Reclaim Your Voice!
The 2022 TVF Summer Retreat (4th Annual)
What: A 6-day immersive singing retreat focused on Alexander Technique, body freedom, health, learning, creativity, expression, community support, teaching and more!
When: June 24th – 29th, 2022 (arrive afternoon on June 24th; depart early afternoon on June 29th)
Where: The DeKoven Retreat Center in Racine, Wisconsin
Who: Adult (18+) singers, teachers and conductors
Why: Reclaim your voice, rediscover your joy and renew your passion for singing (and teaching)!
Faculty: Darci Balkcom, Michael Hanko, Peter Jacobson, & Eleni Vosniadou
Registration (and Special Last-Minute Pricing) Ends on Monday, June 13th!Register Now
Kevin Kelly Kahelain lights up during a masterclass with TVF Faculty Member Eleni Vosniadou
What It's All About
Reclaim Your Voice, Rediscover Your Joy, Renew Your Passion
Dear Fellow Musician,
TVF Founder Peter Jacobson here.
These past 2 years have been really tough for singers.
Of course, this time has been difficult for all performing artists, but especially singers.
From the beginning of the pandemic, singers, who are typically spreaders of beauty, peace and joy were suddenly categorized as “superspreaders” of a harmful pathogen.
Think of all the other challenges and losses that singers have faced since March 2020:
- The sudden evaporation of musical and performance opportunities and the much needed income that came with them.
- The loss of the desire and will to practice without performing opportunities.
- The loss of in-person music-making with our colleagues and friends and the camaraderie, community and connection that come with it.
- The loneliness, isolation, despair, grief, depression and anxiety that have affected so many people.
- Adapting to online singing lessons, rehearsals, etc.
- For teachers, there has also been the loss of students and needing to adapt to online teaching, which was a huge learning curve for the uninitiated.
- The very real threat of contracting COVID-19 and suffering long-term damage to our singing and breathing instrument.
And then, once we were able to sing together, we had to deal with every singer’s least favorite thing:
(This is NOT the kind of mask that we signed up to sing into!)
Of course, we wore them to protect those around us but it hasn't been ideal, to say the least. Singing with a mask is restricting, hard on the voice, can lead to face, jaw and neck tension and makes it hard to hear our colleagues accurately (social distancing adds to this problem).
Masks also have a dehumanizing effect, from the lack of facial expressions to the missed side comments we would typically make to our neighbor.
Fortunately, there now seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel.
I predict that a musical renaissance is just around the corner and in the next few years there is going to be an explosion of music-making.
But there’s a lot of rebuilding to do.
That’s why I believe, now is the time:
NOW is the time to make your voice heard again.
NOW is the time to hit reset and remember that your voice is an instrument of joy, healing, peace and beauty.
NOW is the time to reclaim your voice!
This is the theme and focus of our 4th Annual Summer Retreat.
After 2 years on mostly virtual life, we believe one of the most important things we can do is gather together, in the flesh, to feel each other’s vibrations, auras and sounds in person.
This event will be all about breathing life back into your singing and/or teaching.
If that sounds great to you, I invite you to continue reading about this special event and, if it feels like a good fit, to join us this summer in Racine.
BECOME inspired, rejuvenated and profoundly connected to your deeper artistic purpose.
Summer retreat participants playing & singing together
Who It's For
Open Minds, Kind Hearts, Musical Souls
The following types of singers have participated in past retreats:
- Emerging, Working & Retired Professional Singers
- Semi-Professional Singers
- Church Musicians
- Enthusiastic Amateurs
- Actors Who Sing
- Choral Singers, Conductors & Educators
- Voice Teachers & General Music Educators
In TVF, we welcome and value you wherever you are in your singing and teaching journey. We believe that every singer and teacher is unique and has a valuable contribution to make to the world.
We avoid hierarchies or "food chains" in TVF. No one is placed above or below anyone else, which can be very refreshing...even liberating. We delight in learning from each other.
In TVF, you are relieved of the burden to constantly “prove” yourself (which can be exhausting). We gently invite people to drop the façade and be themselves – as a human among humans.
Much of what you'll learn is not taught as part of a typical music education which means that a professional can learn just as much as someone just starting their singing journey.
