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Continuing Professional Development for Choir Leaders

June 17 - June 21

For choir leaders and voice work practitioners

With Candy Verney and Sophie Grimmer

17 – 21 June 2022

Sophie Grimmer and Candy Verney are launching this exciting new course, which combines voice development with choir leader skills.

This promises to be an exciting and restorative course, with a very high professional input from both teachers. Candy’s background is in community choir leadership. Sophie’s background is in opera performance, singing teaching and voice pedagogy research. Between us we can draw on extensive experience in diverse complementary fields to offer choir leaders professional support and further training in a wide range of topics.

Who Is This Course For?

• You may have recently trained as a choir leader, and want to revisit basic skills learnt on your course.
• You may have been working as a choir leader for years and need some refreshment and input.
• You may want to work on your own voice
• You may want to develop additional skills, like arranging songs for choirs, or singing solo

We will be a small group with 2 trainers, max 12 students. Bring your individual questions and concerns and we will do our best to address them.

2 x 20 min. individual voice sessions included in the cost of this course

Who are the trainers?

Candy Verney

Candy Verney, Director of the Song HouseCandy Verney has 35 years community music teaching experience:

• Initiating, developing and teaching 7 community choirs over 25 years
• Making arrangements for choirs
• Working in a diversity of settings: schools, old people’s homes, Early Years, work in the corporate world.
• She has written 2 books of songs for Early Years and their parents/carers: The Singing Day, and The Singing Year published by Hawthorn Press
• She has developed and facilitated a training in Community Choirs Leadership, now in its 14th year. Several past students have gone on to make this their full-time profession, bringing this valuable work into school settings, old people’s homes, hospice work, community choirs, and working with refugees
• 3 books of songs for choirs: Songs from Life, Songs from a Full Moon, co-written with Lindsey Williams, and The Song House Book of Irish Songs for Choirs

What will Candy contribute to this course?

• Develop your teaching skills: how to teach efficiently: harmonies, conducting, rhythm, dynamics
• Work on reading music skills and sight singing.
• How to develop a song, and enrich the experience for the singers. Some teachers are run ragged by the demands of having to keep on providing new material. We will look at techniques to work more deeply with a song. This can be more rewarding for everyone.
• How to write a good choral arrangement.
• Choirs are communities that need care, input, leadership in order for them to thrive. This will be a place where you can talk over issues and problems in a confidential environment, to support your choir community to thrive and function well.


Sophie Grimmer

Sophie Grimmer

Sophie Grimmer has worked with the voice for 30 years, in several different contexts:
• Vocal professor, London conservatoire (21 years, FHEA).
• Guest director of devised voice work in drama schools (RADA, Drama Centre).
• Private London studio for singing professionals (often supporting those returning to training with vocal ‘struggles’).
• Vocal consultant/singing teacher for NYCGB and Ingenium Music Academy.
• Voice pedagogy research publications (eg. contribution in Oxford Handbook of Singing OUP 2019).
• Artistic director of music education outreach projects (schools, prisons, hospitals).
• International soloist soprano (ENO, BBC, Banff) and actor (RNT, Walt Disney Concert Hall/LA, Epidaurus).

What will Sophie contribute to this course?
• Explore ways to increase vocal ease, freedom and flexibility within a safe, secure and supportive environment.
• Bring compassionate curiosity and a playful enquiry to internal mechanisms.
• Discover the enormous potential of a deep and fluid connection of sound to breath, helping to optimise a more embodied vocal function.
• Investigate, through this deeper relationship between breath and sound, how to release unnecessary ‘holdings’, enabling more vocal ‘colours’.
• Encourage a more liberated ‘authentic’ and individual vocal expression.
• Seek out ways to find real joy in the process of singing, cherishing both the physical sensation and its expressive power.
• Increase confidence in singing for performance, self-expression, health and wellbeing.
• Sophie is offering all participants two individual 20 min. voice sessions, included in the cost of this course. Additional sessions on offer, at extra cost.

