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2018 Winter Gathering

Cambridge and Brookline, MA - January 26 - 27, 2018

Workshop Program

Read the workshop program in two ways:


Friday Night Concert (links coming soon)
Round Robin (performances by PMN members)

Artists in Residence: Charlie King and Rick Burkhardt

(Note: Due to a health issue, Charlie King was unable to attend)


3:50 PM-4:50 PM, Saturday, January 27, 2018

Library, Pierce School, Brookline, MA

In this plenary session, 2018 PMN Artists in Residence, Charlie King and Rick Burkhardt, discuss the process of writing politically inspired/targeted songs and the contexts in which these songs are heard. We hope to spur new thinking about new contexts and new ways that songs can do their best work.

Part 1: Crafting the "perfect" song:

  • Don't sing "Home on the Range" at 3 Mile Island – why are you writing this song?
  • Solos to sing-alongs – what do you want them to do, and who are they anyway?
  • Firing a shot or telling a story - broadsides and ballads.
  • "Union Maid" to "Christmas in the Trenches" – hit the nail on the head or write a song for the ages.
  • Who's your muse? Sources of inspiration and information for writing and singing.
  • When to steal and why. "He just stole from me. I steal from everybody." Woody Guthrie.

Part 2: So you've crafted a perfect song.

  • What's the perfect home for your perfect song?
  • Should it be on a concert of songs similar to it?
  • Should it be on a concert of songs different from it?
  • Should it be in a play? A movie? A YouTube video? A protest? An evening of storytelling? A potluck dinner?
  • How can we create new ways for our songs to meet new people?
  • How can we create contexts (including music) which welcome new people, people who might not yet think of themselves as “activists,” into our communities?

Charlie King is a musical storyteller and political satirist.  He sings and writes passionately about the extraordinary lives of ordinary people.  Pete Seeger hailed him as “One of the finest singers and songwriters of our time.”

Charlie has been at the heart of American folk music for half a century and has been writing songs for over 40 years.  In October of 2017 Charlie received the annual Phil Ochs Award, in recognition of  his music and activism for social and political justice in the spirit of Phil Ochs.  Other honors include: an “Indie” award for one of the top three folk recordings of 1984; the War Resisters League’s 1998 Peacemaker Award given to Charlie and Odetta; the 1999 Sacco-Vanzetti Social Justice Award for which he was nominated by Pete Seeger; and the 2014 Joe Hill Award, a lifetime achievement award for excellence in the field of labor culture.

Charlie’s songs have been recorded and sung by other performers such as Pete Seeger, Holly Near, Ronnie Gilbert, John McCutcheon, Arlo Guthrie, Peggy Seeger, Chad Mitchell and Judy Small.  In addition to a full time career of concert touring, King has sung in support of numerous groups working for peace, human rights, environmental sanity and alternatives to violence.  He is a founding member of People’s Music Network for Songs of Freedom & Struggle and of AFM Local 1000.  He is also an active member of IWW IU 630.

Charlie was born in 1947, and was raised in Brockton, MA.  He cites as musical influences the folk music revival of the 1960’s, the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War era.

Folk legend Peggy Seeger says, “If we had more Charlie Kings in the world I’d be less worried,” and Tom Paxton adds, “Luckily, we have him!”


Rick Burkhardt is an Obie-award-winning playwright, performer, composer, and songwriter. He is part of the Prince Myshkins – a political cabaret folk duo that tours nationally – singing at antiwar demonstrations, union rallies, schools, coffeehouses, living rooms, community centers and major urban intersections. His original chamber music, theater, and text pieces have been performed in over 40 US cities, as well as in Europe, Mexico, Canada, Taiwan, Australia, and New Zealand.  He is a founding member of the Nonsense Company, a touring experimental music and theater trio. In 2011 he was listed as an “Off Off Broadway Innovator to Watch” by Time Out New York.


Friday Concert

Inspiring concert performed by a diverse group of artists demonstrating the positive power of music to affect social change.  

Date and Location

Friday, January 26, 2018 at 7:30 pm. 
First Parish in Cambridge, Unitarian Universalist,
Meeting House3 Church Street, Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA 02138. 


  Charlie King
PMN Artist-in-Residence

Charlie King is a musical storyteller and political satirist. He has been at the heart of American folk music for half a century. He sings and writes passionately about the extraordinary lives of ordinary people.
Artist Website


Rick Burkhardt
PMN Artist-in-Residence

Rick Burkhardt is an Obie-award-winning playwright, performer, composer, and songwriter whose original works have been performed throughout the world. He is a founding member of the Nonsense Company, a touring experimental music/theater trio, and member of the Prince Myshkins, a political cabaret/folk duo.
Artist Website

  Regie Gibson

Poet, songwriter, author, workshop facilitator, and educator Regie Gibson has performed, taught, and lectured at schools, universities, theaters and other venues throughout the world. National Poetry Slam Individual Champion!
Artist website

