This is the 2012 Conclave page.
For information about the 2013 Conclave, please click here.
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Martha Bishop's "Fantasia for the 50th"

We'll all be performing Martha Bishop's "Fantasia for the 50th" at Conclave. Click here or scroll to the bottom of the page to download parts, score and more!

Welcome Letter and Auction Catalog on-line

Important things you should print and bring with you:

Registration is now closed.

faculty graphic

View the complete faculty bios here.

Conclave 2012 Features

  • 50 Teachers from 50 Conclaves
  • Return of the Big Bow-in
  • Special Programs
    • Beginning Viol
    • Seasoned Players
    • Consort Cooperative
  • World's Largest Consort Session
  • Daily Mini-Concerts Featuring Our Faculty
  • Unveiling of the Conclave Quilt
  • Ad Hoc Playing
  • Archival Displays
  • "Story Chord" Project
  • Boulder Early Music Shop
  • VdGSA Store
  • Builders' Exhibits
  • Live and Silent Auctions
  • Town Meeting
  • Young Players' Gathering
  • Golden Anniversary Banquet and Entertainment

Conclave Staff
Sarah Mead Music Director
Kathy Schenley Conclave Coordinator
Alice Renken & Jean Seiler Conclave Assistants
Chrissy Spencer, David Poon, Sarah Poon Coordinators in Training
Phillip Serna Scholarship Coordinator
John Pringle & Russell Wagner Viol Doctors
Harry Grabenstein Bow Doctor

Need a ride to Conclave, or a viol to use, or able to provide either?

Check out the Ride Board.

Faculty | Programs | Fees | Classes | Contacts

Class Offerings

Self-Rating Guide
A new "score-card" to assess your appropriate level was introduced in 2011. Make sure you use this guide to determine your rating before registering for classes. Click here to see the new guidelines.

For a printable PDF version of the class offerings, click here.

First Period (9:00-10:30)
LI Terry Follow the Phrase—Using texted & untexted madrigals, explore the long lines that bind a phrase
LI‑I Lipnik Fascinating Rhythms—Focusing on the rhythmic techniques that make for a tight consort
LI‑I Macdonald Two’s Company—Bass viol technique illustrated through a musical tour of duets (basses only)
LI‑UI Hershey All Together Now—Achieving a captivating consort sonority through ensemble exercises
LI‑UI Blendulf Getting into Treble—Treble-specific techniques for ease & beauty aimed at those coming from larger viols (trebles only)
I‑UI Crum The Long & Short of It—Handling irregular bow patterns, with examples from the repertoire
I‑UI Panofsky Pas de Deux—The dance of body and viol that leads to greater flexibility and a bigger reach (basses only)
I‑A Soderstrom Striking a Chord—Thinking of the viol as an instrument of harmony, from lyra to figures to jazz
I‑A Jeffrey 50/50 for Tenors—A class that's 50% tenor technique and 50% tenor-centric repertoire (tenors only)
I‑A Gillespie Improvising in Circles—Using the circle of 5ths as a practice platform – no music stand required!
I‑A Elfenbein Choosing Alternatives—Contemporary styles & expanded techniques, from jazz to blues to rock
I‑A Ludwig No Bows Necessary—The powerful potential of plucking; pizzicato on the viol
I‑A Lewis, Neely, & McGaughey Just DO It!—Three varying and rotating consorts, meeting the challenge of performing… daily! (limit 15)
UI‑A Rabut Fruitful Months—Practicing in a mindful and fruitful way, illustrated by Simpson’s “Months” (trebles & basses)
UI‑A Griffin The Taming of the Bow—Using the bow effectively for expression, phrasing, and ornamentation
A Tetenbaum Personal Trainer—Technique bootcamp with task-master Christopher Simpson’s divisions (limit 6, basses)

* starred classes may have a second section with another teacher if registration is high enough

