photo: Susan Saandholland

SCHEDULE: Song Camp Italy 2020

7:30pm - Welcome Dinner
9:00pm - Opening Night Song Circle

9:30am - Community Sing with Ysaÿe M. Barnwell
10:00am - 12:30pm - Song Camp class session: Paul Reisler - Directed Writing 1
1:00pm - Lunch break
2:15pm - 4:15pm - Afternoon Songwriting and Performance classes
4:30pm - 6:00pm - Electives: Instrument instruction, Performance, Music Business topics

9:30am - Community Sing with Ysaÿe M. Barnwell
10:00am - 12:30pm - Song Camp class session: Paul Reisler - Directed Writing 2
1:00pm - Lunch break
2:15pm - 4:15pm - Afternoon Songwriting and Performance classes
4:30pm - 6:00pm - Electives: Instrument instruction, Performance, Music Business topics

9:30am - Noon - Song Camp class session: Paul Reisler - Directed Writing 3
12:30pm - Lunch break
2:00pm - 4:15pm - Listening Sessions & Critiques with Faculty
4:30pm - 5:30pm - Closing Community Sing with Ysaÿe M. Barnwell
8:00pm - Closing Concert
featuring Ysaÿe M. Barnwell of Sweet Honey In The Rock, Paul Reisler, "Chicago" Mike Beck and special guests.

10:00am - Farewell "Arrivederci" Breakfast
1:00pm - Shuttles to Verona Airport & Train Stations

Times, details and instructors are subject to change. The information posted reflects the most up-to-date information currently available.

The Song Camp Italy Experience

Ever wish you could write a song that could change someone’s life, or bring them to tears, or perhaps even change the world?

Songs can do all that. Come to Song Camp Italy to learn and get inspired by some extraordinary teachers and masters of their craft -- Songwriting legend Tom Paxton, celebrated Italian songwriter Gian Piero Alloisio, Dr. Ysaÿe M. Barnwell, formerly of Sweet Honey in the Rock; Paul Reisler, the founder of Trapezoid and Kid Pan Alley; international touring singer-songwriter Chicago Mike Beck.

We’ve selected the San Felice Resort in Illasi as the setting for the inaugural Song Camp Italy for its natural beauty, tranquil harmonious atmosphere and world-class facilities, including a modern fully-equipped conference center, superb restaurants and comfortable affordable lodging options.

San Felice Resort is family-friendly, offering swimming pools, spa services such as massage, jacuzzi and steam room, equestrian stables, horse-drawn carriage rides through the Italian countryside, world-class dining, spectacular hiking and vistas, and a large variety of nearby Italian delights. Learn more about San Felice and the region nearby on our Italy & The Region Nearby page.

Our Mission

The mission of Song Camp Italy is to inspire the creative spark that lies inside each of us and provide you with an unforgettable life experience which includes world-class songwriting instruction with a unique international perspective, performance classes and nuts-and-bolts how-to information to help share your music with the world, all taking place in the beautiful Italian countryside in the vineyard-covered hills just outside of Verona.

Each day, Dr. Barnwell will lead a community sing that will bring us together in a spirit of open-heartedness and courage that will inspire you to discover your most creative self.

While teaching the art of songwriting has not been part of the tradition in Europe, over the past 30 years, that tradition has been fully developed in the USA, ranging from workshops to college curricula. Our teachers are among the leaders of that movement.

The songwriting traditions in the USA are quite different than those found in Italy, and one of the goals of Song Camp Italy is to illuminate the differences as well as shared characteristics of these diverse approaches to the art of song.

Song Camp Italy closes with a starlit concert featuring our faculty and special guests.

Song Camp Italy will galvanize your songwriting, renew your spirit and leave you with an unforgettable once-in-a-lifetime creative international experience you will cherish forever.

