Annual Singing Retreat

Annual Singing Retreat

6th Foundational Singing Training

6th Foundational Singing Training

Monday, December 21, 2015


The experience of the weekend singing retreat with Christiaan B. is multi-faceted. First, the exercises are gentle and respective of the natural function of the human body, without any forcing.  This approach is about tending's one voice from the inside, coming to meet your expression of your voice, comfortably and without strain.  Attention is on sensing and noticing the inner environment, and supporting the fullness and quality of tone, rather than only on projection of the sound.  This approach is to foster allowing the sounds to arise and resonate.  The exercises are easy and natural and are designed to work with the body in a soothing way.  In this workshop you are invited to experience the glow and energetic effect from the group exercises, as well as gather a collection of tools to continue your journey to discover your voice. Come join with a group of harmonious ones and celebrate your own quality of voice.     
-Claudette C.

Thanks for an amazing Singing Retreat! I didn't know what to expect...after all the work I've done on myself, I was surprised that this singing showed me some structures inside myself I hadn't known were there. I'm getting glimpses of the 'me' I am underneath all the cultural overlayment and I am thrilled to be finally able to access this territory!   -Lissa C.

The Singing Retreat has been for me a kind of soul-oasis, a place where my spirit drank from waters that fed me more deeply than I realize even now. I have been drenched in pure tone and crisp, precise consonants as well as rich and wide vowels.
The spatial dynamics and eurythmy enriched my sense of belonging, both in my physical body and my place in the group, and were a perfect counterpoint to the exercises and singing.
To listen to my own voice resonating in clear tones, and at the same time to the voices of those around me, connected me simultaneously to my inner depths and to the depths we all share... This could be called “the voice of Heaven’.   And I am ready to get drenched again!  -Pamela B.

Christiaan's Open Singing Course is a revolution in the teaching of singing.  These technical exercises gently guide beginning and experienced singers into vocal freedom.  It is an often-emotional experience that leads you back to the joy of singing.
-Dr. Lynne Morrow, Sonoma State University

Christiaan Boele's lectures are a work of art in themselves, unwinding harmoniously, rhythmically and melodically.  
 -Bay Area Center for Waldorf Teacher Training

The experience of the Open Singing Course cannot be captured in words.  Moving, replenishing, spiritual, inspiring and lovely are some words that come to mind.  Christiaan is a gentle, masterful teacher who has crafted a training as relevant for experienced singers as for beginners and self-proclaimed nonsingers.  -Dana R.

The quality of your work with us magnifies with every session.  For me, your gift of an elevated understanding of the voice has improved and rejuvenated my work with children and adults alike.  Thank you.  My own voice has been enlivened and is more flexible and pleasurable as well.  -Rusty V.

Christiaan, thank you for sharing this gift of singing with such joy, such humor and such diligence.  I had a great time at the Open Singing Course and I wasn't stressed at all.  (I am very anxious about singing and I almost didn't come.)  -Windsong B.

During my Waldorf teacher training Christiaan taught us Werbeck singing exercises. In the beginning I merely enjoyed doing the exercises. It was an interesting and new approach to singing which made me forget my doubts about not having a beautiful voice. The exercises felt doable. During the years, however, I could experience the transformational power of the exercises. Not only did they make me calmer and more centered, they also helped me to access my creative potential. The exercises felt like a protective blanket wrapped around my body. I also use the exercises to prepare myself before teaching. My voice has improved which inspired me to incorporate more songs into my lessons.-Tosha W.

Thank you!  I have studied singing for many years and appreciate the gentle, soothing, relaxing approach.  Reminded me of  yoga and of labor-opening.  -Beth G.

Just amazing!  Really connected me to my voice in a new, spiritual way.  -Ken S.

Meeting with the School of Uncovering the Voice has brought me closer to a wholesome singing practice and has provided me with a solid anchor on my vocal explorations, a safe and nurturing place for healing the voice and for growing more intimately familiar with it.  In the few years passing since this schooling first reached me, new knowledge has been constantly flowing into my listening and singing, deepening my awareness to space as the habitation of the voice and to the voice's place within it. The Singing Training will allow these understandings to further mature and will serve to continue the cultivation of presence, sensitivity and elasticity that allow the voice to shine through the body.  With the help of this sharpened presence, I hope to be able not only to meet the world with my own stronger, more centered voice, but also to impart this knowledge to others who may benefit from it.  -David K.