Second Period (11:00-12:15)
B Panofsky Beginning Viol—Open to all, no experience necessary; instruments provided with advance registration
any Kulbach Songs from the Diaspora—Sephardic music of many cultures interpreted by viols and voices (singers welcome)
any Douglass Just Make Something Up—Creative skills for demystifying improvisation and dispelling fears
any Hutchinson The Violist’s Songbook—Top-hit roots of viol repertoire, from plainchant to Beethoven (singers welcome)
any Chancey Playing by Ear—Don’t be paper-trained! Learn to combine what you know & what you hear
LI‑I Bishop Celebrations in Sound—Celebrating our anniversary year with music for grand occasions (limit 12)
I Ashworth Music of Iberia—From villancicos to Victoria – sacred & secular music of Spain & Portugal (limit 10)
I Davidoff Consorts Now—20th and 21st-century music written for viol consort (limit 6)
I‑UI Haas French for Dummies—An introduction to French ornamentation, using solo and consort music (basses & trebles)
I‑A Jeppesen Marais: Our Best Teacher—Solo masterclass with theorbo accompaniment from Cathy Liddell (basses only)
UI Halverson Italian Tour—Exploring the contrasting demands of sonatas, ricercars, madrigals and dances (limit 5)
UI Lewis* Music with Words—Consorts that sing, madrigals that dance – Ward, Coperario, Gesualdo (limit 5)
UI‑A Walhout* Music with a Backbone—Exploring the great repertoire that has the In Nomine tune at its core (limit 5)
UI‑A Morris Outside England—Consorts & suites from France, Italy, and Germany: Charpentier, Legrenzi, Biber (limit 8)
A Morton Sound out my Voice—The most beloved madrigals & chansons and their basis for viol divisions (5-6, low consort)
A Mead Listen and Learn—The advanced consort skills you need to take your playing to the next level (limit 6)
50/50 for the 50th: Choose one of these pairs of classes, and get a Half a Week of Each One!
I‑UI Renken and Meints The Viols’ ReWard (Renken) / Oldies on Oldies (Meints)—Spend three days exploring John Ward’s splendid consorts, and the other three playing historic consorts on historic viols (limit 6 per class)
UI‑A Fournier and Ballard Semper Dowland (Fournier) / Lachrimae Antiquae (Ballard)—Spend a week with the inimitable John Dowland, half of it shedding “Antique Tears” on antique viols (limit 5 per class)

* starred classes may have a second section with another teacher if registration is high enough

Afternoon Classes:
You may choose classes from EITHER the Third or Fourth Period.
During the other period, you may sign up for the class in the box or take the period off.
Note: The classes in the boxes are not "Drop-Ins"; though not limited in size, they are intended as regular classes.

Third Period (2:00-3:15)
any Herman Learning your ABC’s—An introduction to viol tablature with the author of “Alphabet Soup”
LI‑I Neely Canzonen und Balleten—5-part suites of the 17th-century German composer Andreas Hammerschmidt (limit 10)
I Gutiérrez Olé—The sweet, haunting, and entertaining music of Spain, Guatemala, Mexico, and Peru (voices welcome)
I‑UI Kambe Viol Clinic—Bring your questions, difficulties, and technical problems to Yukimi’s Clinic for Gambas
I‑A Cross What Does it All Mean?—An introduction to the mysteries & magic of reading original notation
I‑A Cunningham Possibilities—Improvising on the viol: what do you and your instrument want to say? (limit 10)
I‑A Ashworth Fiddling with your Viol—Dances, canzoni, and motets played with the flavor of a violin band (violins welcome)
UI‑A Elhard Teaching Children & Beginners—A new method for teaching viol to non-string-players (beginners welcome)
UI‑A McGaughey* Tom, Dick & Harry—Consort music of Lupo, Dering, and Purcell for 5 & 6 parts (limit 6)
UI‑A Morris Post-Renaissance Polyphony—18th to 20th-century polyphony by Bach, Mozart, Brahms, and more (limit 8)
A Morley* Somewhat Extraordinary—Mr. John Jenkins, “one that performed somewhat extraordinary” (limit 5)
all Lipnik (note change: was Bardo) Dancing on the Viol—Dances for a room-full of viols, from Germany to Ireland to Appalachia (unlimited)

