experience.

        ) Choral TRACK: Every Member Makes Us Stronger: Building a Choral Collective

        (Room 128)      Group Singing 

        This is a workshop for people who love choral singing! Participants will be able to identify the strengths of their chorus and areas in need of improvement; practice exercise to build solidarity from within; and create a collectively written song to take back to their respective chorus.

        Elise Bryant: For 30 years has used song in her educational work to teach history, inspire and build solidarity. She is Executive Director of the Labor Heritage Foundation, and director of the DC Labor Chorus.

        2D) Migrant Justice Song Swap

        (Room 118)      Song Swap 

        Donald J. Trump’s scapegoating and imprisonment of refugees and migrants in concentration camps are among his cruelest and most fascistic policies.  Thousands of children have been separated from their families, some perhaps forever, and some have even died.  Others wait in camps both inside and outside the border where they are preyed upon. Many people, some who are even legal citizens living in the USA, are living in constant fear.  There are many rallies around the country to which we need to bring our songs to share with those involved. We also need songs to perform at our concerts which will help expose this atrocity. Also please feel free to bring any contacts you have to share with the group where we can participate.

        At this workshop we will share these songs and make them available to each other.  We especially welcome completely new songs.  We are also interested very old songs that have been updated.  There are some great old songs like "Deportee", or "Pastures of Plenty" – and we hope you will sing these too, but in this workshop, we encourage you to leave them at the door, because we already know them, and we're looking for new material that we can be singing on the streets.  You can send your lyrics in advance to be printed by Mike & Lindsey for a workshop handout by emailing with “immigration workshop” in the subject line.

        Mike Glick: Long time PMN member and member of GENERATIONS, a father/son led progressive music group using jazz, blues, US folk, Brazilian, latin music and more.

        2EHip Hop TRACK: The Five Elements of Hip Hop

        (Room 112)      Musical Traditions of Struggle 

        This workshop will be an open forum. Questions are highly encouraged. Participants are welcome to offer their experience, insight, and perceptions of the 5 elements of Hip-Hop, which are:

        1. The Music- (the beats, scratching, sampling, etc).

        2. Graffiti- (the individuality, originality, scope, and range of the tags, and the rules)

        3. Emceeing- (Working the crowd, Motivations, style, call and response, topics of the raps). Hint: it is more than just saying rhymes.)

        4. B-Boys/Break Dancing- We will ask for demonstrations and discuss the evolution and origins of some of the dance moves, focusing attention on the some socio-political overtones of the dance.

        5. Knowledge- The history, growth and original goals of Hip Hop.

        Be prepared for a lively, guided interchange.

        Wallace St. Clair and the HQ Brothers: Hip Hop Artist from the Bronx.  Started the HQ Brothers in the 1970s.  Currently works with formerly incarcerated individuals to help them get jobs and reintegrate into society.

        2FSpoken Word TRACK: The Beauty of Expressing: The Art of Performing Spoken Word

        (Room 110)      Creative Process 

        This Workshop will give tips to prepare for open mics and poetry slams. The goal is to encourage speaking your truth unapologetically and discovering the tools needed to handle nerves during performances at an open mic or poetry slam. The workshop will discuss the do’s and the “idk bro” of the Open mic scene, how to alleviate the nerves, and maintain confidence while on stage. From the slam poetry perspective, we will further emphasize, confidence, emotion and passion.

        Sav-B: 26 year old writer Sav-B is a rapper with a foundation in poetry from Long Island, and is a force to be heard. His lyrics take you on a trip into real life through his first hand experience and story telling ability. From poetry slam champion to Tedx speaker to performing at the Highline Ballroom, Sav-B shares his truth as much as he can. His goal is to give more, and inspire people. Sav-B is reporting love from the underground, and wont stop and can't be stopped.  His sound is truthful and powerful.  He knows his voice brings abundance and empowers everyone listening to “Start1st”.

        Sat., Jan. 25, 2:15 PM-3:35 PM – Workshop Three

        3A) Children's Concert

        (Auditorium – 1st floor)      Concert 

        This concert is FREE and open to the Public, so tell every child in NYC about it!  It will feature:  a group of children known as The Garden Players, led by Betina Hershey; Different groups of students from CPEII led by Paul Clarke as well as Anand Gan, plus some long-time PMN members who perform regularly for children.

