MacPhail Music for Life™ Singing Retreat on Madeline Island

Our 5-day singing retreat on Madeline Island offers the opportunity to explore your own instrument – your voice – in a serene and uplifting environment.  Enjoy the escape to a slower pace of life on Madeline Island while focusing on your vocal development in a supportive setting with encouragement from professional teaching artists and peers. 

What participants say…

“I learned I could be more brave about solo singing and that wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t participate.” Marijo

“I can’t believe what you can accomplish SO FAST, it’s amazing! A lot of beauty in the community.” Janet

“I had such a good time!  What I’m really amazed at is just the human opening of everybody here.” Chris

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About the Retreat

Throughout this retreat, you can attend sessions focusing on individual vocal pedagogy, singing in small ensembles, and large group singing. Prepare and bring a solo if you would like to workshop your song during the vocal masterclass sessions. Music is provided for group numbers.

This retreat is designed for those with previous performance experience singing as a solo artist or as a member of an ensemble. No problem if it’s been a while.

Financial aid is available.

Elaine sitting on a path on Madeline Island
Group photo with silly faces
Madeline Island singing retreat group rehearsal in the performance space.
Two singers rehearsing with a piano accompanist. Forest in the distant background.


Email MacPhail Music for Life™ Manager Kristyn Rupp at [email protected] or take a look at some frequently asked questions, below.


Music & Meditation

Start your day with gentle stretching, breathing, and vocal exercises to awaken and rejuvenate your body, mind, and spirit.

Vocal Masterclass

Focusing on solo repertoire, you will have the opportunity to receive feedback from the teaching artists and learn from fellow students in a supportive, non-threatening environment.  Be prepared for laughter and fun as we push the envelope, exploring singing and vocal delivery, preparation, and emotional interpretation to deliver a memorable performance that will convey the meaning of the music through integrated performance practice.

“I’m glad I tried.  I want to do it again, be a little more brave the next time.”  Margo

Ensemble Singing

Under the direction of the teaching artists, you will join together to explore ensemble singing.  Employing a skillset different from solo singing, we will delve into ensemble elements – listening, blending, and working together.  Experience the joy of making music together and being part of a musical community. 

“Supportive.Community. Fun” – Judie

Private Coaching Sessions

You are cordially invited to sign up for one 20-minute private coaching session with one teaching artist throughout the week.  Sessions will be available during the independent practice times allocated in the daily schedule.

Beyond the Music

New this year, we have built-in opportunities to take advantage of the unique setting of Madeline Island!  A boat cruise to explore the Apostle Islands, a bus tour around Madeline Island, and an end-of-week dinner overlooking the lake. You will have many chances to partake in the natural beauty and serenity of the setting.  Take advantage of this time to refresh your soul and connect with nature.  This social time also allows for camaraderie with new friends and teaching artists in an informal social setting.

“ (An) absolutely delicious social and environmental opportunity for all of us.” Jerry


For our culminating event, we will present a program of solo and ensemble works in an informal presentation to a live audience, sharing the work that we’ve done during the retreat.  


Monday, August 5

3:00 – 5:30 PMCheck-In
5:30 – 7:00Dinner
7:00 – 9:00Welcome Concert

Tuesday, August 6

8:00 – 9:00 AMBreakfast
9:00 – 9:30Music and Meditation
9:30 – 10:30Vocal Masterclass – Part 1
10:30 – 12:00 PMGroup Numbers
12:00 – 1:00Lunch
1:00 – 2:30Vocal Masterclass – Part 2
2:30 – 6:00Bus Tour (begins at 3pm)
6:00 – 7:30Dinner

Wednesday, August 7

8:00 – 9:00 AMBreakfast
9:00 – 9:30Music and Meditation
9:30 – 10:30Vocal Masterclass – Part 1
10:30 – 11:30Group Numbers
11:30 – 12:30 PMPrivate Practice and Coaching
12:30 – 1:30Lunch (hot lunch)
1:30 – 2:30Vocal Masterclass – Part 2
2:30 – 3:30Group Numbers
3:30 – 8:00Apostle Islands Cruise (bag dinner) Cruise starts at 4:30 in Bayfield.