If you have an open mind, a kind heart, a musical soul and care about artistic excellence, you will fit right in!
If you're not sure this event would be a good fit for you, write us a message. (We'll be honest – we don't want to waste anybody's time or money!)
Collaborative Pianist Work Study Program
(New in 2022!)
This year, we will be selecting up to 3 collaborative pianists to participate in our work study program. As part of this program:
- You will offer your services as a collaborative pianist during classes, events and performances.
- In exchange for your work, you will receive a work study scholarship that will cover the majority of your tuition.
- There will be special learning opportunities just for collaborative pianists.
If you are interested in applying for this opportunity write to TVF team member Karen Archbold directly.
ENJOY being part of a vibrant community of like-minded and kind-hearted musicians.
Retreat participant Emily Soule letting her voice soar
What You'll Learn
The Primary Benefits:
What You Can Expect to Get
Here are the some of the results you can expect to get in this retreat (based on past student's reports):
- Improved musical and technical skills
- A stronger sense of personal and artistic self-worth
- A deeper connection with your artistic purpose
- More authentic musical expression and storytelling
- The permission to be yourself – in life and in song
- Vocal freedom – singing that is relaxed, free and unencumbered
- A reliable way to free your body from unwanted tension
- A deeper understanding of how your whole body works
- Improved self-confidence – more courage and less fear
- Fresh inspiration and motivation
- Rediscover the joy and fun in singing
A 3-Part Curriculum
The learning structure and curriculum of this event will be divided into 3 main parts:
- The TVF Core Concepts
- The Focus Area Tracks
- The Special Topic Electives
1. The TVF Core Concepts
Every retreat participant will learn the core, foundational concepts of TVF work, which is a unique combination of the Alexander Technique, functional anatomy, voice use and music education. Much of this material will be explored through playful games, demonstrations and activities in the large group sessions. These concepts will permeate everything we do in the retreat.
As part of your retreat registration fee, you will be given free access to the self-guided learning modules of the TVF Introductory Course, which contain 20+ short videos on this material. We will ask you to watch these videos before the retreat so all retreat participants share a common body of knowledge from which we can draw on during the retreat.
There are 4 modules in the core concepts part of the curriculum:
- The 3 Pathways: Story, Self & Skill
- The 4 S.E.L.T. Practices: Slowing Down, Experimenting, Listening & Trusting
- The 7 Alexander Principles: Wholeness, Body Awareness, Head-Spine Relationship, Inhibition, Non-Doing, The Alexander Process & Use Affects Functioning
- The 12 Design Features: Skull, Jaw, Tongue, Neck/Throat, Spine, Ribs, Pelvis, Legs, Feet, Shoulders, Arms & Hands
2. The Focus Area Tracks
This year, for the first time, we will be offering learning tracks. These tracks will allow you to focus in on one particular interest area during the retreat. These small groups will meet 4 consecutive mornings (Days 2-5) for 2 hours and give you the opportunity to apply and integrate the core concepts into to your focus area.
You will choose one track from the following three focus areas:
- The Choral Track – In this track, we will put together a choir and practically explore, while singing choral music, the key aspects of singing in and directing a choir – vocal production, body use, gesture, breathing, rehearsal techniques, and more. For choral singers and directors.
- The Performer Track – This track is for those that want an opportunity to explore singing repertoire in front of a friendly audience with the gentle guidance of a TVF teacher. For singers of all skill levels or performing backgrounds.
- *The Teacher Track – A teaching laboratory where you will have the opportunity to experiment with various ways of practically integrating aspects of the TVF core concepts into your voice and music teaching. For current and future teachers.
*IMPORTANT NOTE: If you choose the teacher track during this event you will be able to complete the majority of the requirements for Level I Certification in the TVF Integrative Music Education Certification Program at no additional cost.
3. The Special Topic Electives
Every afternoon, you can choose from the standalone special topics electives listed below. These electives will change daily.
- Vocal Technique
- Vocal Improvisation
- Stage Fright
- Body Tension
Retreat participants enjoying themselves during a large group session
How You'll Sing
- Work with a TVF teacher on your singing in front of a small or large group. Whether you are a singer or an observer, you will get great benefit from each and every exploration.