        Jayme Winell:  Has been leading the youth Creative Convergence for PMN since 2017.  Teaches dance. 

        Betina Hershey: Leads the Garden Players.

        3BNueva Canción TRACK: Women in Nueva Canción

        (Library – 2nd floor)      Group Singing 

        In this intergenerational and cross-cultural workshop we will share and discuss songs from the Nueva Canción repertoire, the 1960s folk-inspired socially conscious music of Latin America.  We will focus on the representation of women in classic Nueva Canción songs, as well as women's contributions to the movement as songwriters. Among the questions addressed are: What was the political and historical context of this music? How are women represented in Nueva Canción? How are they sounded out, that is, what is the relationship between the lyrics and the music? How do gender, race, ethnicity, and class play a role in the selected repertoire? What lessons might we draw as singers and singer-songwriters as we discuss women's empowerment through music and poetry today? Songs will be accompanied by the Puerto Rican cuatro and acoustic guitar. Lyrics and translations will be provided so that those inclined may sing along. Join us!

        Mario Cancel-Bigay: Singer-songwriter and ethnomusicologist. Born in 1982, he learned to play the cuatro at a public music school in San Juan.  He is a Ph.D. candidate in the ethnomusicology program at Columbia University where he researches the relationship between intersubjectivity, creolization, and decoloniality as heard through the song and sound making of politically aware singer-songwriters/musicians/poets who contributed to 1960s and 70s social justice struggles in Puerto Rico and Québec.

        Ani Cordero: is a Puerto Rican songwriter and activist living in New York. Ani writes socially-conscious musicinspired by Nueva Cancion traditions and is co-founder of PRIMA, a non-profit that provides support to Puerto Rico’s independent music community.

        Luci Murphy: D.C.-based vocalist and song-leader. Former PMN Steering Committee member. Member of the D.C. Labor Chorus. Founder and director of the Black Workers Center Chorus.

        ) Choral TRACK: Activist Chorus Song Swap and Skill Share

        (Room 128)      Music in the Movement 

        Choruses can play a powerful and positive role during street protests by building energy, clarifying purpose, and magnifying the message.  Participating Choral Collectives will demonstrate and discuss ways that we have brought music to street actions to protest injustice.  We will draw lessons, both positive and negative, from the methods we have used.  Be prepared to sing, chant, and offer your thoughts on this important mission.

        The Walkabout Clearwater Chorus has been quite successful in getting others to sing with us at many demonstrations including the The Women's Marches, The People's Climate March, a Black Lives Matter march in New Rochelle, and many others.

        Other Participating Choral Groups: Voices Rising Philly and Sing in Solidarity Chorus.

        3D) Contemporary Labor Song Swap

        (Room 118)      Song Swap 

        We will swap relatively new songs about working people, their lives, their work, their struggles, and their unions. Please leave the grand old union anthems on the shelf this time, unless you have updated them!

        Steve Suffet: An old fashioned folksinger in the People's Music tradition. Member of the Peoples' Voice Cafe collective in NYC.  Long-time union member (now retired).

        3E)Hip Hop TRACK: Beat Making 101: Instrumentation in Hip Hop Music.

        (Room 112)      Creative Process 

        This workshop will give a description of the instrumental music behind hip hop songs. Participants get an in-depth lesson on how beats are made, types of production, and more. Div1ne will give an overview of various digital and analog devices used by beat makers (Digital Audio Workstations (DAW’s), beat machines, samplers, MPC’s, etc). Participants will have the opportunity to be more familiar with the beat making tools mentioned above by looking at and getting a feel for the devices that facilitators have brought in.

        Matthew “Div1ne” Rosario is an audio instructor, engineer, and music producer. Graduated from The City College of New York in 2015 (B.A. Music). Eight years of experience working with artists of all levels. Keyboard based musician, self-taught with knowledge in music theory.