* starred classes may have a second section with another teacher if registration is high enough

Fourth Period (3:45-5:00)
LI‑I Woldt* Five Alive—5-part favorites: Brade, Borchgreving, Holborne, Deering and more (limit 5)
LI‑I Rabut Continental Treats—16th-century consorts and songs from Flanders, France, Germany, and Italy (limit 5 )
I‑UI Wissick Getting to Know You—Becoming better acquainted with the fantasias of Coperario & Jenkins (limit 18)
I‑UI Robbins Where there’s a Will—The 4-part music of our own Will Ayton, composer for the viol (limit 8)
UI Springfels The Way We Were—The hottest consort repertoire of 1962, the year of the first Conclave (limit 6)
UI‑A Schroeder* Play it for-Ward—The 6-part consorts of John Ward, with the teacher as a consort-member (limit 5)
UI‑A Crum Giaches de Wert—Playing the different vocal styles expressed in his madrigals & motets (limit 5)
UI‑A Zusman* Holborne Musical Chairs—Hear Holborne from every angle by trading instruments & parts (limit 5)
A Halverson* Orlando Glorioso—The glorious 6-part consorts of the great Orlando Gibbons (limit 6)
all Rozendaal The Delaware Viol-Harmonic—What’s better than Mantovani? Gamba-vani! (unlimited)

* starred classes may have a second section with another teacher if registration is high enough

Faculty | Programs | Fees | Classes | Contacts

The Schedule

Sunday, July 22 3:00-6:00 Registration and Check in; Opening Night Festivities
Monday, July 23 Classes begin
Tuesday, July 24 Golden Anniversary Auction
Wednesday, July 25 Afternoon/evening free for sightseeing
Thursday, July 26 Photo Op: The World's Largest Consort!
Friday, July 27 Student Performances
Saturday, July 28 Final classes; Town Meeting; Golden Anniversary Banquet
Sunday, July 29 Check out by 11:00 a.m.

Welcome Letter
A "welcome" letter containing many Conclave details, including travel, items to bring, etc. will be available in mid-April. Please note that early arrival before July 22 is not an option at this venue.

Special Programs


As a community outreach, this class is offered free to local residents and to guests of Conclave registrants. The class introduces basic technique, ensemble playing, practicing skills, and ideas for how to continue to play the viol after Conclave. Instruments are available free of charge with advance registration. The class meets in the late morning Monday through Saturday. For more information contact: Sarah Mead.


Pre-existing groups may register to take ONE of their classes as a consort. Due to class-size limitations, priority will be given to 6-part ensembles. To assure placement together, all members should register early.


This program is for professionals who are not on faculty, highly advanced amateurs, and semi-pros who want to work on specific projects or just read through consort repertoire. Participants in the SP Program pay only the Conclave conference fee and do not take classes (or take just one class at the one-class rate). Applicants for this program should be strong readers and sufficiently competent with the consort literature to be comfortable playing more than one instrument on the more difficult repertoire. Contact Alice Renken, (760) 729-6679, for more information. Email: Alice Renken.


Designed for professional and pre-professional viol players, the Consort Cooperative provides an intensive week of viol playing within highly accomplished consorts of one's peers. CC participants will hone their directing skills by coaching pieces they have selected, as well as explore both classic and unusual consort repertoire in groups led by their peers. The goals of the program are not rooted solely in preparing for a small concert at the end of the week; but rather more importantly, to provide the opportunity to focus intensely on a select body of pieces (chosen by the participants), and to delve deeply into the music, at the highest technical level, in the spirit of discovery, flexibility and collaboration. Applicants to the CC program are required to register for Conclave. They must also supply additional information to Brady Lanier by May 1. See details at Consort Cooperative.


