In Celebration of the Human Voice - The Essential Musical Instrument

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List of Song Leaders

Every good chorus needs a director and every Circlesing needs a good song leader. Here is a list of experienced leaders who either hold regular ongoing sessions or who travel and present special classes around the country.

Circle Singing

Displaying 1 - 30 of 30 items.

Michaela Bartoskova

Michaela is a Voice / Singing / Movement Coach who teaches at the Met Film School at Ealing Studios; and The Actors Centre in the West End; in addition to running her private studio practice and other vocal projects.

She is Choir Director of The Voice Energy project that invites on a spontaneous singing adventure full of world music, improvisation, body and vocal percussion; Creative Director of Circle Singing London that explores vocal improvisation and sound effects in unusual places; Movement Director of To Move with Voice project that integrates specific yoga positions with contemporary vocal techniques; and Founder of Holistic Singing / Voice coaching that works with voice, breath, movement & sensation of sound. Michaela has performed at the: Barbican, Roundhouse, Southbank Centre, Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club, Woodburner, Museum of London.

Sunshine Becker

Sunshine Becker (formerly Sunshine Garcia) is a singer, songwriter and vocal performance coach, who has been a 24 year member of thr critically acclaimed, National Harmony Sweepstakes champions SoVoSo.. After playing many dream venues from Shoreline to Radio City, she took her final bow with the Grateful Dead spin-off band of Phil Lesh and Bob Weir's called Furthur in January, 2015. Sunshine is currently working on a solo record, playing shows as Sunshine Garcia Band, and touring in New York in March, 2015 with a band she formed with former Primus & Ratdog drummer Jay Lane called Jay's Happy Sunshine Burger Joint. She continues to teach vocal performance and stays busy doing studio sessions. CircleSinging and improvising keep her young. She lives and breathes a cappella, infusing if into every performance and every day life. Her bassist husband and 5 year old son are the heart beart and back beat to her musical story.

Renee Benmeleh

Renee Benmeleh is a multi-cultural vocalist/composer/instrumentalist created in Venezuela from Mediterranean ancestry. She has been joyfully singing Improv, Jazz, World, Ritual, and Original music for 20 + yrs. in the Bay Area.

Renee is the founder and agile facilitator at Bay Area Vocal Improv where she leads monthly classes, workshops, and events using vocal and movement games, improvised melodies and rhythms, in an accepting, and caring environment that supports vocal exploration and the expression of your authentic sound. Renee is also happy to spend her time on the planet as a Drum Circle Facilitator, a Sound Nourishment Practitioner, and a seasoned early childhood music practitioner.

Marie Black

Marie Black Studio's Holistic Voice Lab is a music studio for singers and speakers of all levels. Based less in traditional vocal pedagogy and more in experiential exploration, we affirm your birthright to sing, to play, no matter your level of music education. Our teaching methodologies are grounded in a lineage of brilliant music performers and teachers including the works of vocal improviser, Bobby McFerrin and Transformational Voice Institutes' holistic teaching methods. Our mission is to help you release your innate musicality and deepen your core confidence.

Joey Blake

Joey is one of the founding and current members of Voicestra, the a cappella ensemble created by Bobby McFerrin. He was also a founding member of Sovoso the group that spun from Voicestra. Joey has recorded & produced five albums for this group, ( Precious - a European release, Bridges and Seasonings for the US, as well as Crack the Nut and Then and Now). He also holds numerous arranging credits to his name, including his work with SoVoSo. His discography includes recordings with McFerrin (Medicine Music, CircleSongs), Kenny Loggins, Dianne Reeves, to name a few.

Joey is currently on the faculty of Berklee College of Music in Boston, as an Associate Professor in the Voice Department. He continues to tour with, Sung Deep, Back To The Band and Bobby McFerrin, while pursuing his solo work and teaching career.

