House of Voices


January 24, THURSDAY:          
Tightening the weave of Community: Sharing your ancestral story through the art of Gullah Stick Pounding and Song

Melanie DeMore
Melanie DeMore: Vocal Activist - is one of the most outstanding vocal artists of today helping to preserve the African American Folk Tradition through song and Gullah stick pounding.  She was the subject of a documentary called 'Stick and Pound which showcases this tradition. She has a career spanning 30 years dedicated to teaching, lecturing, mentoring, conducting, directing and inspiring children and adults about the power of song as social and political change. Melanie is a sought-after presenter, conductor, and soloist at national and international choral and music festivals, including Festival 500 in Newfoundland, Canada, and Chorus America.

She is sought after as a song/ prayer facilitator, creating spontaneous choirs for The Trinity Institute, The Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive  Society and the Powell Foundation as well as many varied spiritual and faith-based organizations. She is adjunct faculty at the California Institute for Integral Studies,  Master teaching artist for CalPerformances at UC Berkeley, a featured presenter for SpeakOut! The Institute for Social and Cultural Change and was the Artistic Conductor of The Oakland Children’s Community Choir with Living Jazz for nine years.
She was a founding member of the Grammy-nominated, Linda Tillery and the Cultural Heritage Choir and has had the pleasure of sharing the stage with such varied artists as Odetta, Richey Havens, Pete Seeger, the Trinity Choir, MUSE Cincinnati Women's Chorus and many others.
Melanie DeMore is a singer/songwriter, composer, conductor and vocal activist, who believes in the power of voices raised together.
She says:

'A song can hold you up when there seems to be no ground beneath you".

January 25, FRIDAY:             
Science Gives us Choices: Research-based explorations of diverse vocal timbres, textures, and extended techniques

David Harris

David specializes in new music, American music, and the intricacies of communication in choral singing and conducting.  Living in Los Angeles, David is the co-founder and director of VoiceScienceWorks. Together with his partner, Laurel Irene, he helps vocalists learn to translate difficult voice science into immediately applicable tools.  He is the Director of Music at the First Congregational Church in Los Angeles, is a voice instructor at The American Musical and Dramatic Academy in Hollywood, and sings, conducts, and composes with C3LA, the Los Angeles Choral Collective.  David earned degrees from the University of Alabama (Sandra Willets), and Oklahoma (Dennis Shrock), and a DMA in Choral Conducting and Literature at the University of Colorado (Joan Catoni-Conlon and Larry Kaptein).  In Boston, in addition to leading the College Choir and Chamber Singers at Holy Cross, he began Triad: Boston’s Choral Collective, a group that specializes in contemporary choral music, and sang bass in the LidaBros barbershop Quartet.  In New York, David served as the assistant director to Harold Rosenbaum's Canticum Novum, conducted the Columbia University Glee Club, sang and conducted in C4: The Choral Composer/Conductor Collective, conducted the Brearley Singers and Chamber Orchestra, built a men's choir at the Grammy Award-winning Brooklyn Youth Chorus Academy, and taught middle school boys at the Collegiate School.  While in Boulder, David began Jubilate, a 50-voice a cappella touring choir, served as chorus director for the Boulder Bach Festival and associate artistic director for the Denver Bach Society, in addition to producing concerts of his own work. David is a voting member and a member of several committees of the board in the Pan American Vocal Association, the first professional organization devoted to vocology, and studied with Ingo Titze at the NCVS Summer Vocology Institute in Salt Lake City.  As a composer and arranger, David writes primarily for the voice, often including instrumentation. His works draw from the range of techniques and approaches available today, striving, in particular, to integrate stylistic elements from across genres into a recognizably pleasing, yet new experience.  As such, his pieces often include the rhythmic underpinnings of contemporary popular music with traditional choral textures.  The presence of beatbox, rhythmically cyclical polyphony, and riffing are as common as homophonic hymn-like layering and fugues.  David is also a songwriter and solo performer. Visit for more information.

January 26, SATURDAY:       
A Workshop of Throat Singing from Mongolia and Tuva 

Tamir Hargana

Tamir Hargana is a world-class and award-winning performer of Mongolian and Tuvan music. Now based in Chicago, Tamir is from the far northeastern region of Inner Mongolia, China at the border with Mongolia and Russia. He received his M.A. in World Music Performance from Northern Illinois University in 2017 and received his undergraduate degree from Inner Mongolia University Arts College with a specialty in throat singing (khöömii). He one of the only active performers of khöömii in the United States and is also a multi-instrumentalist, accompanying himself on traditional instruments from Mongolia and Tuva, such as the morin khuur (Mongolian horse-head fiddle), tovshuur (Mongolian lute instruments), doshpuluur (Tuvan lute instrument) and igil (Tuvan string instrument). Tamir has earned high honors and awards in throat singing competitions in Mongolia, Tuva, Inner Mongolia, and Manzhouli, China. He has performed in concerts, presentations, and workshops in the U.S., Mongolia, Russia, Indonesia, Taiwan, and China. He was also featured in TV documentaries about throat singing and has taught throat singing at the Inner Mongolia University Arts College High School Preparatory Division from 2013-2014. He currently teaches khöömii and Mongolian music at Old Town School of Music in Chicago.