- Sing favorite songs with your retreat colleagues. In our retreat handbook, we provide a list of song lyrics that we all sing together. Sometimes, there are harmonies or dances or solos. Just about anything can happen. One year, we even had a national anthem sing-off between the Canadians, Greeks and Americans.
Celebration of Song
- There are many activities at the retreat that allow singers to put into practice what they learn. But none of them are quite like our Celebration of Song. Everyone is invited to participate and the rest of the community gathers around to support the singer in a style that is unlike any other! During this event, the focus is on communication and connection with the audience rather than perfection. We celebrate every singer and what they offer. For many, this is a really special moment to feel this kind of support from other singers. For others, giving that kind of support to other singers is a new experience. This year, we will have 2 separate Celebration of Song events – one for solos and one for ensembles.
- One of the other highlights of our retreat is a performance in the local community, typically at a nursing home or assisted living facility. It is so special to go out into the community and share our music. We typically close the performance with a sing-along. There usually isn't a dry eye in the house! This performance was given outdoors last year due to COVID-19.
Everyone having a great time during the sing-along!
How You'll Play
Barn Dance & Sing-Along
- In 2019, this event was a smash hit! This year we're bringing back the string band and caller and you will have the opportunity to square dance, contradance and sing to live music. If you're relatively active and fit, this style of dancing is easy, fun and learnable, no matter your dance background.
Yoga & Meditation
- You will have the opportunity to participate in Yoga or Meditation sessions throughout the event with certified teachers.
Walks & Bike Rides
- There will also be opportunities to go for walks and bike rides (depending on interest, bikes may be available to rent for a small additional fee with advance notice) on the shores of nearby Lake Michigan.
Retreat participants enjoying outdoor morning Yoga
The TVF Community
A Safe Place to Learn & Grow
The TVF community is built on the following core values:
1. Kindness, Compassion & Respect
Our students frequently report that the kindness, support and sense of safety they feel in TVF is like nothing they’ve experienced before.
2. Artistic Excellence
We care deeply about artistic excellence and foster it by encouraging rigor, precision and accuracy.
3. Play & Fun
We believe that play and fun are essential (and often under-appreciated) aspects of learning and making music.
We take COVID-19 safety seriously and want to provide a learning environment where participants feel safe, protected and comfortable. At the same time, we are hopeful that we are slowly returning to 'normal' life and will be able to sing together without the fear of spreading disease. Dekoven has several large, well-ventilated indoor spaces. Weather permitting, we will hold some events and classes outdoors.
We will be tracking the COVID-19 situation as it develops and will take safety measures that are appropriate to the threat level at the time of the event. This may include: wearing masks indoors and/or when singing, requiring a negative test upon arrival and/or practicing social distancing.
The 2018 TVF Summer Retreat Community
The Daily Schedule
An important part of the TVF philosophy is being in the moment and practicing freedom of choice. Because of that, the basic schedule below will sometimes change. We will do our best to communicate schedule changes clearly.
- 7:00am – 8:00am Morning Sound & Breath Explorations (Optional)
- 8:00am – 9:00am Breakfast
- 9:00am – 10:30am Community Session (Large Group)
- 10:30am – 11:00am Break
- 11:00am – 1:00pm Focus Area Sessions (Small Groups)
- 1:00pm – 2:30pm Lunch
- 2:30pm – 4:00 pm Elective Sessions (Small Groups) or Free Time
- 4:00pm – 4:30pm Break
- 4:30pm – 6:00pm Community Session (Large Group)
- 6:00pm – 7:00pm Dinner
- 7:00pm – 9:00pm Evening Activity or Free Time
NOTE: Day 1 (Friday) & Day 6 (Wednesday) will follow a different schedule.
What Past Participants Say
"The retreat is right up there with the very top experiences of my life."
“Still on my endorphin high from the retreat. People are still saying to me 'you are absolutely glowing!' 'It makes me SO happy to see and hear you SO happy!' 'Are you in love?!' The retreat is right up there with the very top experiences of my life. I can’t think of a better sixtieth birthday present to give myself, which is how I framed it when I decided to sign up. (My birthday was a week later.) Magnifico!”
