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Scotland Renaissance Course

Saturday July 27 - Saturday August 3



Argyll House

Scotland Renaissance Course 2019

Escape to the Scotland countryside and immerse yourself in the beauty of Renaissance polyphony from Scotland and England in the comfort of one of Scotland's boutique houses. We are looking for 20 singers to record a CD and perform a program of Renaissance polyphony at the Edinburgh Fringe Music Festival. 


Saturday July 27 - Saturday August 3


To record a CD of Renaissance polyphony from Scotland and England, and to perform at the Edinburgh Fringe Music Festival at St. Giles' Church (Edinburgh). The course will feature music from the Carver Choirbook, Wode Psalter, and the following composers:

  • Robert Carver

  • Andrew Blackhall

  • John Taverner

  • Thomas Tallis

  • William Cornysh

  • John Nesbett


Repertoire will be finalized after the singers have been selected.

Through this concentrated week of rehearsing, recording, and performance, singers will refine the following skills required for professional small ensemble singing:

  • Intonation

  • Singing 'in time'

  • Sight reading

  • One on a part singing

  • Execution

  • Breathing


We are looking for Sopranos, Altos, Tenors, and Basses, five on each part for a total of 20 singers. Experience singing Renaissance polyphony preferred, but not required.


In addition to recording a CD, singers will be encouraged to form groups of various sizes to prepare music for informal performances every evening. 


The Edinburgh Fringe Music Festival is the largest arts festival in the world that takes place annually in Edinburgh, Scotland during the month of August. We will take a day trip to Edinburgh to present an evening concert of Renaissance Polyphony at St Giles' Cathedral as part of the festival on Friday, August 2. 

Old Town Edinburgh

St Giles’ Cathedral, is the historic City Church of Edinburgh. With its famed crown spire it stands on the Royal Mile between Edinburgh Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse. Also known as the High Kirk of Edinburgh, it is the Mother Church of Presbyterianism and contains the Chapel of the Order of the Thistle (Scotland’s chivalric company of knights headed by the Queen).

























Argyll House has been described as “probably the best party house in Scotland.” The dining hall seats 28 in style and comfort, and the rest of the house lends itself ideally to big groups for family celebrations, anniversaries, corporate bonding sessions, or anything else. Argyll House has been thoroughly equipped and nicely furnished throughout, so relax and enjoy the party.  Visit Scotland have made 8 visits to this highly celebrated property, and have ranked it right at the very top of their 4 star ranking for excellence every single time.

Argyll House is as extravagant as a boutique hotel, but at a fraction of the cost and without any of the formality of a hotel. There is also the option of being completely self catering if that suits you, or fully catered if you really want to kick back during your stay. It does not have the grandeur or intimidating historic atmosphere of a castle or a stately home proper, but that makes it a very comfortable place to be at home in, even with nearly 30 people.

A river runs through the grounds just 100 yards behind the main house, and shared facilities include the indoor swimming pool and a tennis court (although both of these can be privatised for certain hours in the day).

Although just an hour and a half from Glasgow, the house sits in some of the loveliest scenery in Scotland. The Kyles of Bute are renowned with both walkers and sailors as among the most stunning bits of coast in Scotland. Whatever the weather in Argyll, usually remarkably mild, this is great country for site seeing, with every corner revealing a new variation on the theme of mountain, loch, valley, sky, woodland, sea, rock, and beach. The Cowal peninsula is a fabulous base for an active holiday with marvellous wildlife, numerous gardens, other tourist attractions to visit, and a variety of sporting activities.


The house has grounds of 23 acres, and sits about a mile above the head of Loch Riddon, enjoying complete privacy and lovely views down the glen to the river Ruel. The Island of Bute itself is as little as 15 minutes away from the house – accessed via a ferry from Colintraive – and was a “must visit” destination long before Stella McCartney got married there or former racing driver Johnnie Dumfries moved into Mount Stuart House as the new Marquess of Bute.

Inverary with its famous Jail and Castle, seat of Clan Campbell for the last few hundred years, is only 45 minutes away, as is Loch Lomond. Dunoon is another tourist destination in its own right, and it is just under half an hour away. You can get to Glen Coe in an hour and a half; to Stirling, Oban or Fort William in under two. Loch Ness and Edinburgh are easy enough day trips – reachable in less than 2 and a half hours.

As well as general site-seeing and trips to the Island of Bute, Inverary and further afield, there are a host of other activities you can undertake around Glenaruel. It’s fabulous walking country and you will be provided with twelve mountain bikes for those who want to explore on two wheels rather than four. There are some really excellent routes direct from the house, involving all sorts of terrain and levels of strain!

There’s a lovely 9 hole pay and play course ten minutes away above Tighnabruaich. There are five bags of golf clubs for the house and they probably won’t be too fussed about the usual rules regarding golf shoes provided you don’t arrive in jeans and carve the course up. The same applies to the almost equally spectacular nine hole course at Blairmore & Strone, half an hour away. Cowal Golf Club at Dunoon and Inellan are the 18 hole courses in the area that welcome visitors.

Listen to a piece from the CD featuring the Byrd International Singers in 2018!

Fee: £850

NEW Application deadline:

February 15, 2019

Due to the number of applicants, we are pushing up our deadline (originally February 28).

If selected, 50% is due upon acceptance to confirm your spot, and the remainder by July 1. If you would like to make different payment arrangements, please contact Markdavin at

We also have limited visitor spots, for spouses/friends of participants that want to attend without the singing experience. Visitor fee: £600. (Visitors will also be required to share a room.)


  • Accommodations for 7 nights

  • Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

  • Singing course

  • Day trip to Edinburgh to perform at the Edinburgh Fringe Music Festival

  • A produced CD of the course music
























MARKDAVIN OBENZA is the director of Seattle-based Byrd Ensemble, founder of chamber choir Vox16, and Producer for Scribe Records, an independent record label. He is an active freelance singer who performs with the Byrd Ensemble and has performed with the Tudor Choir, Early Music Vancouver and members of the Tallis Scholars. He is the Director of Choral Music at Trinity Parish Church in Seattle, WA. 

Credit: Angela Sterling Photography

Doug Fullington is founder and director of the Tudor Choir, based in Seattle, Washington. As a countertenor, he has performed with the Tallis Scholars as well as the Tudor Choir, Byrd Ensemble, and Cappella Romana. Trained as a musicologist, Doug is also a dance historian, with a focus on 19th-century French and Russian ballet.

DAILY SCHEDULE (subject to change)

9:00 am -​ Continental Breakfast

10am - Rehearsal

1pm - Lunch

2pm - Break and Small Groups

4:30pm - Rehearsal/Recording Session

7:00pm - Dinner

8:30pm - Small Group Sharing

9:30pm - BAR



  • Heated Pool

  • Sauna

  • Hot Tub

  • Full-size billiard room

  • Internet

  • Tennis Court

  • Table Tennis

  • Table Football

Ormidale House
By Glendaruel
PA22 3AF



From Glasgow Airport:

Take the train to Gourock Ferry Terminal, then take the Ferry to Dunoon, then take a bus to the stop right outside Ormidale House.

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