Fall 2020 Choir Instructors & Collaborators


Bongani Magatyana

Bongani Magatyana is a professional music director /composer /theatrical producer living in Khayelitsha Township in Cape Town, South Africa. He was born in Cape Town in a township called Old Crossroads; his father was a self-taught choir conductor in the Old Apostolic Church. A very popular composer, his folk-inspired choral compositions—popular pieces for South Africa’s major choral competitions—are sung by choirs around South Africa and internationally. 

In 2017 Bongani directed African musical Songs of this Soil for Artscape theatre and composed/directed an African musical “Finding  David “for Capetown Opera. In 2018, Bongani composed and directed an African musical called People of Nyalashishi a musical about Xhosa and San people and is working on a new commission by Capetown Opera company. 
Bongani’s first love is leading South African folk music workshops. He has been teaching around the world -Norway ,U.K. , Germany ,Nertherlands and USA.
Bongani is in the middle of launching his first full length CD of his compositions called Africa My Home As soon as it becomes available, we will post the link on the site here.
Before Coronavirus took hold and made this work impossible, Bongani had begun a beautiful project of leading choirs at the Drakenstein Prison outside Cape Town (the last prison where Nelson Mandela was held) When things go back to normal, Bongani will be continuing this work. You can learn more about this work and other projects that Bongani is working on through his Patreon page – https://www.patreon.com/bonganimagatyana

Frederic Vesperini

Frederic Vesperini of Ajaccio, Corsica is a long-time member (and currently director) of Ensemble Spartimu. Specializing in the traditional folk and sacred polyphony of Corsica, the ensemble is regularly invited to in prestigious international festivals, most recently including trips to Sardinia, to Poland and to Tbilisi, Georgia. Over the past decade the ensemble has have added brilliant performances of music from the Republic of Georgia to their repertoire. Spartimu has recorded two CDs.


Jennifer Scott

Jennifer Scott is a singer and pianist born in Vancouver, BC, Canada. She specializes in jazz, blues, and world music. She is considered one of the more important jazz artists working in Canada and the United States today. As well as being a performer, she arranges and writes jazz and pop tunes, with several CDs containing a combination of original tunes, tunes she has arranged, and more traditional tunes. She has also appeared on many CBC recordings and has worked with many other musicians both live and in studio.


Kathy Bullock

Dr. Kathy Bullock is a professor of music at Berea College, Berea, Kentucky who also provides workshops and other musical programs in African American sacred music throughout the United States, Europe, and Africa. A performer, conductor, accompanist, arranger, and scholar, she specializes in gospel music, spirituals and classical music of the African diaspora, sharing the joy of this music-culture everywhere she goes.

Having earned a Ph.D. and M.A. in Music Theory from Washington University in St. Louis, MO, and a B.A. in Music from Brandeis University, MA, Dr. Bullock has worked for over twenty-eight years at Berea College teaching courses in Music Theory, African-American Music, Ethnomusicology, and General Studies.

Currently director emeritus of the Black Music Ensemble she directed the ensemble for twenty-seven years. A choral ensemble that specializes in African American sacred music, the Black Music Ensemble, under Dr. Bullock’s directorship developed from a small student-run ensemble to an accredited, diverse, exciting ensemble of over seventy students, one of the primary music ensembles in the college. Additionally, Dr. Bullock has designed and led new and transformative international study programs in Ghana, Zimbabwe, and Jamaica. A former chair of the music department, she has also served diligently in many areas of college governance.

Dr. Bullock’s research in African and African-American music and culture and the African diaspora has afforded her the opportunity to provide presentations including Singing in the Spirit, African-American Sacred Music and African-American and Appalachian Musical Connections. She is a teacher/presenter at singing camps for organizations such as Village Harmony, Swannanoa and Common Ground on the Hill. Other research projects include the compilation and completion of a new edition of art songs by contemporary African-American composers.

Dr. Bullock shares the infectious joy and inspires heartfelt connections as she sings, plays teaches and thus conveys the transcending power of love and of God through music.


