On being a Retreat Leader:

Donna has helped to give, and/or lead, several different kinds of retreats:

  • Organizational and board development retreats
  • Music-based prayer retreats (for general public, not musicians)
  • Corporate retreat days and youth retreats
  • Workshop/technique/rehearsal and prayer retreats for specific choirs, orchestras, groups
  • Cross-cultural peace-building retreats for international organizations or refugee groups
  • Workshop weekends or Retreats for musicians of all cultures, countries, instruments, voices, musical styles/genres, to come together, share their gifts and struggles, create new pieces together, have coaching sessions, and most importantly, reflect on the important role of a musician in each community and the power and responsibility that comes with their gifts.


Donna’s thoughts on retreats:

“It’s hard for ANY of us to be convinced that it will be worthwhile to take time out of our busy schedules, whether it’s for one day or a weekend or a week…….so helping people be able to participate is sometimes half the challenge. But the mutual understanding that grows between the participants on a retreat can in itself be a tremendous catalyst for change, impacting the community and the individuals, and leading to all sorts of new ideas, programs, and future dreams that didn’t exist before the retreat.

The opportunity for reflection and silence amidst the noise and music of our lives is also very necessary and very powerful. I am learning, more and more, that silence, peace, and listening are three (“co-dependent,” but nevertheless very different) experiences that our human nature is wired to need. I have also found that specifically chosen music can help bring about those experiences, as the music itself is a very potent catalyst for growth or healing on all four “equally-sized pieces of our human pies”, as I recently heard it explained – Physical, Intellectual, Emotional and Spiritual.

I am hoping that through retreats for musicians, composers can be inspired to create music and lyrics that nourish the lives of their listeners, and performers can be rejuvenated in spirit so that they can share their gifts from a heart of service and not just out of habit, routine, or hope for (eventual?) material gain.

For me, and for several other classical musicians that I know, we have perhaps an impossible dream: if all of the members of one orchestra or choir participated in a retreat together and developed a mutual ideal and motivation for their musical work – if they performed not just from love for the music or respect for the conductor but also because they believed so totally in the power of their music to deeply inspire and change the lives of those listening– what would the experience of performing within that group then feel like for the musicians, and what would the experience of that performance be for the listeners?

All of these possibilities make it very worthwhile, from a catalyst’s perspective, to attend a retreat! “

To ask for Donna’s guidance or participation in giving a music-based retreat for any type of group or topic, contact her now.