Meet the Song Camp Italy Faculty

Songwriting, Performance & Music Career Faculty confirmed for Song Camp Italy 2020 includes:

Tom Paxton

Tom Paxton

Songwriting Master Classes

Tom Paxton’s impact on the musical world and on songwriters in particular can’t be overstated.

Tom's songs have been recorded by Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, John Denver, Peter, Paul and Mary, Judy Collins, Joan Baez, Pete Seeger, Sandy Denny, Doc Watson, Harry Belafonte, The Seekers, Marianne Faithfull, Placido Domingo, The Kingston Trio, the Chad Mitchell Trio, Flatt & Scruggs, The Weavers and countless others.

In describing Tom Paxton’s influence on his fellow musicians, Pete Seeger said: “Tom’s songs have a way of sneaking up on you. You find yourself humming them, whistling them, and singing a verse to a friend. Like the songs of Woody Guthrie, they’re becoming part of America.” Guy Clark adds: “Thirty years ago Tom Paxton taught a generation of traditional folksingers that it was noble to write your own songs, and, like a good guitar, he just gets better with age.” Paxton has been an integral part of the songwriting and folk music community since the Greenwich Village scene of the early ’60s, and continues to be a primary influence on today’s “New Folk” performers. The Chicago native came to New York via Oklahoma, which he considers to be his home state.

Tom is renown not only as an influential songwriter and recording artist, but also as a noteworthy music educator as well as an advocate for folk singers to combine traditional songs with new compositions.

Paxton has been honored with Lifetime Achievement Awards from ASCAP, the BBC, Folk Alliance International and he received the rarely bestowed Lifetime Achievement Grammy™ from the Recording Academy. His recordings have received numerous Grammy™ nominations and he was honored with an official Parliamentary tribute at the House of Commons of the United Kingdom at the start of his 2007 UK tour. The Martin Guitar Company introduced the HD-40LSH Tom Paxton Signature Edition acoustic guitar in his honor in 2004, and in May 2008, Paxton was honored with a special lifetime tribute from the World Folk Music Association.

Tom Paxton has become a voice of his generation, addressing issues of injustice and inhumanity, laying bare the absurdities of modern culture and celebrating the tenderest bonds of family, friends, and community.

Brought to New York courtesy of the US Army, Tom remained there following his discharge. His early success in Greenwich Village coffeehouses, such as The Gaslight and The Bitter End, led to an ever-increasing circle of work. Then in 1965 he made his first tour of the United Kingdom — the beginning of a still-thriving professional relationship that has included at least one tour in each of the succeeding years.

His songs have become modern standards, including "The Last Thing on My Mind", "Bottle of Wine", "Whose Garden Was This", "The Marvelous Toy", and "Ramblin' Boy" and over the past 60 years, Tom has performed thousands of concerts around the world in countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Hong Kong, Scandinavia, France, Italy, Belgium, Holland, England, Scotland, Ireland and Canada.

Tom Paxton’s place in folk music is secured not just by hit records and awards, but by the admiration of three generations of fellow musicians. An internationally recognized and loved cultural figure, he has always chosen goodwill over commercial success. His generosity has taken the shape of a benefit concert performance for a little girl fighting leukemia, or a personal note of encouragement to an up-and-coming songwriter. This is the man who wrote and lives the words, “Peace will come, and let it begin with me.”

We are incredibly proud and privileged to include Tom Paxton among the faculty at our inaugural Song Camp Italy. Do not miss this opportunity to learn the art and craft of songwriting at the feet of one of Folk music’s great living legends.


Gian Piero Alloisio

Songwriting Master Classes

Gian Piero Alloisio’s prolific and extraordinary career has spanned over four decades and multiple artistic forms, including songwriting, theater, television and literary arts. Of the hundreds of songs he has written, a dozen have become evergreens.