–Lynn Lanese, Singer
"One of the best things about TVF is that you make a safe place for a singer to feel comfortable enough to experiment."
"The idea not to be afraid of “failure” but to learn from it is very healthy. I get bogged down thinking that if there is any flaw at all that I find, my performance isn’t worth sharing. You showed me how to loosen my ideas about that and to learn to love to perform just because I love to perform."
–Diane Tipton, Singer
"Before TVF, I was going through a rough patch with my own confidence as a singer..."
"...but much of the program focused on self-care and self-kindness, and I feel like this allowed me to focus inward and find ways to embrace my singing and work on a new level. I left the retreat with a more open heart and a stronger sense of self-worth. I am eager to continue learning from these teachers and students!"
–Nadine Gomes, Singer & Voice Teacher
"Thank you for an incredible learning experience."
“Where to start? I have not had this much fun learning something new. I feel like I have found long lost family. You three leaders did such a great job guiding us through the week. I loved the concert that we gave to the nursing home. Listening to the soloist and being part of the chorus was wonderful. I think the highlight for me was the New Talent and Fran's morning sessions. When I share my week experiences, I light up and move my arms with much excitement. Everyone loves the play by play of the week❤️. Thank you for an incredible learning experience.”
–Linda Ransom, Singer
“Watching others' transformations was so exhilarating and informative."
"When I came home, I was a better teacher, taking more time to listen and to not worry about having all the answers right away. My own singing the next Sunday, after two weeks of not singing before, was relaxed, free and unencumbered.”
–Lisa Rogers Lee, Singer & Voice Teacher
"It was absolutely worth every penny and I would recommend it to any and every singer..."
“This retreat gave me a new outlook on how I view my personal relationships with those around me from day to day, but especially with other musicians. I am so happy that my experience at TVF has given me new insight to how I can approach meeting other singers. My sincere hope is that I am able to bring the light and positivity of TVF with me to school and any future singing I do, not only for myself, but for those around me. building people up and really connecting with my colleagues is my number one focus!
Other than that, I just want to say that I do really appreciate you letting me be a part of TVF this summer. It was absolutely worth every penny and I would recommend it to any and every singer, as long as I know they have an open mind and a kind heart! The retreat was so uplifting, it made me feel support in a field where support is seldom found, and I got to learn about the Alexander technique which is something I have always been curious about!”
–Emily Soule, Singer
“I LOVED the retreat."
"I learned so much about myself, perhaps most significantly that I could give myself permission to do (or not do) some things. That seems basic when I see it in writing, but in the context of self-care, it was a radical realization for me.”
–Margaret Quinnette, Singer
“Meeting members of the TVF community was very rewarding."
"With all of the awful things happening in the world, meeting people with a genuine and selfless care for others gave me hope. I found the retreat relaxing and freeing. Having permission to play and explore was pure joy.”
–Amanda Chmela, Singer & Voice Teacher
“The retreat was a very positive experience for me. I was so inspired by other teachers and artists."
"There was a balance of musical concepts and connecting with ourselves as a person. The highlight for me was the explanations and the circle singing. This retreat made me want to find a deeper connection with my inner compass. Also learn more about the human body.”
–Yedda Hay, Singer & Teacher
"I felt like it didn't matter that I am not a professional singer, but felt like what I thought and felt was valid.”
“I loved the casual masterclass atmosphere, the way everyone was treated with love and respect, and as if we were the only one in the room. The opportunity to explore our creativity was welcome, and way more fun than I thought it would be. Activities that encouraged play are not usually something that I enjoy, but since this was a judgement free zone, I felt more comfortable."
–Martha Springstead, Choral Director
“Because of the safe and trustworthy space created for freedom of exploration and discovery, I was able to lay aside my former self-judgement and fear of mistakes."
"When it came time to perform in front of everyone, I was not even thinking about the fact that there was an audience present, and I wasn’t nervous. My intention for every performance was to provide every possible aspect of support to the singer while creating beautiful music and a satisfying, enjoyable performance experience. Because I had not rehearsed with them, I gave full permission (to both myself and the singer) to expect mistakes and imperfections; this resulted in the ability to completely ignore or let go of those things as they occurred, and allow myself to be totally present in the joy of making music. It is truly one of the most rewarding things I’ve experienced in 40 years of music-making."
