Retreat Teachers and Topics
These are the confirmed teachers for the Summer 2023 Retreat!!
Robin Jackson (he/him)
Retreat Director and Facilitator
An award-winning songwriter, teacher, activist, and spirited impresario, Jackson has dedicated himself to creating connection through art and music. He is the founder of the Songwriter Soiree, Director of Joy Now youth program, and performs and records internationally as a musician. In addition to directing the retreat, Robin will be leading a workshop on vocal improv and jamming! “A captivating song-crafter, a true storyteller.” – NPR.
Hannah Sophia (they/them)
Teaching Artist-Singing and Songwriting Instructor
If you’re wondering what a Teaching Artist is, you need to look no further than the name. I am both a teacher and an artist and my work is deeply rooted both in the arts and education.
I live where pedagogy and artistry meet and I use my work as an artist to inform my teaching and vice versa.
In the eight years since I started my studio I have successfully crowd funded, recorded and released 5 EP’s. Posted over 50 (and counting) original songs on Patreon and finished a first draft of an autobiographical musical, all while transforming the lives of hundreds of students through the power of music.
My career has been a gift, and like all of my creative pursuits, I want to make everything I’ve learned as accessible as possible. I’m passionate about creating and holding space for others to tell their stories and find healing, as they connect to their hearts, through music.
Jay Hogan (he/him)
Music and Singing Instructor
Jay was raised on musical theater and began teaching piano in 1972. In college, his love of words led him to major in Historical and Applied Linguistics. As a songwriter, he is drawn to challenging subjects, setting them in a range of musical styles.
He has been involved with the Oregon Country Fair for 40 years as a performer, spoken word presenter, and a dozen years as an entertainment coordinator. His ongoing project there is the Piano Parlor- a grand piano waiting for you to offer a song or lead us in a singalong.
Jay delights in fostering musicianship among us, through piano technique, voice and other instruments, as well as music theory. He is keen on both the big picture and the details of our creative journeys as musicians, poets and performers.
Jennifer Perrine (any/all)
Poetry and Songwriting Instructor
Jennifer (JP) Perrine is the author of four books of poetry: Again, The Body Is No
Machine, In the Human Zoo, and No Confession, No Mass. Their poems, stories, and
essays have been described as “muscular,” “hard-working,” “disciplined,” “grimly witty,”
“scientific,” “ecstatic,” “sensuous,” “mythic,” and “full of surprises.” A 2022 Oregon
Humanities Community Storytelling Fellow and a 2022-23 Independent Publishing
Resource Center Artist-in-Residence, Perrine lives in Portland, Oregon, where they
cohost the Incite: Queer Writers Read series, teach writing and gender studies, and serve
as a wilderness guide. Their writing classes—which range from Surrealist writing games
to poetic constraints to nature writing–foster play, experimentation, and creativity. In all
their classes, their goal is to help us build relationships with our inner wisdom, with each
other, and with the more-than-human world.
Jonathan Brinkley (he/him)
Music and Songwriting Instructor
Jonathan Brinkley is a beloved singer, songwriter, and music teacher in Portland, Oregon and around the world. Called “deeply moving” and “emotionally intelligent” by fans, he is known for a unique honesty and musicality that combine to take listeners on their own inner journey. A two-year commitment to writing a song every week has challenged and changed his own creative landscape and developed powerful tools in the process. Now, after three studio albums and many extended tours, he brings these tools to playful yet compelling workshops. His greatest hope is to inspire others to use their own gifts to change their lives.
Jason “Krivo” Flores (he/him)
Jason “Krivo” Flores, has been a professional musician for over 25 years and is known for playing upright bass with Taarka, Vagabond Opera, and Climbing Poetree, and has recorded or performed with many well-known artists including Steve Kimock (Grateful Dead), Vince Herman (Leftover Salmon), Hunter Paye, The Everyone Orchestra, and more. He studied Jazz Improvisation and composition at the University of New Mexico and has a degree in Philosophy from Portland State. Krivo has taught musical collaboration at Culture Jam, a non-profit arts and social-justice-based self-empowerment summer camp for teens, since 2016. He has also taught the philosophy of language and presented workshops on healthy relating, consensual non-monogamy, and mental health. He also plays the Mexican guitarron, mandolin, mandola, and cajon. He currently plays bass, mandolin, and mandola in the group DeMarcus and the Deep End.