        3F)Spoken Word TRACK: Writing and Improvisation in Spoken Word Poetry

        (Room 110)      Creative Process 

        The purpose of Concrete Growth Through Poetry is to aid in the development of self worth, confidence, and discipline. In order to truly be rehabilitated one must understand their mistakes are forgivable by way of accountability. This allows for transparency and the ability to express oneself in a multitude of ways, poetry being one.  This workshop will also explore the techniques needed to navigate in the world of improvisational, performative poetry.

        Artist Up (Nicole Watson): Nicole N. Watson, also known as Artist Up, overcame traumas by indulging herself in the arts. She began writing, performing spoken word, and acting. After the death of her mother she became the Creative Director of @MissAbbiesKids and has appeared on many stages/platforms as a host, actor, spoken word artist, and program creator/facilitator.  Nicole has inspired the disconnected youth community by facilitating groups in spoken word, public speaking, creative writing, and expression from Rikers Island to August Aichhorn. Artist Up provides a weekly forum in the Bronx for people to express themselves and relieve stress/traumas called "Tuesday Night Expressions".

        Sun., Jan. 26, 9:30 AM-11:00 AM – Workshop Four

        4A) Songs of the Spirit

        (Auditorium – 1st floor)      Group Singing 

        Songs of the Spirit is a PMN tradition since 1982. We gather in a large circle for a cappella singing of inspirational and empowering songs. Between songs, we pause, breathe and feel the energy and connection of the group.

        Please select songs that can be learned immediately and where essentially the entire song can be sung by every voice. Because we are aiming to achieve full group participation throughout, we ask that you not choose songs in which only the leader knows the verses or which preclude full participation. If you’ve already initiated one song, make space for someone else to do this.

         Songs of the Spirit allows us to practice spontaneity and responsiveness in a large group – both essential components of community building. We aim to transcend attachments we feel to specific songs and our own leadership and to become more aware of ways the whole group can feel inspired. We hope to conclude feeling centered and grounded.

        Verne McArthur: Activist, song-leader, and long-time UU member from Springfield, MA. He travels around UU congregations in New England offering Sunday services built around congregational singing.

        Sun., Jan. 26 26, 11:15 AM-12:45 PM – Workshop Five

        5AIntegrating Saturday's TRACKS: Getting Into Step: Fusion Music for Fusion Movements

        (Auditorium – 1st floor)      Music in the Movement 

        This workshop and strategic dialogue is designed to help us build our collective capacity to use music in more effective, sustainable, and inspiring ways for these times. Building on workshops that have taken place throughout the weekend.

        Sunday’s session will bring our tracks together to share our experiences of integrating music, singing, and spoken word into current day protests. We will explore strengths and creative interventions that our different musical genres can bring to street actions. We will learn songs that have been used in Poor People’s Campaign actions, talk about "action logic," and explore how to innovate new ways to use music in the streets, revitalize long standing traditions of participatory singing, and think creatively about the use of spoken word and choral arrangements in creative direct action.

        5B) Grain of Salt: Workshopping Politically-based Songs in Progress

        (Library – 2nd floor)      Creative Process 

        Stuck somewhere in the middle? Here’s an interactive and participatory workshop for any songs or parts thereof that you’d like to have some input on. We’ll hear these songs-in-progress and become a collective think-tank about what’s working so far and what might be improved upon. It’s also an opportunity to hone your listening and feedback-giving skills as

         we work with as many participants as time allows and collectively ponder the many elements – lyric, melody, rhythm, chord progression, key, arrangement, etc. – that make a song click. Participants are invited to bring 10-15 lyric sheets of the song they'll be presenting.

        Pat Lamanna: Long-time member of PMN; award-winning singer-songwriter. Learned about this type of workshop at Summersongs, a songwriter’s camp in Ashokan, N.Y.

        Terry Kitchen: Award-winning folksinger/songwriter, recording artist, author and activist. He teaches songwriting, often in conjunction with his performances.

        5C) Anti-war Song Swap

        (Room 128)      Song Swap 

        With Donald J. Trump trying to drag us into yet another endless war, this time with Iran, let's share relatively new or at least currently relevant anti-war songs.  Please save the anti-war anthems of past eras for another time, unless you have re-written them to reflect our times.