Upcoming Event: 
I’d like to invite everyone to sign up for the upcoming program, Sun, Sep 13, 4-6pm EDT. on Commemorating the 100th Year Anniversary of Women’s Suffrage. The website is listed below.  

Ketevan Mindorashvili

Ketevan Mindorashvili was born in Sighnaghi in the eastern province of Kakheti in (the Republic of) Georgia. She was raised in a traditional singing family. Founder and director of the Zedashe Ensemble, Keto showed a gift for singing since childhood and continued to study music technique extensively in university. She devoted herself to preserving traditions on the brink of disappearance, and has become known as a singer and a teacher of Georgian folk music, particularly the fluid ornamentation of eastern folk songs. She has a deep knowledge of ancient church chant, and is a master of the panduri, the three-stringed lute from the eastern Georgian region of Kakheti.

Keto has searched valleys and mountains for ancient polyphony, collecting folk songs and chants, as well as writing her own music within the tradition. Today she hosts students from all over the world in her native Sighnaghi and travels internationally leading tours of Zedashe and teaching workshops. She has appeared on all Zedashe recordings to date, and has participated in numerous tours to the United States, United Kingdom, and throughout Europe.

Check out the Zedashe Ensemble here – https://www.zedashe.com and find their latest recording.

Lonnie Norwood

Born and raised on the South Side of Chicago, Lonnie Norwood, Jr. grew up with an unquenchable passion for music and community service. He knew early on that both would be integral parts of his life’s work.

He received a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Luther College where he studied under world renowned conductor, Weston Noble. He went on to earn a Master of Music degree with an emphasis in Voice from The Florida State University. Upon completion of his education, Lonnie taught K-12 music in Leon County (Tallahassee) and Chicago area schools, both public and private.

He has enjoyed numerous career highlights working as a versatile singer and arranger alongside such artists as Lizz Wright, Nona Hendryx, Nadine McKinnor, Ricky Dillard, Sweet Honey In The Rock, and Chicago’s Youth In Unity. Lonnie is a conductor with the Chicago Children’s Choir and is an active choral clinician. He sings with Audacious Praise and is currently working on a ChicaGO Reach Virtual Choir workshop starting in November.

Check out Lonnie’s website here – https://www.lonnienorwood.com


Cara Luft

Cara Luft is an award-winning musician, singer and songwriter, a plucky performer with an impish sense of humor and a founding member of two Canadian folk super-groups: The Wailin’ Jennys and The Small Glories.

Born into a folk musical family in Calgary, Alberta, Cara played with dulcimers and autoharps while her peers played with Barbies and Nintendo. Music was an integral part of her growing up experience. Her great-grandfather was a vaudevillian tenor, her grandfather a jazz/big band guitarist and music teacher, her mother and aunt performed professionally in their teens, and her parents as a duo. These roots inform and charge Cara’s musical being, and underscore her depth and commitment to music and to song.

Coco Love Alcorn

The first thing you notice about Coco Love Alcorn, is the voice. It’s a rich, dynamic, supremely soulful instrument – hailed by the press as extraordinary, beautiful, and stunning – that has a way of touching your heart and making you care.

As a performer, Alcorn is always in the moment, joyful, and genuine. She combines diverse musical influences including jazz, R&B, pop, folk, and Gospel. Her playful and witty character, love of improvising, and willingness to engage fearlessly with the audience has made Alcorn an established presence on the Canadian music scene.

Born in Antigonish, Nova Scotia and now based in Owen Sound, Ontario, Alcorn’s career has spanned more than 20 years, 12 (9 solo) albums, cross-Canada tours, collaborations, festival appearances, award nominations, and notable success in TV and film licensing. And it took someone with a spirit like Alcorn’s to navigate this path.

“Throughout my career I have explored across many genres, collaborations and projects, taking a winding path to get to here,” she says. “But I’ve loved every step of my journey and trusted my inner curiosity to take me where it wanted to go.”