This course is very illuminating to me and supports many of my own discoveries during my forty years of teaching guitar.  It has cured my "hopeless" attitude about singing!  -Nan S.

Christiaan, you are a delightfully clear and holistic teacher.   What a joy you are!  -Ann O.

I have appreciated the opportunity to be in the Open Singing Course for these few days.  The spiritual understanding of the human being sets these singing exercises apart from other 'warm up exercises' that are even similar in some ways in other schools of singing.  it is this subtle yet huge difference that gives the therapeutic element an extra dimension that goes so much deeper than most approaches to the human voice.  If one is willing to do the work, these exercises can have a marvelous effect in opening the voice.  In essence, it is the spiritual understanding of the singing process and particularly the larynx which contributes to the uniqueness of this work.  -Joy S.

Wonderful course with depth, feeling and sharing of such knowledge!  -Julie M.

I loved it!  Moved to tears!  Affirmation of my inner needs.  I'm longing for the wholeness.  Want more!   -Jen A.

The small bit of Werbeck singing I have been introduced to has been restorative, energizing and healing and has helped bring practical experience and application to many of the spiritual concepts we study in my studio.  I personally have been through a long journey of vocal issues while being a lifelong performer and music minister.  Werbeck's work has helped me to recover my voice time and time again and continues to assist me in re-training old patterns of strain that I developed in early, less enlightened vocal study.  There is nothing I'd rather do than learn more about this incredible co-creative art in which we have the blessed opportunity to allow living sound presence to take form in the world.  -Kath R.

Thank you for all the sensitivity and strength you bring to the world cloaked in wonder, beauty and love.  Your way in the world brings hope and healing.  -Katherine P. 

Wonderful!  I love the mix of information and exercises!  -Noelle T.

How does one speak of "The School of Uncovering the Voice" without sounding too mythical, opening oneself to suspicion, for this is not an easy thing to speak about.  When I first came to the Open Course, I was told the work would "Meet Me Where I Was."  I silently wondered what that could possibly mean?  I grew up with an Amish grandmother, cousins, aunties, uncles and relatives, who all believed in the power of song.  I did not know this then, I only felt it.  We sang for every occasion; for work, for birth, for death, in four part harmony, without instrumentation.  My first understanding of something sacred came from song.  Perhaps the definition of Christiaan's work I might give is that one will discover that which is sacred in oneself again.  There are things buried in the heart that perhaps only music can stir up again.  -Beth N.

Wow Christiaan, what a gift you have given us.  A new impulse for our time and FUN too!  You have helped me change my life.  -Doug C.

The workshop and private lessons with Christiaan have brought me a deep joy and an awakening that I have been longing for.  I am very moved by the process of genuinely connecting with the power of the voice and the breath; of experiencing the wisdom and effectiveness of not pushing and not trying so hard... My voice transformed within a week and I already feel more connected with it.  Voice exercises from previous teachers used to bore me, but now I actually feel delighted to practice the exercises I learned with Christiaan... I experience these voice exercises as I would a meditation practice.  They bring mindfulness, focus and calm to my busy life.. bringing true healing and peace. -Lena P.

Connection, like the ripples when you toss the smooth stone into the water;  connection to the lion’s wild mane.  Thank you for these lively, living, working moments Christiaan. Joyous,grateful work! 
-Beverly K.

This day helped me gain entrance to a spacious sense of true engagement with my voice that I’ve not experienced before, with a sense that this resistance I’ve had can give way to more openness and participation. - Lily N.

I no longer linger in the shadows of silencing fear and doubt -
The sun beckons me now, waiting - endlessly, effortlessly
Sounds fly from my throat and heart like doves and swallows
With clear tones sweetly ringing- deftly, solidly, free
Led by the infinite air streaming - everywhere, always
Needing only to slow my furious pace
and quiet my restless mind,
I open to the sounds of grace Divine
And am enveloped by a harmony of song
more beautiful than even dreams' vast skies.
-Pamela B. 
The 6th Foundational Singing Training in California
New Students are Still Eligible to Enroll through June 2016
Session Two: February 12-14, 2016
at Ananda Meditation Center, Nevada City, CA

The 6th Training meets over a 3 1/2 year period, for 5 days each June and 3 days each February. It includes four private lessons per year, group work and choir.