of instruments, bows, and related materials are invited to exhibit at Conclave. Secure display space will be available adjacent to the VdGSA Store. One table per exhibitor is guaranteed ($25 per day plus pro-rated conference fee for exhibitors not registered as tuition students). We will make every effort to provide as much display space as you require, but we can guarantee one table only. Exhibitors are strongly urged to register on-line at The on-line registration includes a special program for builders and exhibitors with the option of part-week stays and pro-rated fees. Exhibitors must complete all registration forms—including housing requests—by June 15. Contact Susan Marchant, phone: (662) 816-9959.

Faculty | Programs | Fees | Classes | Contacts

Workshop Fees


Full tuition (2 or more classes) $450 $470
Partial tuition (one class only) $350 $370
Conference fee for anyone not taking classes (includes guests, non-playing partners, Seasoned Players and Consort Cooperative members not taking classes) $250 $270
Conference fee for anyone taking only the Beginning Viol class $250 $270
Local participants taking the Beginning Viol class only No charge No charge
Late registration fee (after May 15) $25 $25
*A member is any member of the VdGSA or a foreign viola da gamba society. Non-members will receive a 1-year first-time membership in the VdGSA as part of their tuition fee.

Room and board

Room Type Cost for the week Daily rate
one-bedroom apartment,
private room
(full) (full)
one-bedroom apartment,
shared room
(full) (full)
two-bedroom apartment,
private room
(full) (full)
two-bedroom apartment,
shared room
(full) (full)
traditional dorm, single $575 $85
traditional dorm, double $375 $55
A few $125 subsidies for R & B are available for students and others on limited income. This option is available during the application process. Note that our budget limit for these subsidies has now been reached and we are putting people on a waiting list.
The banquet is included in the Room and Board.
If you are staying off campus but would like to attend the banquet, the cost is $40.


Conclave Work-Study positions come with full-tuition scholarships ($450) or part-time stipends ($250 for Consort Cooperative players only). Work-Study students handle the VdGSA Store, photocopying, registration, stage-managing and other similar duties. The application form for Work-Study Scholarships/Stipends is available during the online registration process. If you wish to apply but do not have internet access, contact the scholarship coordinator as soon as possible (see below). Applications must be received by April 25. Most recipients should know by May 23 if they will receive a subsidy. These positions fill quickly, so be sure to apply promptly! Contact Phillip Serna 847-722-2093, email: Phillip Serna.

Scholarship applicationsApril 25
Consort Cooperative applicationsMay 1
Late registration fee applies afterMay 15
Registration closesJune 15
Last cancellation dateJune 15

The University of Delaware

Founded as a small private academy in 1743, the University received its charter from the State of Delaware in 1833 and was designated one of the nation's historic Land Grant colleges in 1867. Newark is home to the University of Delaware's dynamic, academic main campus. Everything the University has to offer is within reach—flexible resources and leading edge technology. Stroll the tree-lined brick paths and enjoy the Georgian-inspired architecture that houses this first-class research institution. Take a short walk to Main Street and enjoy a remarkable array of offerings: restaurants, coffeehouses, shops and entertainment. Newark is a vital university town with a diverse, international community that maintains its collegiate roots. Thomas Jefferson once described Delaware as a "jewel" among states due to its strategic location on the East Coast, halfway between Washington, D.C., and New York City. What an appropriate site for our 50th Anniversary!

We will be housed on the Laird Campus, which is separated from the main body of the University and consists of conference facilities and dormitories. We will have both apartment style and traditional dorms available to us. All facilities are air-conditioned and ADA accessible. Both housing options are close to Clayton Hall, the center of our activities.

Apartment style accommodation in Christiana Towers features 1 or 2 bedrooms, a living room area with sofa and chairs, a kitchenette (stove and fridge, no microwave), and a bathroom with shower. Each bedroom has 2 beds and can be rented as a private or shared room. The living room area will accommodate a consort of six. The building is 17 stories tall and has 3 elevators. Each floor has 6 two-bedroom apartments and 8 one-bedroom apartments.

