Singing and Cycling Together in Ecuador

Clayton Clemetson ’19 and Marcea MacInnis ’05 collaborate on a cycling and singing camp in Ecuador for high school students.

August 05, 2019

The paths of two Marlboro alumni continue to weave together, as recent graduate Clayton Clemetson ’19 and Marcea MacInnis ’05 are collaborating to create a three-week singing and cycling camp in Ecuador in June 2020. Marcea moved to Ecuador not long after graduating from Marlboro College, and helped to start a program for high schoolers there through Kroka Expeditions, a wilderness organization based in New Hampshire. She was Clayton’s leader during the 2011 Ecuador Semester, when they paddled through the Amazon rainforest and hiked a 19,000-foot-elevation active volcano. The semester was a “transformative experience” for Clayton, influencing his decision to pursue holistic education at Marlboro.

“This collaboration is a dream come true,” says Clayton. Marcea was integral to creating this new camp with Clayton and may be one of the supporting staff members when the camp runs next summer. “It is incredible to be working alongside Marcea eight years after I was her student, and it was especially exciting to realize that we shared a Marlboro education.”

While he was a student Marlboro, Clayton spent a semester traveling the world with an organization called Village Harmony, singing polyphonic folk traditions from countries such as Georgia, Lithuania, South Africa, and Corsica. He experienced the impact of song as a way of bringing people together, within and across cultures. The singing and biking camp arose out of a desire to combine the musical aspects of Village Harmony with the expedition-learning offered by Kroka Expeditions and Nahual (the Ecuadorian organization that hosts Kroka’s Ecuador semester).

“I wanted to bring together two organizations that shaped the way I connect with community and nature,” Clayton explains. “Both Village Harmony and Nahual offer powerful ways to nourish our relationship with other cultures, nature, community, and ourselves. Each organization has different strengths and so much to gain through this collaboration. Already, this project has brought Ecuadorian teachers to the U.S. to work with Village Harmony and Village Harmony teachers to Ecuador to learn from Nahual’s approach to education.”

The first week of the camp will be spent on a beautiful organic farm just outside of Quito, rehearsing songs from Ecuadorian and Columbian teachers, helping out with farm chores, and preparing for the bike expedition. After performing a couple of concerts the group will set off on a five-day cycling journey through the mountains to the indigenous village of San Clemente. The group will arrive in San Clemente just as the village erupts in the Solstice festivities of Inti Raymi.

“Music, travel, cycling, agriculture, traditional crafts, it is exciting to fold so many things that I love into one camp,” says Clayton.

Look for open registration for the June 2020 camp through Village Harmony’s website in January.