This advanced course is offered to those with previous study of Uncovering the Voice (such as attendance at an Open Course and/or private lessons with Christiaan). 

In this work, the process of singing is viewed holistically, with the aim of the natural opening and balancing of the voice.  The singer is invited to move with confidence and joy towards discovering his or her own voice within the group and in private lessons.  It is a gentle process and the voice is never pushed, but gently liberated through engagement and active participation.  A wide range of specific singing exercises will be developed together with a comprehensive study of Werbeck's book.

Singing Training Topics:

Session 1:  Exercises to Forget the Breathing    June 11-15, 2015
Session 2:  Directing the Sound                        February 12-14, 2016
Session 3:  Vowels and Consonants                  June 9-13, 2016
Session 4:  Expansion of the Sound                  February 2017
Session 5:  Reflection of the Sound                  June 2017
Session 6:  Reflection of the Word                   February 2018
Session 7:  Summary and Closing                    June 2018

Annual Tuition:
$800 for June
$400 for February
(this includes two private lessons in June and two private lessons in February)

To Apply:

Please write a paragraph about why you would like to participate in the Training and email it to Sheryl at:  Upon acceptance into the Training, you will receive registration information.

Maximum Enrollment:  30 Students

Open Singing Retreat 2017

Why attend the Open Singing Retreat?

In various areas of our lives, many of us are now looking for healthier and more holistic approaches and we are feeling a new sense of responsibility for realms such as nature, food, clean air, clean water, etc.  Until recently, people have taken both their speaking as well as their singing voices for granted, as if they come for free and do not require any nurturing.  The renewing thought which the School of Uncovering the Voice brings is that we need to take care of our voices in different ways than was done in earlier days.  

How can we develop our precious, own instruments according to the needs of our times?  In earlier eras of humanity, the singing voice was a central issue in life.  Now our capacity is shrinking rapidly.  We need caring ways of expressing ourselves through our voices and to realize: Through my voice, I express my whole being and by singing, I affect my overall balance and health.  This can be done by the exercises given by Valborg Werbeck Svardstrom, who shows us easy ways to build up relation to all the basic elements needed for singing and care of the voice.   

In a joyful way, we try to experience the musical world as well as to understand the background of our doing; embracing both practicality and understanding.  Werbeck states that if there would be more singing and more righteous singing in our world, the criminality would decrease.  This thought can be understood as follows: Being with our voice connects us to more pure parts of ourselves and develops that what we may as human beings want to become (our more realized selves).  

The Open Singing Retreat provides a safe, welcoming and deeply renewing space in time to do all of this and more.  It is not only for trained singers, but it is also for people who do not yet have faith in their own capacity as singers and who are open to trying new experiences.

Open Singing Retreat
led by Christiaan Boele 
June 16-18, 2017
at Davis Waldorf School
3100 Sycamore Lane, Davis, CA 95616

Friday June 16
8:50 Check In
9:00  Welcome Circle and Introduction to the School of Uncovering the Voice
10:15   Morning Break 
10:45  Exercises to Forget the Breathing
12:00  Afternoon Break
2:00-3:00 Movement:  Eurythmy
3:15 Transition to Song  
5:00  Evening Break
6:30-8:30  Joyful Exercises and Choir

Saturday June 17
9:00  Building Our Sound Cupola
10:15  Morning Break
10:45  Bringing in the Vowels
12:00  Afternoon Break
2:00-3:00 Movement:  Eurythmy
3:15-4:00 Conversation & Questions
4:15-5:00 Children's Choir
5:00  Evening Break
6:30-8:30  Joyful Exercises and Choir

Sunday June 18
9:00  Deepening our Understanding of Singing
10:15  Morning Break
10:45-12:00 Conclusion & Closing Circle

Tuition:  $250 by May 31, 2017,  $300 therafter

Eurythmy:   Movements and gestures that reveal to the eye what language and music bring to the ear.  Speak and sing with the human body, making speech and music visible.

Children's Choir:  For children and teens ages nine and up.  Free to children of retreat participants and also open to the community ($15 per child; one parent may attend free).  Grownups are invited to join also! 

Special Discounts:
School Group  If three or more staff members from a school or a choir attend, each participant receives $50 off of their tuition.  
Past Open Singing Course Participants:  that register with a guest new to the Open Course, will receive $50 off of their tuition.
For more information and to register contact Sheryl at: or call:  530-210-3208