   Sol y Canto

Since 1994, Sol y Canto has brought audiences to their feet from the Kennedy Center to the White House, the California World Music Festival to Boston's Symphony Hall, Puerto Rico's Museo de Arte to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The Boston Globe hails them "sublime ambassadors of the Pan-Latin tradition"
Artist website

  Windborne Singers

The four Windborne singers dynamic concert programs include songs from Corsica, the Republic of Georgia, Bulgaria, Quebec, and Basque country, as well as traditional and original American folk music. They believe deeply in the power of music to change hearts.
Artist website

Kallet, Epstein and Cicone
Cindy Kallet, Ellen Epstein and Michael Cicone have performed together in concerts, coffeehouses, and festivals throughout New England since 1981. Their close harmonies have inspired enthusiastic responses from audiences and critics alike. The trio sings both a capella and accompanied by guitar and hammered dulcimer, drawing material from contemporary and traditional music of the British Isles and North America, with a liberal sprinkling of sea music and occasional forays into other cultures as well.
Artist website

Marcia Gomes’ moving and powerful songs explore themes of faith, redemption, and social justice.

Marcia is a Cleo Laine vocal scholarship recipient and graduate of Berklee College of Music with a degree in voice and songwriting. She has performed with a number of popular local Boston bands including the jazz bands Straight Ahead and MaShanDi Jhazz, an all female R&B dance band called ​Sistahs of the Yam, and Move, an R&B pop band. When she is not performing or acting, Marcia teaches voice at the Institute for the Musical Arts summer rock camp for girls, and middle school English with an arts and social justice focus.
Artist Website

Special guest Cape Cod songwriter David Roth strikes many chords, hearts, and minds with his poignant songs and hilarious storytelling. As a singer, songwriter, recording artist, and teacher David has earned top honors at premier songwriter competitions – Kerrville (TX) and Falcon Ridge (NY) – and taken his music, experience, and expertise across this and other countries for three decades.
Artist Website
  Special guest Colleen Kattau combines the melodic gifts of Joni Mitchell with the fearless lyrical punch of the best topical songwriters. She seamlessly incorporates Latin and Native American influences into her songs for a unique and satisfying sound.
Artist Website

Choral conductor Nick Page is a songleader, composer, conductor and author with a boundless enthusiasm for helping singers of all levels of expertise find their voice. He conducts the Arlington-based Mystic Chorale and at the concert will conduct The PMN Chorus.
Artist Website

What is happening when?

Friday, January 26, 2018 – First Parish in Cambridge

4:00 PM – Registration Opens

5:30-6:30 PM – Pick Up Choir Rehearsal with Nick Page (Chapel, AKA “PMN Green Room”).

6:10-6:30 – Shabbat at PMN

Come join Mara Sapon-Shevin for a musical Shabbat ceremony open to EVERYONE. We will sing songs, light the candles, bless the wine and share challah. No prior knowledge necessary — come sing, hug and start the weekend with extra warmth.

5:30-6:30 – Protest U.S. Nuclear War Threats -- Singers Wanted! (Half Block South of the Church in Harvard Square)

Standout and sing out to protest U.S. nuclear war threats and to lament the expected moving forward of "The Doomsday Clock". (The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists will make this announcement 10 AM, Thursday, 1/25). Protesters, singers, all will gather near the Red Line T station and the Out of Town Newsstand. 

6:00 PM – 7:15 PM – Light Dinner (Parlor)  Food service closes down at 9:00 PM

7:30-10:00 PM (Doors open at 7:00) – Friday Night Concert (Sanctuary)

Saturday, January 27, 2018

7:30 AM-8:30 AM – Breakfast

8:00 AM – Registration Opens

8:30 AM-8:45 AM – Opening Ceremony (Cafeteria)

9:00 AM-10:20 AM – Workshop One

10:35 AM-11:55 PM – Workshop Two

12:05 PM-1:00 PM – Community Meeting (Cafeteria)

1:00 PM-2:00 PM – Lunch

2:15 PM-3:35 PM – Workshop Three

3:50 PM-4:50 PM – Plenary with Charlie King and Rick Burkhardt (Library)

5:00-6:15pm – Free Space

During the Free Space, you can propose a workshop, activity, or jam right up to the very last minute. Deadline for proposals is Saturday at 4:00 PM.

At the registration table, write up a description of a small workshop, discussion, or activity that you’d like to help lead during this time. Use the schedule grid to reserve a room. This is an opportunity for last minute collaborations among artists, as well as people who missed the deadline to submit a workshop. Since our physical space is limited, sign up as early as you can.

The topics, group leaders, and locations will be announced at the end of the plenary, which is Saturday at 4:50 PM. Large pieces of paper will be posted to indicate what is happening where. Please start thinking now what topics you’d like to connect with other musical activists about. Also feel free to use this time for napping, exploring the neighborhood, jamming in the hall, or socializing.