He has collaborated with and written songs for numerous luminaries of popular Italian music and theater, including legendary singer-songwriter Francesco Guccini as well as Giorgio Gaber, Claudio Lolli, Tonino Conte, Maurizio Maggiani, Ombretta Colli, Eugenio Finardi, Paolo Graziosi and others. His songs have been recorded by Guccini himself as well as Assemblea Musicale Teatrale (AMT) and other renown Italian recording artists. After writing four albums for AMT, Alloisio released his first solo album in 1981, Dovevo fare del cinema. Since then, his discography has grown to include numerous celebrated albums.

In addition to his expansive songwriting credentials, Alloisio is recognized as a maestro of Italian theater, having written, produced and directed over 60 theatrical productions, including the acclaimed musical comedies Una donna tutta sbagliataAiuto! Sono una donna di successo and Donne in amore.

In 1998, he founded l’Associazione Teatro Italiano del Disagio (ATID) and became its artistic director. For three years, Gian Piero was artistic commissioner of the Carnevale di Viareggio, one of the most renowned carnival celebrations in the world.

In 2012, Gian Piero was honored to perform his composition “Every Life Is Great” in an audience with Pope Benedict XVI which was broadcast nationally on Italian television and also aired internationally on television networks worldwide. Famous Italian singer Gianni Morandi recorded this song for his album Bisogna vivere and included it in his historic live performance at Verona's legendary l'Arena amphitheater.

Gian Piero Alloisio is also the producer and artistic director for Genova per Voi, the first national Italian talent competition for songwriters. The songwriters discovered on Genova per Voi currently dominate the top of Italy's popular music charts.

Alloisio continues to write, compose and produce from his home in Ovada, Italy.

Song Camp Italy is very excited to offer this unique opportunity to learn about the Italian songwriting tradition from one of its masters.
Paul Reisler

Paul Reisler

Songwriting & Guitar

Paul Reisler has written more songs than the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, and Stephen Foster combined—somewhere north of 3,500 compositions. Ok, he has had some serious help from some of his co-writers including a handful of Grammy winning songwriters as well as the over 65,000 children he’s written with in his Kid Pan Alley program. Artists including Amy Grant, Sissy Spacek, Suzy Bogguss, Delbert McClinton, Raul Malo, Cracker, Corey Harris, Nashville Chamber Orchestra, Jesse Winchester and many others have recorded his songs. Paul has been performing professionally for over 45 years as the leader of Trapezoid, Paul Reisler & A Thousand Questions featuring Howard Levy, and Three Good Reasons.

During that time, he’s been involved in over 3 dozen recordings as a musician, producer, composer and songwriter. He’s taught at workshops and songwriting schools including Rocky Mountain Song School, Utah Song School, Swannanoa Gathering, Blue Ridge Songcamp, Augusta Workshop, University of the Pacific, Hollyhock, Berklee College of Music, Folk Alliance, Kerrville, Nashville Songwriters Association, Omega Institute, Moulin a Nef in S. France, Songcamp in the Mountains, Puget Sound Guitar Workshop, and many others.

In addition to all his songs and instrumentals, he wrote the full-length piece Aesop’s Fables for Orchestra and Narrator as well as the script and music for two new musicals--Bouncin’ and The Talented Clementine.

“Reisler's talents are many and his creativity, vast. Not too many people can do what he can do, bring the spirit of music and creating to new generations, opening up one of the most important doors there is.  He is a national treasure." -- Robert Fritz, composer, filmmaker and author of Creating and The Path of Least Resistance

Your words, comments, spirit are fine companions as I walk along and listen for the stories and songs that come from my heart. You have a gift not only for your own art and craft, but also for creating an atmosphere that is safe, nurturing, yet challenging.” -- Michael Cervone, NY

“I have been coming to songwriting camps for some time to gain knowledge, but when I attended Paul Reisler’s classes on ‘Harmony and Chord Substitution’ I received something better than mere knowledge, I received understanding -- where all that accumulated knowledge came together into a useable form. Then I attended his class ‘A Song is a Story is a Song’ and was given something even more significant, and that is wisdom.” -- Cliff Rice, Valparaiso, IN

