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Wonderful to return to Portageville – was here in 2010. Productive days at the organ and piano, plus lots of hiking in Letchworth. Enjoyed visit to Nuda and Perry. Butter Meat Co. in Perry is not to be missed! The soft serve is worth the drive (and calories… but, hey, just go for a hike after).

R S – First Presbyterian Church, NYC


Another amazing, productive retreat! Saturday decadence – get to Letchworth at 7 or earlier (free!), hike. This year I got to the stone footbridge – a little- known gorgeous spot below Lower Falls. Then had a lavish breakfast at the Glen Iris – with a bloody Mary! Oh, and Mendelssohn Allegro Chorale and Fugue, Bach/Vivaldi A Minor Concerto, Guilmant Symphony 8 Adagio, and more!  A joy. Thank you, Helen; thank you Tim!

SL – West Hartford, St. John’s


What a joy to return to Portageville for my fourth visit! I needed it this year more than ever! In addition to prepping for a Tuesday concert, I spent the week in the company of Whitlock, Rheinberger, Sumsion, Laurin, and more. Playing the Tuesday concert was a particular gift – such a hearty, enthusiastic audience. It was amazing to see the community support for PVC, and to see people in the chapel besides me! Thank you again for another fantastic week – till next time!

CL – Boston, MA


Even smoke from Canadian wildfires could not dim or lessen the delights of being here this week. A thoroughly enjoyable and productive respite, in every way.

JG – Knoxville

Great to be back despite the smoke. Photos from my first trip to Portageville in 2016 came up on my phone while here. Thankfully, I have been able to come every year since then except for 2020, when people from Ohio were not allowed in New York. Very thankful for this place.

JD – Cincinnati


My 9th trip to PVC! Rain has cleared most of the Canadian wildfire smoke way, though you could see the smoke from the plane one the way in. For the first time, the rental car company decided I should be the lucky driver of a Rm 1500 truck, which I enjoyed driving around in, and nobody passed me on the road this year.


I practiced a lot of figured bass and transposition, things I haven’t had time for during the academic year. I recorded several short videos to share with family and friends. They loved hearing the organ. I worked really, really hard on Rhosymedre, and it’s in a lot better shape than when I first arrived, but still not 100%, which is humbling. But, that’s one of the best things about being here – you build up a wealth of inspiration and motivation to keep working hard when you go back home. So, practice on!


Thank you, Helen, Tim, and Portageville Chapel Board!

JJ – Lincolnwood, IL


We two (Alan and Irene from London, England) visited this marvelous facility between a week in Toronto at the RCCO Festival of Pipes, Niagara Falls, and returning to London for the Royal College of Organists’ summer convention at the Barbizan at the end of July.


Congratulations to all concerned with the restoration and maintenance of the chapel; the provision and preservation of the organ; and the restful cottage. This is “living Conservation” at its best.


We used our time on keyboard skills: sight-reading from the eclectic ‘archive’ in the chapel, improvisation and transposition – as well as touring, for us, an unexplored region of NY. We doubt that the starswill align again to allow a return visit, but never say never.


Top tip? Finding fresh ideas for improvisation at midnight is not improved after a couple of glasses of wine – but you didn’t care so much! Kind regards to all custodians and visitors alike.

AS and IC– London, UK


Always inspiring. Never disappoints. Completed my 8th summer residency in this amazing place. Great time to refresh and renew after an intense year of moving and starting a new job. Portageville feels like coming home – speaking of – what happened to that lovely mission sofa? I enjoyed many naps on that! Looking forward to next year already.

JJ – Greensburg, PA


Back after a three-year hiatus (Medical issues). Wonderful to be back! So happy to have the opportunity to practice (slowly) without distractions. It takes a while to “get in the zone”, but once you do, it is intoxicating.


Hopefully no issues will prevent me from returning next year.

JN – North Plainfield, NJ


To my fellow Portageville Chapel brothers and sisters,


I am blessed to say this is my 2nd retreat at PC. Being able to disconnect from daily life and dive into what really breathes life is more than a privilege. This week I have practiced, composed, been to Canada, and cooked more than I’ve been able to do for a year (since I came here last…)


Cherish this place and the incredible Chapel – may Portageville continue to enhance our lives through precious time, wilderness, and focus on what matters the most. Until next time,



Our second visit to this delightful retreat! My son is the organist and I the blessed audience. Thank you to everyone involved in making this possible. Blessings!

RD – The Mom


An amazing week – my first as a retired church musician after 41 plus years! So wonderful to be able to prepare a couple upcoming recitals, and not be driven by my usual practice of planning the church year. Several pleasant hikes in Letchworth, of course. And this year discovered Wiscoy Falls! Gorgeous! And so close to the cottage! I can’t believe I never knew of them before.


Thanks again for this wonderful retreat place.


PD – Rochester, NY


Thank you so much for a beautiful, relaxing, and restorative week at the Portageville Chapel! I can’t imagine a better way to end the summer and get back into performance shape for the season ahead. I am grateful for the hikes, the time to learn new music, the delicious poutine at the Glen Iris, and the profound sense of calm that this retreat provides. This is truly a blessing.

DS – Toronto, Ontario


Thank you for allowing us the pleasure of this incredible week here in Portageville. Edmund and I have enjoyed the break from our too-busy lives and have enjoyed the beauty and peacefulness here. It is such a blessing to have the house and chapel at our disposal for uninterrupted practice and study Thank you for your kind hospitality!

CM and EM – Houston, TX


Thank you for a beautiful place to see the beauty of autumn and to re-engage with practicing without interruptions. Thanks to all who had such a vision.

 KP – Durham, NC


We’re trying to determine if this is our 7th or 8th visit to this lovely, serene place. It’s a joy to go practice any time I wish. Avery and I love visiting the villages, their shops and enjoying God’s nature. We enjoy the farmlands, seeing balloon rides and a little wildlife. It’s great to relax and to work. I’m preparing music for an All-Saints concert and music to play in England. I will visit Southwest England and London. So many organs to see, hear and play! Thanks for this retreat you provide for us. Thanks for the new sofa and new mattress too!

AD and BD – Cheraw, SC

Guest Comments 2023 Season

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