North American Folk Music And Dance Alliance Inc

Rating: 4.98 stars   44 reviews

Issues: Arts & Culture

Location: SummerSongs, Inc. PO Box 803 Saugerties NY 12477 USA

Mission: SummerSongs provides songwriters with training, performance opportunities, networking and community building through our retreats and conferences.
Geographic areas served: nation-wide
2012 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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EIN 14-1817513
845-247-7049
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

SUMMERSONGS -- I first heard about Summersongs, by word-of-mouth, from a friend I had met while serving as a band videographer years back. She said that this songwriting camp was the perfect vehicle to get out from behind my camera and start writing and performing like I had always wanted. Up until then, I didn't know how to even get started writing songs or performing in front of other people. In fact, I wasn't sure I had the "right stuff" to even do this, figuring that musicians were born, not made. But I wanted to learn, and from what I was told, Summersongs was a warm, nurturing community to start learning, making some mistakes in a non-judging environment, and growing step-by-step. With a little healthy skepticism, I signed-up for a camp, fully expecting that it couldn't be as perfect as billed. But I figured it was better than just sitting around wishing I could change. What i found, at my first camp in the summer of 2008, was an eye-opener -- a beautiful camp setting in the NY Catskills, and even more important, beautiful people who loved music and loved sharing their knowledge about it. That week, I learned how to approach writing songs and, just as importantly, how to break my writer's block (which often struck me at the time). I learned to accept my own musical vision and my own style as worthwhile while bringing it out from my heart and mind to my voice and guitar. I learned that I COULD change and even progress at my own pace, all the while having a blast! I have been a regular at camp ever since, treasuring it as much as a learning time as a social reunion with kindred spirits. More than that, I have started taking my music and performing it outside of camp for others who now look at me and say, "I wish I could do that, but...." I can honestly and open-heartedly recommend Summersongs to them and anyone else looking for a change to do just as I did -- live my dreams, grow, have fun, and pass the helping hand to others.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

 
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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

5 people found this review helpful

My experience with Summersongs only goes back two years, but what's now more important is that this experience will be continued for many more years in the future. I'm a middle-aged techie who has loved music all my life. Long ago, I decided to pursue a mostly non-music career based on a skewed perception that creating music was the province of the few and the gifted. But I always wondered what it could be like for me. A couple years back, at the urging of a friend, I attended my first Summersongs camp. It was like a revelation! This diverse of community of kindred spirits showed me how accessible my dream of becoming more musically creative really was. Even though we are united by our love of music, we also share compassion, knowledge and true friendship while helping each other realize our aspirations. For me, this transcendance allows me to reshape my vision of my future in a decidedly more musically-active direction. Thanks to Summersongs, I'm writing, performing and learning more every day. The community of Summersongs friendship keeps me going all year round, even when not in camp, but returning to this newfound world is always anticipated. Penny Nichols epitomizes the Summersongs experience, and attracts, nurtures, and binds us all in our creative journeys. My life has been immensely richer for this experience!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I have taken both the spirit and the skills I have developed at Summersongs and put it to use outside this community. I guess you could say this has been a breeding ground for even more outreach and impact.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-1-01

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

I have been attending Summersongs camps since 2008 and they have had a profound effect on my musical journey. Penny Nichols has created a wonderfully supportive group of instructors who not only are masters at their crafts but will nurture your soul as they help you grow musically.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

Likely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

A lot

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

 
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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

Summersongs is a life changing experience. I first went 10 years ago to check out the songwriting camp. I haven't missed one since. It offers amazing support and education. The instructors are amazing, the community is welcoming and supportive, and everyone within the community takes every opportunity to lift up and support new attendees. The vision of Penny Nichols, founder, is truly a life long gift to everyone who signs up for Summersongs or Wintersongs. I recommend it to anyone who wants to further enhance their creativity.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

7 people found this review helpful

I have attended three Wintersongs camps and two Summersongs camps and they have all been amazing experiences. The instructors are incredibly talented and generous with their time, and very supportive. I have grown so much as a songwriter, singer, musician but more importantly as a person. I'm basicly a shy person and the thought of singing before a large group of people was terrifying to me. Now, I look forward to performing and I find it a thrilling experience. I have found a wonderful community in Summersongs.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I have grown by leaps and bounds as a songwriter, singer , and musician. I have joined a community of incredibly, talented, giving, caring people who continually support each other in their artistic lives, and personal lives.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

The pure joy of singing, dancing and performing with such a supportive, constructive group.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Off the charts, talented, friendly, helpful.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Establish a permanent location for the camp. Offer free tuition to people who couldn't afford to pay. Set up seminars in schools and nursing homes because everyone has a song to sing and its a fantastic way to express youself.

Ways to make it better...

Got to attend more often although I have only missed one camp since I started going.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

Keeping the tuition reasonable while still paying staff fairly for their time. At present many of the instructors are paid well below what would be expected considering the amount of time they give.

One thing I'd also say is that...

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-8-01

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

Summersongs... I have attended Summersongs, every year, since 2001. I do not play an instrument, nor do I read music....but I write lyrics and have the melody in my head. The instuctors and other students bring my songs to fruition. I even get my charts done for me so that I can have other musicians play my songs for me. I have never met a more caring or dedicated group of instructors. With their help I have written more than a dozen songs and recorded 5 of them. I have made some life-long friends. The New York camp site is wonderful. I plan all my vacation time around camp...it is the best vacation ever ! Fran Stone

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

My new found ability to write songs.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

all fabulous

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

It could change the world...one song at a time !

Ways to make it better...

I played an instument so I could accompany myself.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

finances

One thing I'd also say is that...

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-8-01

 
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Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

Summersongs is a wonderful workshop/camp experience for musicians/singers/songwriters. It is a place where beginning and experienced musicians come together to share and experience the beautiful experiences of music, to teach and learn about how to write and compose songs and lyrics, and to strengthen musical bonds and community. One of the best parts of Summersongs is the inclusion of everyone, even people brand new to the music community. All levels are encouraged to share and grow in a supportive environment. Classes, performances, and small group opportunities are offered so everyone can share and experience the wonderful and valuable gift of music.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

The growth of the people that attend the camps, both personally and musically, including myself.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

being able to share my musical ideas with others, something I would not have the opportunity or the courage to do so otherwise.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Completely devoted to music and the growth of the individuals who attend the camps.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Spread the gift and opportunities of music to the whole world.

Ways to make it better...

Summersongs had more funding to be able to afford more teachers

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

Funding. It is a not-for-profit run by one person and the organization often scrapes by due to budget constraints.

One thing I'd also say is that...

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-1-01

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

8 people found this review helpful

I adore Summersongs. I have been attending the week long summer sessions for 10 years and these are consistently among the most joyous weeks of my life. There is magic in being in a warm, loving, supportive community where each member is encouraged to emerge as an artist and performer. Without a doubt the best concerts I've ever attended are the Summersongs student shows. These concerts are abundant with love for music, art and the uniqueness and value of each and every artist. Each year a community is quickly formed. Every meal has the buzz of a high school or sleep away camp cafeteria. The coolest people come to this camp and I have made some dear friends through it. And this experience has given me the confidence develop as a singer/songwriter and go out into the world and share my music. That's fun! Steven Prasinos

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

many aspects of my life.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the music, the people, the encouragement, the creating

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

great folks

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

dramatically heal our culture

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About once a year

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-8-01

 
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