Latest Album – Rebirth – https://cocolovealcorn.com/store

Doreen Ketchens

Doreen Ketchens has been called “Queen Clarinet”, “The female Louis Armstrong”, and “Lady Louie” by critics who have heard her perform. She has performed with Ellis Marsalis, Jon Faddis, Trombone Shorty, Al Hirt, Dorothy Donagan, The Black Crows and Jennifer Warrens, to name a few. She has opened for such names as Macy Grey and Dr. John.

Doreen Ketchens has been performing on Royal street in the French Quarter for over 30 years and if you are lucky, you will see her there on your next trip to New Orleans. She may just be one of the best clarinet players in the U.S.


Patty Cuyler and Mollie Stone

Over the summer of 2020, Patty, Mollie and the Village Harmony team conceived of truly innovative and wildly successful International Virtual Camps. People joined from all corners of the world to take part in week long sessions dedicated to Corsican, South African and Georgian music. These camps were lead by incredible musicians and tradition bearers in those countries. They fostered deep learning among the participants. and created a beautiful sense of community. They also put together a Black Gospel Essentials Weekend and various mixed repertoire Virtual Camps.  I was lucky enough to take 6 of these workshops over the summer! It was a learning opportunity that I couldn’t miss and it was completely transformational. I actually feel like my summer of staying inside turned into a summer of international travel, community and so much learning. I have worked with Patty for years (co-leading trips to Cuba, Georgia and South Africa) and I have co-lead workshops with Mollie and Patty in BC as well as performed with them in a vocal quartet. I have learned so much from both of them and consider much of my time learning from them and the teachers they have lead me to, as the ‘do-it-yourself’ Masters in Music that I craved. Patty and Mollie have been very generous helping me out with many of the learning resources throughout these choir courses. I am extremely grateful for the work that they do to develop meaningful cross-cultural exchange and excellent music. 
To learn more about Village Harmony go here – https://villageharmony.org/
To learn about their year long, international virtual choir go here: https://villageharmony.org/cross-countries-choir/
To check out their wonderful learning resources go here – https://villageharmony.org/store/

Born in California, educated at Princeton University, long-time resident of Vermont and currently living in Chicago, IL, Patty is an energetic, dynamic workshop leader and choral director and is internationally-renowned for her expertise in teaching Corsican, Georgian and South African music. She has been co-director of Village Harmony since 1995 and over the years spear-headed the expansion of the organization’s reach into the four corners of the globe.

Patty has co-led Village Harmony’s community world music choir Boston Harmony (which she founded) since 2005 as well as the Chicago World Music Chorus (2013) closer to home

Mollie Stone serves as Choral Conductor and Lecturer at U of C, directing the University Chorus and Women’s Ensemble. Stone is also the Co-Founder/Director of both the Chicago World Music Chorus and the Augsburg/Twin Cities Global Harmony Choir, and teaches internationally with the organization Village Harmony.

Stone holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Amherst College, a Master of Music degree in conducting from Westminster Choir College, a Doctorate in choral conducting from Northwestern University, and has studied at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. Stone wrote her dissertation on how Black South Africans have adapted the choral music of the anti-apartheid struggle to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

In 2001, Stone received a grant from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation to produce a teaching DVD (Vela Vela) that helps American choral directors to learn and teach Black South African choral music more authentically in the oral tradition.

Stone works both internationally and locally to help create programs and collaborations that allow singers to study the music of various traditions by working directly with tradition bearers, and to provide tradition bearers with platforms and resources that support them in sharing their music on their own terms.

Topsy Chapman and Solid Harmony

“Topsy Chapman has performed for presidents and royalty, received rave reviews from the New York Times, Variety, and the New York Post, appeared in publications such as Time, Jet, Ebony, and Essence, and most recently appeared in the award-winning Steve McQueen film, 12 Years a Slave (2013). At the same time, her humility and genuine caring have endeared her to generations of New Orleans musicians. Topsy Chapman is quite simply one of New Orleans’ living musical treasures.

Solid Harmony is a vocal trio made up of Topsy Chapman and her two daughters, Yolanda Windsay and Jolynda Phillips. The group records and performs their original compositions, as well as their signature arrangements of traditional and modern jazz, blues, and gospel, in New Orleans and around the world.”