“The best musical experience I’ve ever had.” -- Eric Eckl, Past President, Songwriters Association of Washington, DC


Dr. Ysaÿe M. Barnwell

Songwriting, Performance & Vocals

Dr. Ysaye M. Barnwell toured with the internationally acclaimed singing group Sweet Honey In The Rock for more than 30 years, appearing on more than 30 recordings.  She has performed everywhere from Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center to concert halls in Africa, Europe and New Guinea. She is a vocalist with a range of over three octaves.  Throughout the years, she has spent much of her time off stage working as an actress, composer and arranger, author, songwriter, master teacher and choral leader. 

For almost thirty years, and on three continents, she has led the workshop “Building a Vocal Community - Singing in the African American Tradition,” which utilizes oral tradition, an African world view and African American history, values, cultural and vocal traditions to build communities of song among singers and non-singers alike. It’s completely astounding to watch her turn a group of people into a gospel choir in a very short time. 

“The magic of finding the pitch amid the many voices, the challenge of remembering the part before the one she’s teaching now, the joy of blending black and white, young and old, talented and mediocre, three piece suits and hippie attire, all this and more makes up the wonder of the Ysaye Barnwell Community Sing. For two blissful hours, I join anywhere from forty to one hundred people in song. It is my church, a place of joy and love and sacred moments, and I come away refreshed, full of light and with an open heart.”

Chicago Mike Beck

"Chicago" Mike Beck

Performance & Music Career

“Chicago” Mike Beck is an ASCAP award-winning songwriter and recording artist who has been touring full-time in the USA and Europe since 2001 as a solo performer and with his band Chicago Mike’s InterGalactic Brother & Sisterhood of Big Eyed Beans. Mike holds a residency several weeks each year at the historic Bright Angel Lodge on the south rim of the Grand Canyon and has toured Europe over 25 times, performing in Switzerland, The Netherlands, Germany, Italy, France, Ireland, Belgium, Greece, Spain, Portugal and Luxembourg.

In December 2015, Mike completed his first tour of Asia, performing shows in Japan and Thailand. He has personally brought over 30 musicians on their first overseas tours and coached hundreds more. His debut CD, released in 2002, has received radio airplay in the USA, Germany, Holland, Denmark, Transylvania, Romania, Macedonia and Japan.

In addition to his performing and recording endeavors, Mike is the founder of Access Film Music, an organization dedicated to helping independent recording artists expose their music to directors, producers and music supervisors working in film, television, videogames and advertising. The 17th annual Access Film Music Showcase will take place during Film Festival Week in Park City, Utah January 27 - February 2, 2020. Access Film Music is also the Official Music Partner of the ÉCU Film Festival in Paris, France each Spring, where Access showcase events have helped further their mission to connect music-makers with filmmakers.

Mike has been on the faculty of the renown Planet Bluegrass Rocky Mountain SongSchool in Lyons, Colorado since 2005 and has been a featured speaker and mentor at numerous music industry events and educational institutions. These include AmericanaFest in Nashville, Tennessee, South-by-Southwest in Austin, Texas, Folk Alliance International, many other songwriting retreats, music conferences and film festivals throughout North America and Europe, as well as UCLA, Berklee College of Music in Boston and Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey. He loves empowering and inspiring musicians to pursue their dreams and enjoys sharing practical ideas, methods and information to help make them real.

'Of the numerous industry conferences I’ve attended, hands down, the top two seminars were both delivered by “Chicago” Mike Beck. Mike is a world-class communicator with a deep well of experience and knowledge in areas of interest to artists who are ready to get serious about the business of music." -- Dick Wells / Singer-Songwriter & Recording Session Singer - Los Angeles CA

"Your class at FAR-West was the best, most useful presentation I attended all weekend. You are great!" -- Ken Krupnik / Singer/Songwriter - Los Angeles CA

Register Now

Enrollment is very limited and will sell-out quickly.
To reserve your spot, register today.