Oskar Boldre

Oskar Boldre was born as a self-taught and approached music as a very young guitarist / singer in progressive rock bands in the Milanese "cellars" starting in 1984. Later he went through free / folk and afro / jazz experiences as a singer-percussionist, bassist and composer. In the 5 years lived as a farmer in the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines he discovered the strength of the voice instrument and the polyrhythmias of the body. Then he devoted himself to studying and deepening the Overtonic song with Bernard Jaeger (CH / D). Since 1996 he has directed the polyphonic choirs ( Goccia di Voci ) and vocal ensembles ( Ancore d'Aria), still active in the Insubric region. He has collaborated with various theater companies as a vocal trainer, actor and composer (ATIR Milan, Teatro due Mondi Faenza, Teatro dei Fauni Locarno).

Evemarie Brunelle

Evemarie Brunelle est une femme dynamique qui chante dans des chorales depuis qu'elle est toute petite! Nee d'un pere chef de choeur, elle a grandi dans une famille de musiciens et a joue de la flûte traversiere classique pendant plusieurs annees. Elle se consacre aujourd'hui à la musique vocale en tant que soliste, improvisatrice, choriste et directrice des chorales Allez Chante!

Pollyanna Bush

Singer, pianist, award winning songwriter and performer, Pollyanna Bush, works in a myriad of musical genres. In addition to producing her own solo projects, Pollyanna collaborated with Raz Kennedy on the PoRazone Love Project and has performed lead and backing vocals on over 100 recording projects, including the American Idol: Karaoke Revolution video game and songwriting demos for the likes of Kevin Harris and Suzanne Noe. Pollyanna is a featured vocalist on the compilation CD entitled "Women of the Bay", produced by Joey Muller, and on Michael Stillwater's CD entitled "Arc in Time".

As a music educator, Pollyanna has significant experience nurturing artists and imparting a wealth of wisdom in the fields of voice, piano and songwriting and has been leading her own special brand of circle singing for 25 years. Presently, Pollyanna owns and operates Music Works Studio in Fairfax, serves on the faculty at Musically Minded Academy in Oakland, and teaches students all over the world through virtual digital platforms

Bryan Dyer

Bryan Dyer is a professional musician with almost 20 years of professional experience. He's a versatile multi-instrumentalist and vocalist who has performed many styles of music from classical and avant-garde to rock, jazz and blues. His talents are in a high demand as he performs with as many as 8 different groups at a time. Music has taken Bryan around the world to several different countries including Japan, Switzerland & Jamaica and alongside such artist as Al Green, Michael McDonald and Bonnie Raitt. Some of the groups he currently performs with include SoVoSo, Slammin All-Body Band, Chelle! and Friends, Rankin' Scroo & Ginger and Linda Tillery and the Cultural Heritage Choir.

Anny Fyreagle

Anny Fyreagle is a multi-faceted creative conductor, a gourmet of artistic gifts, skills and talents that she brings to every occasion with whole heart and passion. A master of intuitive arts she incorporates sound, word, dance, imagery, healing and ritual in everything she undertakes.

She uses her own unique and sometimes magical approach in individual and group facilitation that empowers those who study with her to "find their own voice". In this regard, her ability to improvise has served her well. Anny took up drumming and world instruments when she was looking for another way to use her voice. She studied drum with several drum masters. Expanded her voice with vocal coaches, studied sound, acoustics, psycho acoustics and became a sound practitioner, this has been her life practice for 20 years. One of the essential skills of a sound practitioner is improvisation, adapting to shifts that appear in the moment.

Kate Richards Geller

Kate Richards Geller is a music therapist and vocal improviser who is well-known for keen listening, creating safety in a group, facilitating freedom within structure, and supporting personal expression.

Kate earned a master's degree in Music Therapy from NYU in 1997 and then combined her singer/songwriter skills and' joie de vivre' with clinical improvisation to enhance "quality of life" in medical settings, community centers, and therapeutic pre-schools. The core of her work engages people in interactive singing as a bridge to self-expression, communication, and community-building. The focus of her training has included esteemed artists/teachers: Diane Austin, Lisa Sokolov, Renee Manning, Rhiannon, Silvia Nakkach.

