Workshops & Retreats 2007
Workshops run Friday night to Sunday afternoon unless otherwise indicated.
A two-day retreat option directly after the workshop is available.

Register on-line

"Writing (and Singing)
the Hard and Joyful Truth"

 Singer/songwriter and social-justice activist Holly Near
July 13-15, 2007

July 13 Concert: Emma's Revolution with Special Guest Holly Near
    7:30 p.m., Shaw Island Community Building, San Juan Islands 
   $12, $10 students; reservations required (360-468-3964,

Holly Near's singing career has been defined by an unwillingness to separate her passion for music from her passion for human dignity. Join the outspoken activist in a rare small-group weekend workshop that will help connect your heart with your songs.
Holly says: "We will work on writing what we believe and finding a way to tell the truth in a style that can be heard. What is political music? What does political song have to do with changing public opinion or affecting public policy? And in particular, what is music that tells the progressive point of view? The most complex feelings can be put in a in such a way that the listener can hear the most difficult stories but not shut down. Can we write songs that speak of coming out, of life in Iraq, of child abuse, of being working class in a middle-class school, of growing up a child of alcoholic parents? Yes, we can.”

"We will think critically and be encouraged to take a spiritual path that may help us not only liberate ourselves from childhood monsters but open the door to our future as healthy, creative participants in society and in the culture. This is a songwriting class but it is also a journey toward our higher selves as we move forward in our lives and in our creative articulation of our beliefs,” Holly says.

“For those who want to improve the way in which they express their ideas before an audience, we can work on that as well. We can cover stage fright, how to introduce a song, what to do with their hands, the element of surprise, theatricality as a tool for activism, where to put the punch line and much more.”

Each participant will take home something that she wanted to find, whether it’s a new song or completion of one, a better understanding of how to translate rhetoric into personal storytelling, or a better presentation, whether it’s a song, sermon or key-note speech.

Holly performed in film, Broadway and TV shows before focusing on socially conscious music. She may have been the first woman artist to start an indie record company (Redwood Records, 1972). The author of the autobiographical Fire in the Rain: Singer in the Storm and a children's book, The Great Peace March, has her papers archived at the Schlesinger Library at Radcliff.

She is one of 1000 PeaceWomen nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Her portrait hangs at The Freedom Center in Cincinnati, along with portraits of Marion Anderson, Pete Seeger, Bernice Johnson Reagon, Harry Belafonte, Joan Baez and others. Holly has more than two dozen recordings, either solo or in collaboration with other singers. Her latest, Show Up, invites listeners to take the higher road to vision, peace and leadership.

For more on Holly, go to

Fee: $410 includes accommodations, five meals, instruction and consultation.
Optional two-day personal retreat: Stay Monday and Tuesday after the workshop to work on your own project; $175 includes six meals; two-person limit.

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Shaw Island WA 98286


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