Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Recording Retreat at La Maison Verte

Step away from it all and participate in a Recording Retreat at beautiful La Maison Verte, an 1830's wine-maker's mansion located in the beautiful Languedoc region of southern France.

Saturday, July 22, 2017 - Saturday, July 29, 2017

To record a full-length CD of Flemish Renaissance polyphony, featuring music by one or more of the following composers:
  • Adrian Willaert
  • Antoine Brumel
  • Cipriano de Rore
  • Clemens non Papa
  • Heinrich Isaac
  • Josquin des Prez
  • Orlando de Lassus
  • Thomas Crecquillon
Repertoire will be finalized after the singers have been selected.

Sopranos, Altos, Tenors and Basses—4 on each part for a total of 16 singers (maximum 20). Experience singing Renaissance polyphony preferred though not required. We will tailor the experience to fit all skill levels!

MARKDAVIN OBENZA is the director of Seattle-based Byrd Ensemble, founder of chamber choir Vox16, and Producer for Scribe Records, an independent record label. He is an active freelance singer who performs with the Byrd Ensemble and has performed with the Tudor Choir, Early Music Vancouver and members of the Tallis Scholars. He is the Director of Choral Music at Trinity Parish Church in Seattle, WA.

FRANCIS STEELE is musical director of Verte Musique and was, for thirty years, a professional vocalist, singing bass for such groups as The Tallis Scholars and The Sixteen. Since 2003 he has developed a worldwide reputation as a vocal group coach/tutor and has also produced many CDs. He enjoys working with less experienced singers as much as with professionals.

SCHEDULE: subject to change, a little!
SAT JULY 22 - Arrive and relax!
We'll have dinner, introductions, and talk about the week ahead! Have a nap to situate yourself in the time zone, or maybe check out the town. Or maybe you need to stay up and swim in the pool or play some ping pong... tons of things to do!

SUN JULY 23-MON JULY 24 - Time to rehearse
A light continental breakfast is served at 8am. We'll have a rehearsal at 10am, have lunch at 1pm, and more rehearsal from 2:30pm-6pm. Dinner at 6pm. Small group performances at 8pm followed by a nightcap at the bar! We're hoping to fit a short lecture about the music and the technical recording process.

TUES JULY 25-THURS JULY 27 - Recording Sessions
Just like the previous days, but with recording sessions in the afternoon at the Roujan town church, Cahuzac Isabelle.

FRI JULY 28 - Performance at the Roujan town church, Cahuzac Isabelle
The main event is the performance this evening. We'll take it easy today and have a light rehearsal in the afternoon after lunch.

SAT JULY 29 - Goodbye!
A nice brunch as we say farewell!

€695 (that's Euros!)

What your fee includes:
  • Accommodations for one person for the entire week Note: Most of the rooms are double occupancy. There are a few single occupancy rooms available at €795 on a first-come, first-served basis. 
  • Includes a continental breakfast, lunch and dinner. Alcoholic beverages will be available for purchase.
  • A professionally-produced CD of your singing on the retreat.
  • An in-depth understanding about the recording process.
  • A lecture about the history behind the music.
  • An opportunity to fine tune the musical skills required for recording session work as well as concert performance.
  • A concentrated week of singing to focus on the vocal skills necessary for chamber ensemble singing.
Interested singers, please fill out this application. Sign up soon! Space is limited.

This course is sponsored by the Byrd Ensemble. Please send all payments to:

The Byrd Ensemble
PO BOX 12505
Seattle, WA 98111-4505

For more information, please contact Markdavin Obenza at markdavin@byrdensemble.com


What's so cool about the house?
La Maison Verte was built in the 1830′s, and started life as a wine producer’s mansion. Nothing much has changed, except now the gardens grow oleanders, irises, mimosa, tamarisk, lilac and almonds as well as vines. The property remains totally secluded, with a vast courtyard and an acre or so of fragrant and colourful gardens. The swimming pool is surrounded by mulberry, fig and almond trees, and pomegranates, oranges and lemons all thrive. It belongs to English singer Francis Steele, arts administrator Anne Roberts and their thirteen-year-old daughter Eliza. They live there all year round, and are always on hand to give help, information or advice to enable guests to make the most of their stay.

Where do we rehearse and record?
Rehearsal room: we have a vast rehearsal room (80m2), which is well sound-proofed with an acoustically tested ceiling.  It has a terracotta tiled floor, its own shower and toilets and a wall of windows providing beautiful views of the courtyard and pool.

Rehearsal Room

Wine Barn: our wine barn is also about 80m2 and can be used either as a semi-alfresco eating area or as an additional workshop space.

Break-out spaces: we have additional spaces including a large living room which can be used for small group work such as discussions, singing or as quiet spaces.

Recording sessions and the Friday concert will be held here at Cahuzac Isabelle.

Cahuzac Isabelle

Tell me about the what's around La Maison Verte!
La Maison Verte is set in the hub of the working village of Roujan, in the beautiful Languedoc region of southern France. The property is only 5 minutes’ drive from the very popular town of Pézenas, 25 minutes from the beaches of the Mediterranean, and within 90 minutes‘ drive of 5 international airports. The village boasts two superb bakeries and a traditional French café, and the Saturday market at nearby Pézenas (once the capital of Languedoc) is one of the best markets in the region. All around, vineyards stretch as far as the eye can see, providing guests with superb walks, and of course, excellent wine-tasting opportunities!

Languedoc is a hidden treasure, growing in popularity all the time.  Between the mountains and the Mediterranean, it is rich in history, breath-takingly beautiful, blessed with superb weather and rejoicing in a burgeoning international reputation for the quality of its wine.  It is also served by at least 6 airports within two hours of La Maison Verte, the closest of which (Beziers/Cap d’Agde) is just half an hour away.

MORE PHOTOS. Read more about La Maison Verte here.


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