In 1996, she began nurturing a community of vocal improvisers in NYC which is still thriving and, since June 2012, she has been traveling across the US and Europe sharing her experiences and training with singing communities along the way. Currently, she is living in the Arts District of Downtown Los Angeles

Zuza Goncalves

Zuza Goncalves is a graduate of the eclectic sounds, inclusive spirit, and rock'n'roll scene of his hometown, São Paulo, Brazil, as well as UNESP Art Institute's program in conducting/composition. Since 2000, Zuza has been integrating vocal improvisation, body percussion, movement, and cooperative practices, leading workshops in Rome, New York City, and Los Angeles. He serves as a teaching artist for Sesc Vila Mariana's Music Centre and coleads the "Musica do Círculo" project, which hosts biannual retreats in Brazil drawing participants from all over the world.

Brian Hehn

Brian is an inspiring song-leader equally comfortable leading an a cappella singing of "It Is Well" as he is drumming and dancing to "Sizohamba Naye." Experienced using a variety of genres and instrumentations, he has lead worship for Baptists, Roman Catholics, United Methodists, Presbyterians, and many more across the U.S. and Canada. He received his Bachelor of Music Education from Wingate University, his Master of Sacred Music from Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, and is certified in children's church music (K-12) by Choristers Guild. He has articles published on sacred music and congregational song in multiple journals and co-authored the book All Hands In: Drumming the Biblical Narrative, published by Choristers Guild. While working for The Hymn Society as the Director of The Center for Congregational Song, he is also Associate Director of Contemporary Music at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen in Baltimore, Maryland, and adjunct professor of church music at Wingate University in Wingate, North Carolina. Brian lives in Baltimore, Maryland, with his wife, Eve, and son, Jakob.

Margo Hennebach

Margo Hennebach is a Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner, Music Therapist, Performer and Recording Artist (as Margo Hennebach and with Mad Agnes). She's studied voice with Starr Cookman, assisted Rhiannon in vocal improv trainings throughout the US and Canada, and trained with other improv luminaries including Bobby McFerrin and Susan Osborn. She has a BM in Piano, a graduate degree in Music Therapy and has led workshops and classes in CT, NY and at Berklee College of Music in Boston.

Jane Lewis

Jane Lewis has been leading vocal groups since 2008, from "finding your voice" and "how to sing harmony by ear" workshops to various choirs and community singing events. As a singer-songwriter, she is often compared to Carole King, playing piano-based music that draws on her strength as a lyricist and singer. She has released 4 albums, and performs as a solo artist and with the folk duo Gathering Sparks, nominated for a 2014 Canadian Folk Music Award for Vocal Group of the Year.

Jane has studied with Rhiannon (All the Way In) and twice attended Bobby McFerrin's CircleSongs workshop at Omega. She has teamed up with fellow musician Joni NehRita to lead regular CircleSinging groups in Guelph and Kitchener, Ontario.

Chris MacLean

In her 30 years as a professional musician, Chris has played a diverse mix of musical styles including Bluegrass and Ole' Time, Folk/Roots, and Indo-Canadian World Music. She has performed in trios, in quartets, and as a solo performer with and without backing musicians. She is currently one of the Paugan Dames, an acoustic trio based in Wakefield QC. Several times, she has toured across Canada and outside the country both solo and in groups. Her most recent grant from the Canada Council for the Arts for the recording of Procrastinator is one of many she has been awarded through the years. Chris has two grown children and four young grandchildren. She lives just outside of Wakefield, Quebec.

Bobby McFerrin

On the 11th of March, 1950, Bobby McFerrin was born. His parents were classical singers and he began to study music theory early on in his life. His family then moved to Los Angeles. During high school and then in College, UCSC, he focused on the piano. Once he finished college, Bobby McFerrin toured with numerous bands including the Ice Follies.

However, it was only in 1977 that Bobby McFerrin decide to become a singer. At one point he met Bill Cosby who arranged for him take part in the 1980 Playboy Jazz Festival. It was only two years later where he released his firm album called "Bobby McFerrin" in 1982. It was in 1983, that Bobby McFerrin started converting without a band. This eventually led him to make a solo tour in Germany. It was in Germany that he recorded his album "The Voice". From that point on, he continued to make solo tours in the most prestigious locations. It is also important to realize that Bobby McFerrin worked with several important people like Garrison Keillor, Jack Nicholson, and Joe Zawinul. On "Another Night in Tunisia", Bobby McFerrin won two Grammies.