Thursday, August 8

8:00 – 9:00 AMBreakfast
9:00 – 9:30Music and Meditation
9:30 – 10:30Vocal Masterclass – Part 1
10:30 – 12:00 PMGroup Numbers
12:00 – 1:00Lunch
1:00 – 2:00Private Practice and Coaching
2:00 – 3:00Vocal Masterclass – Part 2
3:00 – 4:00Group Numbers
4:00 – 5:30Private Practice and Coaching
5:30 – 7:30Dinner at the Pub

Friday, August 9

8:00 – 9:00 AMBreakfast
9:00 – 9:30Music and Meditation
9:30 – 10:30Dress Rehearsal
10:30 – 12:00 PMFinal Presentation
12:00 – 12:30 Lunch (to go)


The retreat will take place August 5 – 9, 2024.

Boarding is available in the MacPhail on Madeline Island lodges.  These buildings feature screened porches, lounges, and kitchenettes.  Dorm rooms are shared between two students (limited private rooms available for an additional fee) and are equipped with shelving, wardrobes, and air conditioning.  Lodges feature two levels – the second floor is accessible by stairway only, so please note any mobility limitations upon registration.  Communal bathrooms on each floor have shared sinks outside the restroom area and a walk-in shower, sink, and toilet in a separate room secured with a door.

Please note that there are three separate locations for activities. 

Dorms & practice rooms/small ensemble spaces are grouped in one location. The dining hall and performance space are in separate locations.  Transportation is required between the various sites. They are not within walking distance of one another.  A basic shuttle service will be provided for those who do not drive.

All Inclusive (includes instruction, excursions, food & housing – NOT TRANSPORTATION)= $1,500 (* Early bird discount of $75 off)

Commuter Rate (instruction & final celebration dinner) = $1,000 (* Early bird discount of $50 off)

Companion Rate (includes excursions, food & housing) = $1,050 (* Early bird discount of $50 off)

Private dorm room (limited spots available) = additional fee of $200

Participants are responsible for their transportation to & from the institute (including the fee for the ferry).  A transportation package will be available for purchase for those who prefer or are unable to drive.  (Check back for details.)

*Early Bird Discount if registered by April 1. 

FINANCIAL AID AVAILABLE: Click here for more information.

Early Bird Discount if registered by April 1.  Final registration deadline: May 1.

A 100% refund will be issued if a written (or email) cancellation notice is sent (and acknowledged) before May 1, 2024. 

Refunds will not be issued after the May 1, 2024 registration deadline.


Joey Clark

Joey Clark is a musical theater and cabaret performer, director and teaching artist. He is a member of the Twin Cities Cabaret Artists Network (TCCAN). For 8 years Joey served as Department Chair for Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists’ (SPCPA) musical theatre program. He teaches a variety of classes and leads choruses at senior residences with MacPhail’s Music For Life Program and creates inter-generational theater experiences.

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Headshot of Andrea Leap

Andrea Leap

Andrea Leap has been teaching voice at MacPhail since 2005. Instructing musically advanced high school students and adults, she brings 20 years experience to Group, Individual Instruction, and MacPhail Music for Life™. Tailoring instruction to meet the individual’s goals, Andrea teaches anatomically based, sustainable vocal technique that works in any repertoire.

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Jerry resting chin on hand

Jerry Rubino

Jerry Rubino is the music director of Voices of Experience and serves on the MacPhail faculty in the voice and piano departments.  He holds degrees in piano, voice, music education and conducting from Temple University and the University of Minnesota, and has taught at Northwestern, Augsburg and Carleton Colleges.  A native of Philadelphia, he attended Curtis Institute as a cellist.  He currently serves as Minister of Music at Spirit of Hope United Methodist Church in Golden Valley, Minnesota and is a staff conductor and professional singer with the Minnesota Chorale. 

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