        David Heitler-Klevans:

        Jenny Heitler-Klevans:

        5D) Activate Your Inner Activist!

        (Room 118)      Creative Process 

        Participants in this experiential workshop will practice ways to write new songs via inner contemplation and outer collaboration with other workshop members!  Includes songwriting exercises, individual and group songwriting time, and sharing of new songs.

        Liz Taub: Fiddler/singer/songwriter who performs in the tristate area, social  worker with a private practice in NYC.

        Judy Gorman: World renowned singer/songwriter with years of experience in teaching, sharing, songwriting, social  justice worlds!

        5E) Make it Full Time: Financial Sustainability for Creative Professionals

        (Room 112)      Music Promotion 

        Khaiim the RapOet will give an overview followed by Q&A, based on his online mastermind program for creative professionals. Participants will be acquainted with the 4 components of a sustainable arts career, the 12 major obstacles on the path to sustainability, and an introduction to the tools and solutions for each one. This workshop is not intended for those who've just begun dabbling in the arts; rather it guides those who are already establishing themselves as creative professionals to  become more financially sustainable, in the midst of family and other competing responsibilities common to adult professional artists.

        Khaiim Kelly: Khaiim the RapOet is an international touring artist and keynote speaker. He's received critical acclaim as a positive rapper while performing with everyone from Pulitzer Prize poets like Alice Walker to Grammy winning MCs like Common.  He’s also recorded in Jay-Z’s studio with J Cole's multiplatinum engineer Mez.

        5F) A Circle of sharing about aging through Song, Poem and Inspiration

        (Room 110)      Song Swap 

        Sharing songs about growing older in any manner: physically, emotionally, or spiritually. Since we are all constantly aging, participants of any age are welcome.

        Adele Rolider: Singer- songwriter and music therapist; Been a member and vocal coach for the Raging Grannies for about 15 years.

        Marcie Boyd:  Marcie Boyd is a singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, teacher, activist, and longtime PMN member (since 1982!)  She lives in Berkeley, CA, where she sings with Occupella and the LaPeña Chorus.

          ----------------------------WORKSHOP SELECTION PROCESS-------------------------

          Propose a Workshop

          To propose a specific workshop for the upcoming 2020 Winter Convergence, consider the goals and criteria below.  Then, fill out this Workshop Proposal Form. Deadline for workshop proposals is December 20, 2020.

            Goals of PMN Workshops

            • Sustain diverse traditions of music for progressive social change.
            • Help artists develop skills in musicality, songwriting, and/or music promotion.
            • Help activists and artists integrate music into social justice struggles effectively.
            • Provide space for sharing and enjoying socially and politically poignant music.

            Criteria for Selecting Workshops

            We're planning a workshop program in which all break out sessions will do these things:

            1. Make clear what music and cultural work can accomplish in the context of current day movements for peace and justice.
            2. Exhibit a collaborative form of leadership within the workshop itself in order to incubate future collaborations outside of the gathering, spread the shine among a diverse range of attending artists, and set a tone of active participation. We ask that all participants bring their shine to this gathering while also being open to what other participants have to offer as well.
            3. Represent the full geographical breadth of the People's Music Network. 

            Workshop Listings and Video Highlights from Past Gatherings

            Fall Convergence (New York, NY) ) - October 20, 2019

            Winter Gathering (New York, NY) ) - January 25-27, 2019

            Summer Gathering (Tolland, MA) – June 2018

            Winter Gathering (Boston, MA) - January 26-28, 2018

            Summer Gathering (Tolland, MA) – June 2017

            Winter Gathering (Greenfield, MA) – January 2017

            NYC Local PMN Gathering – October 16, 2016

            Summer Gathering (Tolland, MA) – June 2016

            Winter Gathering (Albany, NY) – January 2016

            Summer Gathering (Bloomingburg, NY) – June 2015

            Winter Gathering (Greenfield, MA) – January 2015

            Summer Gathering (High Falls, NY) – June 2014

            Winter Gathering (New York, NY) – January 2014

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