Programme for the day

9am-12pm Input from Sophie and Candy. Warm ups, general voice skills
Singing in parts, learning additional skills as we sing:
• Repertoire
• Doing simple arrangements
• How to deepen the musical quality of the experience
• Building the singing community
• Singing games
• Add more colour to performances
12-1.30pm Lunch
1.30-4pm Walks, beach, leisure
4-6pm • Practice time with Candy – students to teach a song, get feedback, and bring up specific questions
• Individual voice work with Sophie
6-8pm Supper
8-9pm Singing, relaxation, music, fun


What’s included in the price?
• All tuition
• Accommodation
• Food: breakfast and lunch for 4 days, and an evening meal when you arrive on the first night. (We will cook together, or go out to eat, on the other evenings.

Twin Room: €640 pp
En Suite twin room: €690 pp
Single Room: €780 pp
Bunk Room (with 3 or 4 people): €610 pp
Non-residential price (includes lunch, supper): €500 pp
Camping price: €560 pp

Pay your deposit to secure your place:

150.00Add to cart

Also please fill out and return this form.

Arrival and departure times

Arrive 4-6pm Friday 17th June. We will have an evening meal ready for you.
Depart after breakfast Tuesday 21st June

Covid considerations

We at The Song House are doing all we can to ensure a safe environment. We are Failte Ireland Covid approved and have done our research in relation to keeping up to date with safety guidelines, policy and procedures.
We will be in contact closer to the time, with further questions regarding this matter, in order to provide as safe an environment as possible.

Food and shops

There are 2 little supermarkets in Falcarragh, one mile away.
Markets: veg and fish market on Friday mornings.

Evening meals

Previous singers have really enjoyed cooking the evening meal in groups. It was fun!
So to keep costs down, we’ll cook together in pairs most evenings. If you are not a confident cook- don’t worry! There are always plenty of good cooks and people to help. There are also great local fish and chips and we can treat ourselves to a meal out in the pub too.
Please let us know any special dietary needs.

What to bring</h3
Bring clothes for all eventualities. Rain gear and walking shoes essential.
Midge repellant (they can be an issue in damp weather in the summer.)
Song House will provide all linen and towels, but if you like swimming, bring a swimming towel.
There is a guitar here you can use. Bring musical instruments, stories, games, poems to make our own entertainment in the evenings.


You can travel to Falcarragh easily by public transport.

• Daily Coaches from Dublin to Falcarragh (4 hours). The coach picks up at Dublin airport:

• Daily Coaches from Belfast to Falcarragh (2 ¾ hours). The coach doesn’t stop at Belfast International airport, but if you phone them, they’ll arrange for a taxi to drop you from the airport to meet the coach on the main road: http://www.gallagherscoaches.com/Map.htm

• Hourly minibus from Belfast airport to Derry: www.airporter.co.uk
Local buses will get you from Derry to Letterkenny, then on to Falcarragh.

• Regular flights from Glasgow and Dublin to Donegal airport. 30 min drive from Song House. The car hire at Donegal airport is more expensive. Or get a taxi.

• To drive, Google maps reference is on our website

Cancellation Policy

We strongly advise you to arrange travel insurance to cover personal accident, cancellation of the course, loss of personal effects and personal liability.

In the event of your cancellation, for whatever reason except Covid, the following will apply:
• Cancellation 90 days and over before start of holiday – cost refunded less €60 admin charge
• Cancellation 46 to 89 days before start of holiday – 50% of total cost refunded, less €40 admin charge
• Cancellation 45 days before start of holiday– full cost of holiday will be charged, unless a replacement can be found. Then €40 admin charge.

In the case of cancellation due to renewed Covid restrictions, we will either keep your moneys towards a future holiday, or if preferred, offer you a full refund, minus administration fee of €40.


Our public liability insurance covers you for injury due to our negligence during the course but it does not cover you for injury from other causes or for loss or damage to your property. We cannot accept responsibility for illness, injury or loss, other than that caused by our proven negligence.


June 17
June 21
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