Profile Type: Creative Business
Creative Business

The CelloChanWoods Retreat is presently the only retreat of it's kind. Now in it's tenth year, the retreat has a successful track record, creating a learning ​environment conducive to artistic and personal growth. Playing the cello involves the totality of the person playing.  Participants clarify and deepen their personal visions of what it means to be an artist, cellist, and creative person.  Tension in playing is specifically addressed.  Commonground, in Starksboro VT., is an inspiring setting where participants spend seven days exploring and resolving cellistic issues ranging from physical tension and technical problems to emotional and artistic blocks. They receive one-on-one mentoring from staff and private lessons daily.  To play the cello well a centered mind and relaxed body that work together is essential.

Modeled in part after a Zen Retreat, participants receive tools over the course of this intensive week that lead to surprising growth. The morning talks given by Suzanne Smith, followed by beginning meditation and a period of silence in the morning, set the tone for the days work at the cello  The calm achieved in the morning gives cellists a chance to practice at a higher level apart from normal mental chatter. Concentration being heightened, creative ideas can more easily emerge. The support of a close knit community and the staff contributes greatly to a student's willingness to open up and try new things.

The afternoon is filled with chamber music rehearsals, supervised practivce, improvisation, and outside activities.  These activities include walks, swimming, games, and more. This contrast between free wheeling fun and concentrated work at CCW is balanced in a such a way to teach students to be fully present in different settings.  Suzanne is available throughout the day for interviews and private lessons. We welcome you to join us on a special musical adventure in a magnificent setting.

I Have Worked With

  • September 2016

    Vice President of Across Roads Center For The Arts in Waterbury, VT.

  • June 2006

    Master Sheng Yen was a well known Chinese Zen Master who died in 2009.  He was my mentor from 1995 until his death. 


  • Creative Business

Contact Information

First Name: 
Job Title/Position: 
Mailing Address: 
449 Moretown Common Rd.
Moretown, VT 05660
Physical Address: 
449 Moretown Common Rd.
Moretown, VT 05660
Last Name: 
802 496 5273


Profile Type: 
Creative Business
Primary Discipline: 
Music - Chamber
Additional Disciplines: 
Music - General
Music - Chamber
Music - Children's
Music - New
Music - Orchestral
Music - Solo / Recital
Music - Traditional
Theater - Improv
Year Founded: 
Populations Served: 
General Public
LGBTQ Populations
School Groups
Institution/Business Type: 
Arts Camps / Institutes
Activities and Services: 
Arts for Social Change / Creative Activism
Arts Instruction / Lessons
Community Arts
Performance / Concert / Reading
Professional Development / Training
Workshops / Demonstrations / Master Class
Events Per Year: 
Seasons Active: 
Geographic Reach: 
Multi-County Region
Multi-State Region