Traditional dorm housing in Thomas McKean is mostly in sets of 2 doubles with a connecting bath between. There are a few singles with completely private bath and some single/single suites with connecting bath. (Please note that the doors into shared baths do not lock; the toilet and shower rooms doors do lock.) These dorms have lounges on the hall that may be used for evening playing.

If you can only stay for a few nights and prefer more luxurious housing, The Courtyard Newark at the University of Delaware is located just yards from Clayton Hall's front doors and provides superior accommodations, dining and entertainment.

View Larger Map

For more information:

Faculty | Programs | Fees | Classes | Contacts

Points of Contact

Responsibility Name Phone Email
Music Director Sarah Mead 508-655-2597 Sarah Mead
Scholarships Phillip Serna 847-722-2093 Phillip Serna.
Housing questions Kathy Schenley 919-918-4159 Kathy Schenley
Assistance in registering off-line Kate Shuldiner
847-894-7562 Kate Shuldiner
Money matters Ken Perlow
708-989-1729 Ken Perlow
Exhibits Susan Marchant 662-816-9959 Susan Marchant
Consort Cooperative Brady Lanier 713-527-8559 Brady Lanier
VdGSA President Wendy Gillespie 812-336-1810 Wendy Gillespie
VdGSA Incoming President Marie Dalby Szuts 510-206-2652 Marie Dalby Szuts
Campus information University of Delaware
Local information Delaware Tourism
Web registration issues Linda and Peter Payzant   Webmasters


Need a ride to Conclave, or a viol to use, or able to provide either?

The Conclave Connection Board has now been disabled. See you next year.


Fantasia for the 50th
by Martha Bishop

Martha Bishop has written a wonderful new piece in honor of the 50th anniversary of the VdGSA and we are ALL invited to take part in its premiere performance at the big "Bow-In" on the first evening of Conclave. Jack Ashworth will be our conductor.

To help you get ready for this celebratory reading, Martha has provided download-able parts for us.

The piece is written for two choirs of five viols, with the second choir more easy to play than the first. There is also a very simple cantus firmus part for any size of viol.

To get ready for the Play-In, please do the following:

  1. Decide what instrument you'd like to play in the Bow-In
  2. Choose your part*:
    • Easy: Cantus firmus (any size viol)
    • Medium: Choir II (tr1, tr2, T, B1, or B2)
    • Harder: Choir I (tr1, tr2, T, B1, or B2)
  3. Print it out** and get to know it
  4. email Sarah Mead ( to say which part you've chosen
  5. Bring it to the First Night Gathering, along with your stand and instrument

*Choose the one you're most comfortable playing and practice it ahead of time (marking in fingerings and bowings as needed), or you can just look it over and reassure yourself that you'll be able to handle it in a sight-reading situation.

**If you don't have the wherewithal to print out your part, we will have extra copies at the Bow-In. However, it will help us all if you can bring your part with you on Sunday night.

NOTE: Please read Martha's accompanying comments, which will help you understand how she conceived the piece.

Here's what she has provided us with, in addition to the parts:

  1. a pdf of the full score
  2. parts for each instrument in BOTH choirs together, so you can follow what your counterpart in the other choir is playing as well as your own part.
  3. an MP3 of the piece so you can listen to it ahead of time if that will help you in your practice

I look forward to hearing us all playing the Fantasia for the 50th on Sunday, July 22nd at the University of Delaware.


Martha's comments:here
Full Score:here
MP3 recording (11MB):here
Choir I: Treble 1 Treble 2 Tenor Bass 1 Bass 2
Choir II: Treble 1 Treble 2 Tenor Bass 1 Bass 2
Both Choirs: Treble 1 Treble 2 Tenor Bass 1 Bass 2
Cantus Firmus (easy): Treble, tenor and bass