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Host instructors

Libby Hortop (Elizabeth Bruce) and Elise Letourneau.


Guest instructors

Lynn Miles, Ian Tamblyn, and Chris White.

Give voice to the songs that are already inside you, in a positive environment, with like-minded creative spirits. Revel in the luxury of a quiet songwriting space, just for you and your ideas. Enjoy daily opportunities to perform and receive valuable feedback on your singing, playing, lyrics, music writing, and stage presence.


Your songwriting sherpas will guide you through the landscape that all performer-songwriters need to navigate, including finding your muse, pulling a song together, and performing it effectively. Through hands-on creative activity and lively brainstorming sessions, you’ll gain useful insights into establishing and sustaining your songwriting routine. The camp will feature one guest coach each day on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.


Befriend your artistic self and learn to nurture your inspiration’s wellspring. You’ll finish the week with at least one brand new song, and the chance to perform it after plenty of coaching and encouragement from seasoned performer-songwriters, who will help you identify and draw upon your strengths. Whether you are working on your first song or you are a pre-professional singer-songwriter, your creative spark will ignite in this supportive environment.

  • July 3-7, 2023

  • 9 am to 4 pm

  • Age: adult

  • Registration Fee $500

  • Enrollment limited to ten participants.

  • Wearing a mask is optional, this may change in accordance with current Ottawa Public Health recommendations.



Do I need to play an instrument?

It helps, but you can also sing a cappella, or use beats and loops on your digital device.


What if I've never finished a song?

We've had lots of people write their first song ever at OSSC. And feel free to bring along your partially completed stuff.


Do I have to sing my song?

It's a good idea. Gives you the chance to work stuff out in a safe and supportive environment.


What about accompaniment?

You will hone your singing and playing skills at camp. And we can usually find some musicians around here somewhere.


What should I bring?

Mask(s), hand sanitizer, your instruments(s) other than piano, your lunch (or signed permission to leave the premises and purchase lunch nearby), snacks, refillable water bottle, notebook, pencil, eraser, your idea journal if you keep one, your creative mind!


We supply: music paper, overnight instrument lock up, room in the fridge for your lunch, piano, inspiration, and creative space. 

Singer-Songwriting Coaches:

Elise Letourneau picked up the pen at the age of 6 and never looked back. An accomplished pianist and vocalist, her groove-oriented and genre-blurring songwriting style has been called smart, sensitive, and beautifully crafted. Elise is an associate composer of the Canadian Music Centre. Her award-winning pieces have been sung on 3 continents, and she is becoming internationally known as a choral composer of uncommon lyricism who reveres the inherent rhythm of poetry. Her albums reflect her love of literature, nature, people-watching, jazz, blues, rock, lots of thick vocal harmony, and she is working on her seventh. Elise’s students learn to colour outside of the lines intelligently. Visit

Libby Hortop (Elizabeth Bruce) has been writing songs since the late 1990s, when she would rush home after school to sing and play piano while the house was quiet. Her love of music led her to Montreal, where she earned a BA in music and recorded her first album. In 2007, she returned to the Ottawa area and began teaching voice and piano at Alcorn Music Studios. In 2013, she released an ambitious 21-song concept album based on the tarot. After discovering the autoharp, she joined forces with a 12-string guitarist to form Libby & Cal. Their first album, Our Lady of Perpetual Hammer, was released in 2021, and their second album will be released later in 2022. Libby’s songs have been described as unique and surprising. She believes all musicians should try their hand at songwriting!


Lynn Miles has earned her reputation as one of Canada’s most formidable songwriters, having written over 900 songs and released 15 albums over her remarkable career. She’s racked up multiple Juno Awards and Canadian Folk Music Awards, had two albums voted #1 by readers of Penguin Eggs magazine, and had her songs covered by a multitude of artists, including Claire Lynch on her Grammy-nominated album North by South. The Ottawa-based singer is a producer, professor, and public speaker. Her 16th album, TumbleWeedyWorld, comes out on True North Records on March 17, 2023. 


Ian Tamblyn has been a working  musician since 1972. He has released dozens of albums of his work as well as acting as producer for many other artists. Over the years Ian has written too many songs and has given up on counting them. He has also written fourteen plays and over one hundred theatre soundtracks. In 2012, Ian was made a fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographic Society for his guiding and creative work in the Canadian Arctic. He has been awarded the Estelle Klein and Helen Verger Awards for his contributions to Canadian folk music; he has a honourary doctorate from Lakehead University, a Distinguished Alumni Award from Trent University and was voted English Songwriter of the Year in 2010 by the Canadian Folk Music Awards, amongst other awards and nominations in the music and theatre world.


Chris White loves connecting people with music and with one another.  He co-founded the Ottawa Folk Festival with Max Wallace in 1993 and spent the next 16 years creating an atmosphere of celebration, inclusion and participation in the role of Artistic Director.  He hosts ‘Canadian Spaces’, the Saturday morning folk show on CKCU FM, and ‘Canadian Faces’, a live Sunday evening gathering of artists on Facebook.  Chris has led singing groups for home-schooled children (‘The Sparrows’), for people with dementia (‘Turquoise’), for seniors (‘The Merry Songsters’) and for men (‘Brothers Aloud’).  He organizes concerts and community events through Folkzone, a company he co-founded with long-time Grassroots Festival contributor, Mark Delorme. Chris has released three albums of his songs – ‘Inner Voice’, ‘Music All Around’, and ‘I’m A Poet… And I’m Aware Of It’ – and is currently working on a memoir.

Questions? contact us:

email or call 613-729-0693

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