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2017 Summer Gathering

Tolland, MA, Camp Kinderland, June 2-4, 2017

Workshop Descriptions and Workshop Grid


Plenary: by Jane Sapp
Friday Night Concert
Round Robin (performances by PMN members)

Artist in Residence: Jane Sapp

Plenary: Building Community through Music and Cultural Work

For five decades, Jane Sapp has used music to engage people of all ages to engage with social justice issues. She’s lived in eight different states – always with an open heart and a hunger for community, knowledge, joy, inspiration, awareness, understanding, direction, spirituality, happiness, struggle and power – and always with music as a source of energy to persevere.

Drawing on her life experience as a musician and cultural worker, Jane Sapp will offer the PMN Community a chance to reflect on our work as musicians and cultural workers. She’ll consider some specific questions and ask how our music serves to build community wherever we work:

  • How does an elementary school chorus become a controversy and source of discomfort?
  • How does a middle school singing group upset the administration of a school?
  • How does a college choir and vocal ensemble threaten the school’s trustees?
  • What does it mean to look at the world, your work, a community through the lens of an artist/ cultural worker?
  • How will this impact how you approach your work?
  • Have you created an environment where someone like a Fannie Lou Hamer would feel nourished with an opportunity to grow?

In addition to the above plenary, during the 2017 PMN Summer Gathering, Jane Sapp will perform in the Friday night concert, present two workshops, and give a number of one-on-one mentorship sessions.

Recommended Documentary: Jane Sapp’s community-based cultural development programs have been the subject of an hour-long documentary “Someone Sang for Me” by Julie Akeret (Filmmakers Library 2002) (View the full film here).

Jane Sapp is a cultural worker for social justice whose main tools and approach are music, song and stories. Most recently, she worked as a cultural facilitator with the newly forming foundation, the Southern Partners Fund, and also undertook documentation of activists in the rural south who were grantees of the Bert and Mary Meyer Foundation.

She engages with disenfranchised urban and rural communities in the United States. She is a powerful, highly-regarded performer, song-writer, recording artist, and educator. Her music reflects the blues and gospel sounds of her Georgia youth and is deeply rooted in the spiritual, religious and historical experiences of the African-American world.

She has recorded four albums, and her performances have been featured in concert halls (including Carnegie Hall with Pete Seeger), colleges, and community centers throughout the U.S. and in Sweden, Canada, Senegal, and Mali, West Africa. She was a Senior Fellow at MIT’s Center for Reflective Community Practice. As an educator, Jane Sapp has developed techniques to help the silenced find their voices through the arts. She has lectured and performed extensively at colleges, conferences, and community gatherings.

Jane Sapp has a long history of working with grassroots communities and innovating community programs, events, and cultural centers. She founded and developed the Black Folk Roots Festival in 1975 in Greene County, Alabama, and the festival of Low Country Life, South Carolina in 1972, both of which continue today. In the educational realm, she founded the Green County Community-Based Cultural Education Program and a youth creative and leadership development group in Springfield, Massachusetts (1994-2005). Jane Sapp led further innovations in founding the York W. Bailey Museum at Penn Center on St. Helena’s Island, South Carolina in 1972, which also continues to grow and develop today.

Friday Concert

Camp Kinderland, Paul Robeson Theatre , 1543 Colebrook River Road, Tolland, MA 01034

The People’s Music Network Summer Gathering Friday Night Concert is the opening event for a three day weekend of music for social justice from June 2-4, 2017. This showcase concert takes place in the Paul Robeson Theatre at Camp Kinderland, located in Tolland, MA. The show features 2017 PMN Artist-in-Residence, Jane Sapp, and five other wonderful artists (see below). These performers represent a small slice of the many PMN members who are making music for social change.

The concert is open to the public for a suggested donation of $10-20 at the door. Concert admission is included with registration for the PMN Summer Gathering. Immediately following the concert, at 10:00pm, there will be a Campfire Song Swap at the fireplace (next to Dining Hall) which is open to all gathering participants.


JANE SAPP is a cultural worker for social justice whose main tools and approach are music, song and stories. Most recently, she worked as a cultural facilitator with the newly forming foundation, the Southern Partners Fund, and also undertook documentation of activists in the rural south who were grantees of the Bert and Mary Meyer Foundation. During the 2017 PMN Summer Gathering, in addition to headlining this concert, Jane Sapp will present two workshops and give a plenary session on the role of musicians in social justice movements. She will also give a number of one-on-one mentoring sessions.

Other Performers (in alphabetical order)

TEM BLESSED is a socially conscious Hip-Hop Artist who makes music about social justice, sustainability and climate change. Born in West Africa to Cape Verdean parents, Tem currently resides in Hadley, MA. A “Green For All” fellow and a 350.org Artist in Residence, Tem inspires audiences towards positive change and global responsibility.

D. COLIN writes about spirituality, pan-Africanism, personal experiences and the intersection between race, class and gender. She has performed at venues throughout the United States and in Toronto, London, and Glasgow. She has competed at the National Poetry Slam (2012) and at the Women of the World Poetry Slam (2016). Her first collection of poems, Dreaming in Kreyol,pays homage to her Haitian heritage. In Troy, NY she teaches 8th grade English and hosts a weekly open mic called Poetic Vibe.

VINCENT CROSS is a NYC-based rustic singer-songwriter who exemplifies the folk song tradition. With roots in Ireland and Australia, he draws inspiration from old-time mountain music, British ballads and traditional bluegrass. He also lyrically expresses an observant modern sensibility. He tours extensively in the US, Europe and Australia.

DAVE DERSHAM is an indie-folk, eco-social justice driven songwriter, based in Northampton, MA. He is a member of Constant Clip Records, a national label that produced “Songs for the Gulf,” a fund-raiser responding to the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill.  CCR’s vision: “The writing is what matters….many of us have other pursuits, but the one thing we have in common is song.”

MARCIA TAYLOR of Providence, Rhode Island, fosters music-making on the street, in schools, houses of worship and wherever communities gather.   She considers herself something of a ‘musical midwife’,  supporting authentic expression for all peoples.  Taylor writes and records her own material and nurtures the deep roots of the folks tradition in all its varied forms.

Emcee: ROB PECK is the C.E.A. (Creativity Energizing Agent) of Zestworks – a motivational speaking and training company whose core mission is to make content come alive by linking lessons with laughter. A juggler, singer, and harmonica player who has joined PMN in recent years he feels that the community of kindred spirits at PMN encourages and empowers him in using music and the arts to positively address social change and champion a better world.

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