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Guest Comments 2015 

Another wonderful visit to this amazing treasure! Always good to slow down to hear the birds sing, take in the beauty  God has created, learn new music and revisit old treasures.


This way my first visit in the spring – some cold days. My parents were able to visit for a few days. We explored more of the region.


Thank you again for making this retreat available to church musicians. I look forward to more return visits in the future. Peace,


Jim Riggs, Shaker Hts, OH


Thank you so much to those people who make this place possible. It s such a peaceful setting for practicing and studying music. The library was a big resource. This year I found myself reading a chapter on English Keyboard/Dance Forms, a book on Bach interpretation, and the Harvard Anthology of Music (that has a Pavane and Galliard if you look carefully). Exploring is such a fun way to discover and learn, and being here for a week helps provide the time for that.


I found my favorite locales in the park, and this year I realized how much work the CCC did:  all those stone walls, the bridge, the stone picnic tables. There is such a feeling of authenticity, of charm and harmony that helps make the park an amazing place to visit.


This year I made friends with the cat, and I also met two gigantic (but friendly) dogs. I tried my hand at grilling on Sunday evening. Takes patience in the wind, but the ribs were great. I discovered the grocery store in Nunda, but I still love visiting Redlinski Meats on the way in from Buffalo. Practice well, eat well!


Two pieces of advice – have a well-rounded approach to practicing. You have time to sing, study, isolate pedals and hands separately, sight read, and definitely take a break when tired. Also, be careful opening the chapel windows.


J. Janossy, Lincolnwood, IL (next to Chicago)


A great week in Portageville. Cameron and I enjoyed hiking every day from the Parade Ground (Letchworth), grilling out, the side garden, the cat, the sound of more birds than we hear in Washington, and the quiet and dark of night. Not to mention side trips to Genesee Abbey (chapel redone, even a Slovenian tracker!), the Glen Iris Inn for dinner, and a trek to Ithaca for Moosewood (too far!)


There is such a difference in practicing more challenging pieces that you really want to learn (as opposed to what one needs to know for a Sunday). Progress is slow and very gratifying – an important part of life that shouldn’t be neglected. Cameron, my wife, enjoyed the time to read for the coming school year, and we both did some planning.


Thank you for providing such a beautiful spot to refresh and reflect.


M. Salmon and C. Soulis, Washington, DC


My third year back! I’ve looked forward to this week since February when I booked it with Helen in the dead of a very cold NJ winter. It was a difficult school year for me so I have been counting the weeks for months!


This year I will be giving a major recital in October (90 days from today 7/7) so much of my work was devoted to getting the  ecital ready. (It almost is).


I also tried to relax more this year – I brought my bicycle which I had repaired in the spring. I went biking a lot in the evenings – the weather was very cool – so it was nice. The hills were murder at first – but I started “training” before I got here – so it wasn’t too bad. Made it up several hills without stopping. I also did a major hike to the falls on Sunday. The day was perfect. I felt so renewed upon my return. What a beautiful sight. It is remarkable every time I see it (the falls).


So thank you once again to Helen and company for keeping Portageville up and running. It has become the highlight of my summer. Love the cottage! Love the organ! Love the grand piano in the Chapel – it sounds even better this year.


I took photos to show organist friends back home – and will post to Facebook. I’ll try to drum up a bit of business – not too much though – as I’ll need “my week” next year again!  THANK YOU!

John D. Nowik (Seton Hall University), South Orange, NJ


July 8-14, 2015


As the week once again (this is our 6th year) quickly passes, I am energized for a new year of church music! Portageville Chapel is the highlight of the “Morehead” summer and this year my parents decided to come along and enjoy the experience. This year was really all about exploring – first of all the chapel.  The music library provides great spiritual refreshment, particularly the book by Dr. Sirota. I read about the role of the sacred musician. Also, the new chair in the music library is the best thing for my back! Thanks! I also began reading/humming a book on rounds. To future visitors, definitely check out this library!


Inside the chapel, my results of practice (uninterrupted!) did not disappoint – a Bach concerto, chorale preludes by Hanff, Renaissance dances and Utterback Jazz – as you can see, quite a year of exploration.


I also took the time to work on a Handel sonata with my dad playing recorder – a real treat! Also, just tonight my wife opened the windows at the chapel and one of the neighbors outside complimented me on playing the organ loudly – he likes it loud! That is one of the best things in the chapel – playing the organ majestically with its full sound! Also, my son took a stab at page turning for me – he’s coming along.


My family also took a chance to contrive to explore the area – we enjoyed Mt. Morris, the Perry Chalk Art Festival and “Kaffee & Kuchen” (coffee and cake) at the Glen Iris Inn. My 5-year-old son shot his very first hole in one at Charcoal Corral. Letchworth Falls continued to provide rest, refreshment and renewal. Instead of hiking this year, I primarily enjoyed the beauty of the waterfalls.


Once again, I am sad to leave but we look forward to returning – what is a summer without Portageville Chapel? In my opinion, not that great (in fact, quite lacking). Thank you to everyone that makes this possible!


The Moreheads, Pitsburgh, PA


P.S. The awesome fan in the chapel made a hot week quite cooler – Thanks!


Another wonderful week at Portageville with our wonderful friends, Cindy and Al Adcock. The weather was perfect – not only for sight seeing, but also for practicing in the chapel. Especially like the newly remodeled back room, complete with music library – a perfect place to read, look through music and even take a nap. As always, the week goes by so quickly but we certainly look forward to many more great times here in Portageville.


Gary Raish & Bob Riday, Stroudsburg, PA


Another phenomenal week of intense practice and planning, but also of refreshment and renewal! My 4th time here, and already counting the days until next time – thank you for this wonderful place!


A wonderful week of renewal. A gift to the soul-- and much needed. Thank you to all who have made this possible. My first visit – but hopefully not my last. Lord willing, “I’ll be Bach!”


Thank you for a gloriously productive, introspective and inspirational week! How could one need anything more in life than Letchworth State Park, local produce and the Gt. 8’ Gedeckt? My week was consumed by the Elgar Sonata, Buxtehude E Minor Chaconne, Bach Toccata in F, Durufle Soisson Fugue and Degrigny Veni Creator. These works are souvenirs that will remind me of a wonderful retreat at Portageville Chapel whenever I play them. I can’t wait to return! Gratefully,


Colin Lynch, Boston, MA


Matt surprised me by setting the week up and driving me to the mystery destination. It’s been a healing and restorative week with the chapel, Letchworth environs. A true blessing for us. I hope to return another time.


Richard Bumbury, PhD, Boston, MA


We had heard about The Portageville Chapel from one of our pastors. My husband arranged a week here for both of us – a chance to relax – and an early anniversary trip (24 years!).What a wonderful week it has been! Hours of practice time on the bench – both to learn new pieces and to play for the simple joy of it. Some Handel, some Bach, some Beethoven, and Scott Joplin is a blast to play on the chapel piano! We leave here refreshed, renewed, and recharged. Many thanks for this opportunity and we look forward to coming again.


Marty and Maria Tallman, Coloma, MI

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