6:15 PM-7:20 PM – Dinner

7:15 PM- 12 Midnight – Round Robin

The Round Robin is a concert in which everyone gets a chance to perform. Given the limited time, please keep introductions to one line, or better yet, no intro. You will have one song, not more than 5 minutes. Priority is given to first time performers, children and those with special needs. Others are chosen by lottery.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

7:30 AM-8:45 AM – Breakfast

8:00 AM – Registration Opens

9:00 AM-10:30 AM – Workshop Four

10:45 AM-12:15 PM – Workshop Five

12:15 PM-1:30 PM – Lunch

1:30pm-2:00pm – Closing Ceremony

2:00pm-2:30pm – Clean Up

One-on-one Mentoring Sessions

Experienced PMN members, including Charlie King and Rick Burkhardt, will be available for one-on-one mentoring opportunities throughout the weekend: get pointers on your guitar/vocal and performance technique, work on your songwriting skills, or just talk to your mentor about finding your way as an independent musician. You may sign up for a session at the registration table when you arrive for the weekend, assignments will be on a first-come first-serve basis. If you are interested in being a mentor to other artists, please contact Ben Grosscup.

Youth Creative Convergence

Our movements for social change need to be intergenerational, and we know that kids are curious and creative, so why not hold space for kids to make intentional art?

This year’s Youth Creative Convergence is a unique opportunity for kids, youth and caregivers to come together around creative arts and social/environmental justice.  From theatre to juggling to making upcycled instruments, you’ll be amazed and invigorated by the end of this gathering.  

Any questions can be directed to Jayme or Tony at youthcreativeconvergence@gmail.com

Or, if it is time sensitive, please do not hesitate to call 413-320-6870

YCC Workshop descriptions:

Sense-say-tional  with Ren
An exercise creating collective poetry, may work better for 8 and up. Involves some writing solo and some reading together. Ren is a dynamic and visionary artist and skillful facilitator with youth, currently working with Urban Art Beat in NYC.

Movin n’ Musin with Ren

A friend will join me with guitar and we will create sounds thru our movement, and movement from his created sounds (all ages).

Sign and Sing with Lydia Adams Davis

Learn sign language through the power of song! A solo and collaborative artist in both children’s entertainment and coffee house venues,  Lydia delights concert audiences. Lydia offers performance workshops and co-creates  arts-in-education projects.

Juggling with Rob Peck

Your chance to defy gravity! Lighten your load and brighten your day by learning to juggle- In Slow Motion! Between colorful, lightweight nylon scarves that float slowly and simple step-by-step instructions, you'll soon be able to keep more objects in the air than you have hands. Juggling is poetry in motion, and its flowing rhythms and colorful patterns are like music to your eyes!  Rob Peck is an electrifying presenter and hilarious teacher you don’t want to miss.

Earth Day Every Day with Paul Goldman

The Earth Day Everyday Workshop is for 3 – 7 year olds, and teaches them how to help keep the earth healthy. The children will make musical instruments from recycled containers, sing along to songs written by Paul as he plays guitar and have fun.  Paul Goldman is a retired research scientist, has a passion for environmental education and creating interactive learning experiences for the next generation.

Songwriting Games! With Martin Swinger

Let’s have some fun writing songs! Using YOUR crazy ideas you’ll create funny limerick songs of your own, then together we’ll write a full-length song about a topic you choose. Your ideas count and your words matter. Let’s create an original song and sing it out loud!  Martin has 30 years experience doing songwriting activities for K-6th graders.

Songwriting for Kids and Parents/Caregivers with Tonez

Ever want to make something with your kid? Parents and caregivers will be delighted by what can come from creating a song with your kids ideas for lyrics. Tonez is an improvisational musician for kids dance classes as well as an independent musician.

Percussion with Tonez

Know a kid who likes to bang pots and pans together? Who doesn’t love doing that? Percussion for kids is a fun way to engage with ideas of rhythm, tone, movement, excitement and balance. Tonez is a lifelong drummer, has worked with kids for ages and performs with many musical groups.

Creative Movement for All with Jayme

Everybody can shake, twist, stretch, freeze and groove. Come one, come all. Movement is essential.  Jayme is a movement artist, game player and lifelong learner.

Theatre for Tough Times with Jayme

A technique from Brazil, come to learn about Theatre of the Oppressed - a series of games and exercises designed to help us be more courageous in our daily lives. Jayme studied TO at Hampshire College with Natalie Sowell.

Goals from the Youth Creative Convergence Organizers:
  • Interact and Generate:Participants are invited to create, co-create and improvise with each other.
  • Pass the Torch & People’s History:We share parts of the many histories of artful resistance that inspire us. We engage with the social justice questions of today and consider creative responses. Ideas from youth are celebrated and youth leadership is taken seriously.
  • Lead by Example & Share from Your Heart:Workshop leaders, organizers and performers show generosity and integrity through their offerings.

Jay Winell and Tonez Hall, YCC Co-Organizers

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