In Harmony’s Way a Capella Singing Session
Amelia Hogan & Deborah Sandler

In Harmony's Way started with a group of Bay Area folk musicians who love to sing chorus songs. It has grown into monthly singing sessions and festival workshops like this one! Come sing chorus songs, drinking songs, gospel songs, sea shanties, camp songs, silly songs, sad songs, or anything else with a chorus or refrain so people can sing along. We won't be teaching, lecturing, or doing anything with much structure, except going in a circle so as many people as possible can take a turn. We're just going to sit around and sing for two glorious hours of harmony, laughter, chorus songs, and good company. You can lead a song, request a song, or just sing along.

Raised in the San Francisco Folk Music Club, with music as a part of her home life, Amelia Hogan has been singing since before she could walk. Her early and continuous exposure to a broad array of folk music has given her a large repertoire of wonderful songs. With her Irish heritage and gift for singing from the heart, she brings her audience into a very personal experience of Irish culture and storytelling.

Deborah has been singing folk songs all her life. She grew up in the Washington, D.C. area, where she heard Appalachian ballads and folk songs, bluegrass, gospel, spirituals, songs from the British Isles, R&B, soul, blues, and folk songs from all over the world. Music was a big part of her family, including singing in the car, watching her mother perform folk music concerts, singing camp songs, listening to classical and jazz music, and playing many musical instruments. Her undergraduate degree is in folklore, which she chose so she could get college credit for singing folk songs. She partially worked her way through law school with singing gigs, and credits her membership in the San Francisco Folk Music Club since 1979 with helping her get through law school and the bar exam. Since good music is not confined to any one genre, her love of singing with other people has expanded into choral music. She has been a member of the Congregation B'nai Tikvah choir since 1990, and is trained as a paracantor, one of several congregants who leads the singing part of the services when the cantor is away. She joined the Cantare Chorale in 2001, an auditioned 100 voice symphonic choir that performs major choral works, often with full orchestra. Deborah has also participated in numerous multi-choir and interfaith choral collaborations and concerts. She is proud that both of her choirs regularly perform arrangements of folk songs, as she considers folk song to be the foundation of all music. When their children were younger, she and her husband (Daniel Hersh, who is one of the leaders of the concertina workshop at this festival) gathered an extensive kids' songs repertoire and put on regular folk music concerts at their kids' elementary school, in response to the almost complete lack of folk and other music in the schools. She loves a good chorus song session, and will attend them whenever she can. When Deborah isn't singing, she runs her family law practice in Walnut Creek. "When people first lift their voices to sing together, and those notes spill out into the room, it is a moment full of magic and promise. The thrill of it never dies. Music touches hearts and brings people together. Come sing with us!"