Laurel Murphy

Laurel Murphy is a Vancouver-born singer, improviser and teacher of vocal improvisation. Her musical influences and interests are diverse, from performances of jazz repertoire to interdisciplinary collaborations. Improvisation has been a constant thread over the past 25 years that inspires all aspects of her work.

Laurel has appeared as a jazz vocalist at a variety of venues in Vancouver. Her CD"When I Was a Bird" (CDbaby, itunes, Spotify) was released in 2015 and features jazz arrangements of well-known folk classics, as well as standards. Recorded with the talents of some of Canada's finest musicians, "When I Was a Bird" is adventurous and evocative.

Rhiannon Rhiannon

Rhiannon is a vocal artist with a vision of music as a vehicle for innovation, healing, transformation, and social change. A vibrant, gifted singer, performance artist, composer, and master teacher, Rhiannon has been bringing her unique and potent blend of jazz, world music, improvisation and storytelling to audiences for over four decades paving a unique path as an independent artist. Collaborations include the all-women's jazz ensemble Alive!, a cappella ensembles SoVoSo and WeBe3, Bobby McFerrin and Voicestra, the instrumental trio Spontaneous, duets with pianist Laurence Hobgood, and improvised performance pieces with Japanese dancer Shizuno Nasu:The Ocean Regards Us All As One. Rhiannon's book about her life and teaching methods, Vocal River, The Skill and Spirit of Improvisation, was published in 2013. Rhiannon lives and works on her farm on the Big Island of Hawai'i, currently building a teaching/performance space, Ha Lau Leo Nani, The Gathering Place, honoring culture and community.

Sofia Ribeiro

Sofia Ribeiro is one of the greatest voices from Portugal, a magnificent singer who has the ability to immediately attract the listener to her unique musical universe, blending elements of jazz, Brazilian and Portuguese music. Well-known for her strong and emotional performances, the outstanding Portuguese singer has been captivating audiences all over the world with her charming and powerful sound.

Sofia teaches teaches workshops regularly, of voice and improvisation, all over Europe, the United Sates, and in Colombia. She has been invited as a guest teacher in schools and Universities such as "Conservatori del Liceu (Barcelona, Spain)", "L'Aula de Musica Moderna (Barcelona, Spain)", "Universidad Sergio Arboleda (Bogota, Colombia)", "Universidad EAFIT (Medellin, Colombia)", "Ecole de Musique Echternach (Echternach, Luxembourg)", "Facultad de Artes - ASAB (Bogota, Colombia), "Trempolino (France), "Hot Clube de Portugal (Lisbon, Portugal)", Katowice Academy of Music (Poland) and Voicingers (Poland), among others.

Guillermo Rozenthuler

I'm a voice coach and vocalist based in North London, and my passion is to inspire individuals and groups to discover and enjoy their voices fully and truly.

Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Guillermo ( is a versatile vocalist and a skilled voice teacher and group facilitator.

He enjoys inspiring individuals and groups of people to listen, breath freely, sing the sound of their essential nature and be fully present, honest and open. He believes singing is everyone's birthright beyond musicianship or vocal skills, as it was for millennia in human evolution.

Ben Silver

I'm a singer, instrumentalist, songwriter who has been performing and teaching various forms of Vocal Improvisation for decades. I started this monthly CircleSing about 6 1/2 years ago but only started the meetup group in 2015.

Bonnie Smith

Bonnie Smith is a voice teacher, band leader, ensemble director and contemporary composer. She has trained with her mentor/teacher Rhiannon in the United States for the last 8 years, and in the Circlesongs form with Bobby McFerrin. Her studies explore the medium of improvisation and vocal empowerment. Bonnie is the original founder of Circle Singing in Melbourne and has been facilitating the improvisation vocal group for over 3 years now. Her love for spontaneity and vocal discovery enables her to be a compassionate and professional facilitator.

Nicoline Snaas

Muziek zit in iedereen, ook in jou. Je moet op reis durven gaan om te ontdekken waar je toon zit, je tekst, je taal. Ik heb talent om bij mensen op de juiste knoppen te drukken, zodat ze buiten gebaande paden durven treden en hun eigen muzikaliteit kunnen voelen.