In addition to performing Jason also builds and designs his artisan pickups for bass and guitar. Check them out at www.krivopickups.com
Lesley Kernochan (she/her)
Music and Songwriting Instructor
At nine years old I had two distinct experiences of listening to musicians (Paul Simon & Ella Fitzgerald) and suddenly realizing the BLISS that music brought to my entire being. I stopped my ecstatic dancing for a moment and prayerfully, humbly dedicated my life to somehow being a part of creating this magic. This early beloved calling has led to an incredibly enriching, eclectic, and unpredictable path as a singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist (voice, sax, guitar, piano, uke, saw), and music therapist. I fell in love with saxophone at twelve, got a B.A. in Music Composition at Lewis & Clark College, studied opera for three years then went folky, toured the world with bands (M4th, Vagabond Opera, Lesley Kernochan Band), signed with a label in Germany, and am currently preparing to release my 7th original studio album. Songwriting has been my best friend, medicinal balm, lover, therapist, and wise teacher for most of my life and I absolutely love sharing this joy with others!
Lewis Childs (he/him)
Lewis Childs is a songwriter, performer, educator and recording engineer based in Portland, Oregon. Born in Los Angeles, California he started playing electric guitar at the age of 13 and studied musical theater at Cuesta College, and vocal performance at the U of O school of Music. He has performed all over the world and has taught workshops at educational institutions throughout the Pacific Northwest. His artistic collaborations include harmonica virtuoso Joe Powers, Márcio daLari (Brazilian Master of Percussion), Maggie Wheeler (actress and singer known for her work on the popular T.V. show “Friends”), Galen Clark (Trio Subtonic) and Robin Jackson (Singer-Songwriter and musician). You can often find him working at, Groundswell Studios, where he works to produce emerging artists and foster the next generation of talent by offering music instruction for kids and adults.
Matt Meighan (he/him)
Matt Meighan co-founded and directs the Hidden River Songwriting Camp and hosts an annual songwriting retreat in Donegal, Ireland. He has taught Songwriting as Truth-Telling classes in Portland since 2009. Matt’s teaching encourages songwriters to express their own truth in their own authentic musical voice. He studied poetry at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics in Boulder, Colorado, where he earned an MFA in writing and poetics. Matt performs in Portland and around the Pacific Northwest and is currently recording his third album.
Nick Harris (he/him)
Drummer. Musician. Entrepreneur. Yoga. Inspirational Speaker. Dream Chaser! = Spreader of MUSIC, LOVE & POSITIVITY! P.O.P.
Yoga has been the element of life that allows Nick to harness a multitude of robust experiences into a practice based in gratitude, presence and energetic flow. Through disciplined self-reflection and powerful daily self-improvement practices, Nick will arrive to class equally humbled and excited to share the yoga experience with you.
Nick can be found instructing Yoga classes in Portland, OR, and is currently accepting private & semi-private yoga clients.
Sara Tone has been teaching and performing music in the Portland area since 2005. She is a graduate of the The Evergreen State College and has taught a variety of classes to both kids and adults including Intro to West African Drumming and Community and Performance Choirs. Sara’s strengths are songs rooted in heartfelt messages about life and social justice. She is a consummate song crafter and expert of West African Drumming. She will be offering workshops on drumming as accompaniment, jamming and voice. Sara’s intention as a teacher is to help build strong foundations in rhythm, voice, hearing and feeling music through awareness, technique, and JOY!!!
Find out more at saratone.org
Violet Bell: Lizzy Ross (she/her)
Songwriting and Singing Instructor
Lizzy Ross is a singer-songwriter, visual artist, and co-founder of the original Americana group Violet Bell. Lizzy spent her childhood drawing and paddling through the marshes of the Chesapeake. Life brought her south to NC, where she stumbled upon mountain folk who gathered over Sunday potlucks to sing together. Her solitary musical experiments grew community roots, and she started performing her original music in a band under her own name.
Eleven years and seven albums later, Lizzy’s still humming and rhyming. She’s a dirt-loving lazy gardener who’s deeply curious about both literal and emotional composting. Lizzy’s art and music explore human connections to the mystical and natural world, healing intergenerational trauma, and the myths and archetypes that frame our past and hold the vision for our collective future.
Violet Bell: Omar Ruiz-Lopez (he/him)
Songwriting and Singing Instructor
Omar Ruiz-Lopez is a bilingual songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and co-founder of the original Americana group Violet Bell. Omar was born in Panama and raised in Puerto Rico with Spanish as his first language. His love of music began at an early age thanks to his father’s frequent renditions of traditional Caribbean folk songs. Omar is a composer at heart, and is experienced in music performance, production and engineering. The diversity of his own experience as a multi-genre musician and Latine immigrant helps him connect with diverse international audiences.
When not playing the fiddle or swinging a guitar around, he enjoys cooking, dog-petting and reading fantasy and fiction when life gets too heavy. If you see him talking to himself, don’t worry; he’s just working it out!