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Come All Ye: A singing adventure on Newfoundland’s Bonavista Peninsula

Growing the Voices: Festival 500 is dedicated to increasing access to singing opportunities for people around the world, of all ages and backgrounds. Among its innovative offerings is Come All Ye, a 5-day singing adventure of fun, personal enrichment and learning to be held at Fishers’ Loft Inn, in glorious Port Rexton. The program was conceived and developed by Dr. Susan Knight, Founder of Growing the Voices: Festival 500. This year’s edition is scheduled for October 21-26, 2016.

The inaugural offering of Come All Ye in October, 2015 was a success. Twenty people travelled to Port Rexton from a variety of locations, with singing experience ranging from novice to life-long.

Over 5 days, guided by the accomplished choral director Dr. Doug Dunsmore, twenty strangers bonded as a singing ‘community’, culminating in an evening of song shared with the people of Bonavista at the Garrick Theatre.

This in and of itself is remarkable: a chance to meet with like-minded strangers and in five days become a choir ready for performance. But a trip to the Bonavista Peninsula offers even more!

Much more than singing

The group spent around 3 hours singing each day, with the rest of the time available to explore the historic communities in the area, hike the Skirwink Trail (rated among the top trails in Canada), pick wild berries or just sit and reflect. A yoga session began each day for most of the group, in a room overlooking the dramatic Port Rexton landscape.

Fishers’ Loft Inn is one of the province’s top-rated character inns. Owners John and Peggy are major supporters of the arts, promoting, for example, the work of visual artists and holding an annual fall reading series Just Before Dinner, featuring noted authors. The property includes a kitchen garden, greenhouse and a craft and book shop.

Impressions from last year's partipants

Come All Ye is truly a remarkable experience, unique in Newfoundland and Labrador. Some of last year's participants explain why:

"I had no idea how enjoyable this would be. As the days went by, I found myself feeling more energetic and enthusiastic - humming all the time."  - Peggy Fisher

"Spending five days learning from inspiring facilitators in staggeringly beautiful Port Rexton was a life-uplifting experience." Don Nichol

"The program facilitates singing in a friendly and unimposing way. I had never thought of myself as a singer nor did I have any experience singing. I felt totally at ease under the guidance of Doug Dunsmore and the program facilitators." - Gerrie Nicholas

"A beautiful experience, with wonderful people and new friends." - Elaine Dobbin

"The music, singing, food, location, laughter and fellowship over those few days, will always remain with me." - Sandra White

"The chance to raise our voices together under the direction of a brilliant facilitator was a transcendent experience; I adored it. I loved the experience of lifting my voice in a group."
- Mary Walsh

How to get involved in 2016

Come All Ye is happening again this year! You too can enjoy a fun and empowering singing experience led by the engaging Doug Dunsmore, in an inspiring location and with many opportunities to explore, learn and relax.

For all the details, please check out the Special Offer by clicking here!