Door deel te nemen aan verschillende koren en te oefenen met dirigeren ontdekte ik hoe inspirerend het is om een koor te begeleiden. Ik gaf les op jazzschool Djam, in de eerste jaren was het vooral Jazzkoor, later werd het Stem en Lijf. Want muziek maak je met je hele lichaam, niet alleen je stem. Ik geniet als ik bij koorzangers zie hoe zij groeien en met heel hun lijf muzikant worden.

Roger Treece

Roger Treece is a composer, arranger, producer, and singer who creates music that combines traditional classical elements with jazz, funk, gospel, and world. A vocal innovator, Roger tours worldwide as a performance artist, composer, conductor and teacher, guiding musicians of all ages and genres in improvisation, creativity, harmony, arranging, rhythm, and solo-vocal technique.

Roger Treece has been nominated for 5 Grammy Awards as an arranger, producer, singer, and engineer, and has won 14 DOWNBEAT awards as a soloist, ensemble member, director and arranger. In 2010, his arrangement of "Baby" (VOCAbuLarieS) was nominated for "Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocals" : the first time in the history of the Grammy Awards that an a cappella arrangement has been nominated for an instrumental arranging award.

Judi Vinar

Starting her professional career in 1983, Judi combined 4 years of classical voice training with previously self taught strategies to enter the world of pop, folk, musical theater and eventually jazz, gospel, and world music. This journey quickly revealed that classical training is one style, and to manage a healthy instrument under the demands of other musical styles required further study. Decades of singing and teaching led her to the Alexander Technique, Voice Science and most recently Feldenkrais Technique and Bio Mechanics. Beyond the Sciences, Judi believes in a Mind - Body - Spirit approach to singing. "Every voice has within it an unlimited potential for beauty, versatility, energy and power." When Judi works with a singer, she sees potential (often placed just behind the student's perceptions of what singing is "supposed" to be.) Judi partners with singers to help them find vocal freedom; unlimited and true to their unique expression of self.

Debby Boland Watt

Debby Boland Watt is an improvisational vocalist, arts educator & composer earned her Master of Fine Arts from Goddard College and as a Jazz Vocalist has a Bachelors Degree from Seattle's Cornish College of the Arts. Born in Chicago, she now calls the Pacific Northwest her home. Debby has studied with the famed Bobby McFerrin and is Seattle's best-known facilitator of an Improvisational A Cappella form referred to as Circle Singing. Dusty Strings Music School supports one of her four NW Studios where she teaches Creative Vocal Techniques.

Elise Witt

Elise sang for 20 years with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus and Chamber Chorus as well as the Robert Shaw Singers, with whom she performed annually at Carnegie Hall. She now composes music for choirs in the Elise Witt Choral Series, arranged by Michael Holmes. As a life-long student herself, Elise has studied extensively with masters of improvisation Bobby McFerrin, David Darling, and Rhiannon, African vocal expert Dr. Fred Onovwerosuoke, and Sweet Honey in the Rock's Dr. Ysaye Maria Barnwell, all of whose pedagogy she incorporates into her own teaching and composing.

Currently Elise serves as Artist-in-Residence at the Global Village Project, a school for teenage refugee girls from Afghanistan, Burma, Congo, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Iraq, Somalia, and Central African Republic, using singing to teach English, write songs, and empower young women to reach their full potential.

David Worm

Singing percussion is something I came to out of necessity at first. In order to complete musical ideas in an a cappella context, I realized I would need to use body sounds to simulate percussive instrumentation. At first, I spent a lot of time cleaning off the inside of my windshield, since I practiced vocal percussion while driving my truck. Then I began to string these ideas together and came up with grooves. The groove is so important to me, it just seems natural to want to sing the whole idea at one time using my exhalation and inhalation to make sounds. It's a wonderful balancing act to make all the parts fit and still be able to breathe!

Davin Youngs

Davin Youngs Voice Inc. advances vocal success through transformational learning experiences. We offer the highest quality voice lessons, vocal coaching, and workshops in a encouraging and impactful environment. We build community through collaboration and fearless learning while fostering success through dedication and hard work. We encourage flexible musicianship and stylistic diversity. Our students represent a broad spectrum of ages and levels, from beginning to professional in Chicago, online and abroad.

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