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Guest Comments 2020 Season

I last visited Portageville in 2015, when the world was a very different place. In this time of coronavirus, BLM protests over police brutality, and economic disaster, it was wonderful to escape to Portageville and see that nothing has changed –the green thermos I take full of coffee to practice, the wood block calendar in the kitchen….

When I arrived, I had spent the previous three months creating virtual choir videos for online church services. I went from making music to making movies. I am so grateful for this week to socially distance and spend intimate time with old friends like Durufle, Whitlock, Saint-Saens, Roger – Ducasse, and Bach. Thank you for making this special place available to those who need it.

Colin – Boston, MA

This place fills my spirit. Every visit is a time to explore music more fully and myself more deeply. Oh the lessons learned in solitude – if we will only take time to listen!

The Portageville Chapel feels like home, and I long for each time I get to visit. My heart is filled with gratitude for this place! Until next time,

Walter – Asheville, NC

Thanks to all those who make this experience possible. As a first-time to Portageville, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to learn some new repertoire and find new inspiration. A huge thanks to those who support the upkeep of the chapel, the organ, and the cottage. It is a much needed oasis in an ever more chaotic world.

Jason and David – Brooklyn, NY

Thank you for a lovely, restorative week! How nice it was to spend time with the sweet organ at the chapel after not practicing for 4(!) months due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Letchworth was also a fantastic antidote to quarantining in NYC – what a beautiful, special place! With thanks,

Colin - NYC

My DEBUT at the Portageville Chapel Retreat! My stay was DOLCE … the cottage, ppp; the birds’ songs, f. The STAFF (Helen and Tim Smith, et al) provided a charming little organ for SOLO practice and TUTTI necessary for a GEMUTLICH “home away from home”. LIEBLICH!

I’m planning on returning for a ll:    :ll performance VITEMENT!

Jean – Binghamton, NY

It is no wonder that this has been a labor of love for Tim and family. As I sit with that last glass of wine on this perfect day, I am immensely grateful for quiet, nature, beauty, and of course at the top of the list, music. This is an amazing, perfect retreat, and I will treasure my time in the sunset and always associate it with BWV 542, Widor Symphonie IV Finale, and Ruger Introduction & Passacaglia. You all made that hard work feel like a party! Thank you for this amazing, needed respite. I will be back, hopefully with less agenda, to enjoy that gorgeous piano a bit more! Peace and all best wishes.


What a wonderful week! I hadn’t played the organ since March 7. It was great to renew my skills, work up some old rep, and learn some new rep. I recorded several pieces to use in some upcoming ZOOM worship services. In addition to the productive practice, my husband and I enjoyed exploring the area. Letchworth State Park is gorgeous. We took a balloon ride from the Geneseo Airport and had a lovely bike ride along the Erie Canal. There is so much more to do. This was our first retreat at the Portageville Chapel and hopefully, it won’t be the last. Thank you for the opportunity. Peace and Grace,

Debbie and Mark - NJ

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