–Deb Logan, Accompanist & Choral Director
“My experience of the retreat was an immersion in living and learning in grace and truth..."
"...of finding song and substance/soul within and seeing with new eyes, listening - opening, a blossoming awareness and connectedness to the beauty of our oneness in sound and being. There was joy in the simple things; the tiny shifts in mind and body which led to peaceful ease, the healing touch of a loving hand, a look shared between friends. I found comfort in being included, and noticed others finding it too. It was a safe space in which to begin to bloom and I gave myself permission to breathe free.”
–"Mama Donna" Castaner, Singer & Teacher
The DeKoven Center
The Event Venue
The retreat will take place at the historic DeKoven Center in Racine, Wisconsin, located right on Lake Michigan. It's quite a magical place; we've dubbed it "The Hogwarts of the Midwest!"
There is an easily accessible bike path and bikes will be available to rent with advance notice.
The accommodations are simple, clean, and comfortable.
A double room is included as part of your registration fee.
Single occupancy rooms are available for an additional $400 (choose single room option when registering).
Bathrooms are shared with 4-6 other people. Unless you tell us who you'd like to room with, you will be assigned a roommate.
All rooms are air-conditioned.
A double room at the DeKoven Center
All meals are included in your retreat fees.
The DeKoven Center has a wonderful kitchen staff that will be happy to work with your food allergies or needs with sufficient advance notice. Please let us know after you register if you have special dietary issues. There will be a microwave and refrigerator available for personal use.
Commuter fees include two meals per day (a third meal is available for an additional charge).
Racine is about 1 hour and 15 minutes from O’Hare Airport and about 40 minutes from Milwaukee Airport.
Racine is easily accessible by car and there is free parking at the Dekoven Center.
We will be assisting in organizing ride sharing. After you register we will be in touch with you directly about your transportation needs.
- Arrival on Day 1: Plan to arrive at the DeKoven Center on Friday, June 24th between 2:00pm and 5:00pm. We will have dinner at 6:00pm followed by an opening session and sing-along.
- Departure on Day 6: The retreat will end by 12:00pm on Wednesday, June 29th.
Retreat participants in the Great Hall during a movement exploration
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you offer continuing education credit?
At this time, TVF does not offer continuing education credit. However, many employers allow you to submit your hours independently for approval. In that case, we will provide you with any official documentation you need on official TVF letterhead.
If you choose and participate in the teacher track during this event you will have completed the majority of the requirements for Level I of the TVF Integrative Music Education Certification Program.
Are there scholarships available?
Yes, there are limited, need-based scholarships available (up to 50%). To request an application, please write to TVF team member Karen Archbold directly.
Is it possible to attend only a portion of the event?
Due to the fact that we will creating a short-term community built on trust and safety, it is not possible to attend only a portion of this event.
What if I have additional questions?
If you have additional questions, press use the blue button below to contact us and we'll get back to you within 2 business days.Contact Us Now
The 2022 TVF Summer Retreat registration fee is $1,595.
This includes access to all retreat events and classes, 3 meals per day, and lodging in a double room.
(It also includes online access to the TVF Introductory Course and 2 months of the TVF monthly membership community.)
You can upgrade to a single room for an additional $400.
The commuter fee is $1,295 and includes two meals per day.
A Few Important Notes (Contact us below for more information about these):
- Monthly payment plans are available (10% fee applies).
- Limited need-based scholarships are available.
- If you plan to travel from outside of North America to attend this event, there is a special international discount.
- If you plan to bring one or more friends/partners/colleagues there are group discounts available.
No refunds will be offered after June 1st. If you cancel, for any reason, within 48 hours of the event, you will be offered an account credit that you can use within 1 year for any TVF online program or live event. If you have a last-minute medical emergency or illness and need to cancel you will also receive an account credit.
Thank you for taking the time to read about our 2022 summer retreat!
If, based on what you've read, you feel inspired to join us, click the below button below to register.
If you have questions or are wondering if this event would be right for you, send us an email here.
To Your Singing & Teaching Success!
Founder & Executive Director
Total Vocal Freedom