All over the earth, since ancient times, people have gathered together through song. Coming together in this way reminds us of our essential connections with each other and with the larger forces that sustain us. There is a magic we experience in the layering of voices, a mysterious activation that is felt in the body and in the soul. At Cascadia Song Rise, we seek to create a space of beloved harmony in our multiplicity of voices—both in our song circles and in our connections with each other—in this gathering and beyond.

We see this gathering as a time for conscious culture creation; a time for people to come alive, to sink in with each other, to cherish the sound of humans tuning in together. Cascadia Song Rise is a moment to experiment with community, and learn another step on the lifelong teaching of that path. Come join us! We’ll settle in for a few days together this spring in the rolling hills and forest.


Cascadia Song Rise is aimed primarily at sharing music with multiple vocal lines, sung a capella (without instruments) or with instruments in supporting rather than central roles.  The music is participatory, not performance-oriented.

Amplified or electric music will not be present.  Acoustic instruments are welcome if played at levels that support rather than overpower human voices.  While there may be informal music jams with instruments, mainly we will be focusing on singing.

Songs will be primarily taught through oral tradition; sheet music is rare.

Singers at any level of experience are invited, including no experience at all!  We expect to create a supportive space regardless of proficiency or self-confidence.  As one of our influences, the Ubuntu Choirs Network, says, “In close proximity to stronger voices, a novice voice naturally grows in strength and beauty.”


We ask participants to take responsibility for your part in the whole, whether that’s by keeping your voice to a whisper level near tents with sleeping campers, being kind to someone who’s upset, showing up on time to your service commitments, or countless other behaviors that honor collective well-being.

We are committed to creating an environment that is respectful toward all participants, regardless of status level (e.g., song leader vs. participants), age (kid or elders), ethnic heritage, sex or gender identity, spiritual or religious path, song lineage, or any of the other myriad factors that unify and distinguish us.  We expect to have a response/support team available to assist in the event of any problems or conflicts.

Regarding cultural appropriation as it relates to song sharing

As part of the reckoning that song carriers have been doing with the legacy of oppression, we suggest the following:

  • If you are leading a song you didn’t write yourself, learn the author/origin of that song and share that aloud with the song to give proper credit.
  • If you are leading a song from a cultural lineage that is not your own ancestral heritage, learn the context of that music, be aware of the story and any responsibilities that may come with it.  (Some songs are only supposed to be shared in very specific settings; it is not honorable to pull those songs out from their roots to share in ways their creators would not be ok with.)
  • Be clear on why you are singing the song, as well as why it was written.
  • Honor and respect the music as is, don’t change it.
  • If you regularly lead songs from a culture not your own, actively seek ways to give back to the people who gifted that music to the world; be in reciprocal relationship with that community.
  • Recognize that positive intentions, while good, are insufficient to avoid being an agent of harm.  For those who suffer them, impacts linked to a long history of injustice and systemic abuse are especially painful and problematic.  We have a long, long way to go to unlearn those patterns and find healing in the greater whole.  When stuff comes up, it’s important to honor each other’s experience.
  • We offer these guidelines as our best thinking (based on others’ best thinking) so far on this theme which is important and fraught.  That said, these are not a set of rules or promises from the organizers; we recognize there are many perspectives on how to deal with these situations and we are all learning and growing together over time.  If you have feelings or are impacted by how a person is sharing a song, we encourage you to speak up with curiosity, care, and respect.

We believe in listening well to each other even when we disagree.  Mistakes and upsets happen, we aim to learn and grow from them.

According to the Law of Two Feet from Open Space, everyone is welcome to come and go from song circles and other sessions as they feel moved.  It’s fine to sample different offerings, you are not obligated to stay at any particular session. 

We are so looking forward to joining in song and creating community together!  Thank you for participating.  We hope this event will lead to lasting connections beyond the weekend.