International Singing and Songwriting Retreat

with Pete Churchill and Paola Vera

August 18 – August 23 2019


Open to all singers songwriters from those just starting out to seasoned pros seeking rejuvenation Pete Churchill and Paola Vera will be coaching on the SolHenge International Singing and Songwriting Retreat at the idyllic SolHenge Holistic Healing retreat centre in the South West of France.


During this exclusive retreat here are some of the things on offer….

  • We will look at exploring different aspects of the creative process, different ways of how to go about writing lyrics, melodies, chords…
  • How to accompany ourselves, how to use simple arranging techniques
  • Discover how to make our ideas legible for other musicians to play them, and how to craft a sound…
  • Explore the vocal possibilities open to us to best showcase our work with vocal technique specific sessions…
  • Be given co-writing opportunities with a suggested ‘jumping off point’ for the days work – designed to give each person the opportunity to explore new approaches to their writing process.
  • Each evening after the group meal, we will return to the Listening Circle to share what showed up and took shape during the day and consider constructive feedback on how to potentially develop the work further – with a focus on ‘tools not rules’, encouragement to stretch beyond the familiar, and ways to move from self- expression to effective communication.
  • Recording facilities will also be available onsite
  • Evening jam sessions and opportunities to perform in front of others

And of course plenty of space provided for encouraged breaks, walks, naps, meals and more…whatever is necessary to stay freshly engaged with the joy of the creative process.


Professor of Jazz Composition Royal Academy of Music

Pete Churchill has been working as a composer, pianist, singer and teacher for over two decades. Originally trained in Canada he has been based in England since 1985. After almost twenty years teaching at the Guildhall School of Music, Pete is now Professor of Jazz Composition at the Royal Academy of Music in London as well as Head of Jazz Voice at the Royal Conservatoire in Brussels.

          As an educator and choral director, Pete is very much in demand abroad – teaching regularly in Europe, Australia and the Far East (Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore).

          Nearer to home Pete is recognised as being at the forefront of Jazz education in the U.K. – receiving the Parliamentary Award for Services to Jazz Education in 2007 and nominated once again in 2012. He has also established a national reputation for his work with Primary schools choirs all over the country.

           Much of Pete’s time now is taken up with directing his own choir ‘The London Vocal Project’ working with Bobby McFerrin, Kenny Wheeler and Norma Winstone MBE – including a recent landmark recording of Kenny’s poetry settings, ‘Mirrors’. Their latest collaboration was with the legendary Jon Hendricks, giving the premiere performance of his lyricisation of the Miles Davis/Gil Evans masterpiece “Miles Ahead’ in New York.

          Pete is renowned as a world class accompanist, working for fifteen years with the great Mark Murphy and, more recently, Sheila Jordan. As a singer, Pete was also a member of both Kenny Wheeler’s and Abdullah Ibrahim’s Vocal projects whilst working for many years as the conductor of the Kenny Wheeler Big Band, culminating in the 80th birthday tour and the subsequent album, ‘The Long Waiting’.


Professor of Pop and Jazz Voice, Bordeaux Conservatoire

Vocal Coach/Voice & Singing Teacher, Singer-pianist

BMus (Hons), Mmus (RAM) , Estill CFP (EVT in training)

​Professional pianist, composer, arranger as well as accomplished singer, Paola has a broad base of experience and works in a variety of situations as a performer and educator. She is an experienced teacher and vocal coach, currently working with a number of institutions in France and the UK. She speaks English, French and Spanish and is passionate about helping people maximize their vocal potential in a safe and fun way. She regularly runs popular workshops in voice, songwriting, performance and improvisation.

Having worked on a variety of different songwriting projects in different educational and professional contexts she is well placed to help you advance your songwriting goals. As a vocal technique specialist (she is currently completing her training as one of the only Estill Master Teachers in France) Paola will also be on hand to help you improve your vocal performances with individually tailored advice.

The retreat will primarily be held in English although we are also fluent in French and Spanish!


– 3 meals a day with home -grown or locally sourced food, alfresco style dining, catering available for Vegetarians if requested.

– Snacks/drinks throughout the day

– Shared single bed accommodations

– Keyboards and sound system available

– Access to student kitchen

– Access to swimming pool

-Use of two towels per person

-Optional use of reduced rate retreat car for local trips

-Optional reduced rate transfer from Bordeaux and Bergerac airports

-Optional reduced rate B and B either side of retreat (17th Aug/ 23rd Aug)

-Optional Vineyard tour and supper on the last night of the retreat

-Optional excursions to local chateaux or St Emilion (subject to availability)

Places are limited. Book early to avoid disappointment!

For more information and to reserve your place please contact Paola directly at