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Express Yourself

Star Arts

Saturday, June 18 to Saturday, June 25, 2016

Star Arts is an affirming community of emerging and established artists in many mediums who come together on a beautiful island to engage and create in a safe, nurturing environment. Amidst music, laughter, sea gulls, and spectacular sunsets, we inspire each other to deep personal reflection and to deep interpersonal connections. Sometimes we expand on current talents; sometimes we take risks on new frontiers. Always, we come away refreshed, relaxed and wishing to come back again. Whether venturing into joint efforts or following a solitary voice in personal reflection, Star Island can be a creative, spiritual place to call home. Professional and amateur artists alike are welcome to spend their mornings in the workshop of their choice: music, writing, drama, photography, painting, or dance. Conferees are also welcome to let their muses choose the time and pace of their inspirations. “Porch sitting” is an honored occupation as well. Other activities include glorious music, spontaneous performances, concerts, talent shows, chapels, rehearsals, quiet contemplation, afternoon skill-sharing, and other adventures to nourish the creative, spiritual, and curious mind. Do everything – or do nothing. It’s your week.

Workshop Leaders

Photography: Annie Tiberio Cameron
Visual Arts: Nancy Sargent Howell
Writing: Steven Ratiner
Dance, Theater, Music: To be determined

Minister of the Week

Rev. Kate Wilkinson, Unitarian Universalist Meeting House of Provincetown, MA

Program Fee

$110 per person


Visit for more information.


Contact the registrar, Barbara O’Brien at email hidden; JavaScript is required.

23rd Traditional Music and Dance Weekend

Star Hampshire Music and Dance Weekend

Friday, September 16 to Sunday, September 18, 2016

Our small, friendly music and dance weekend focuses on contra dancing, but also includes square, English country and Scandinavian dances. Other highlights include waltzing in the lobby before breakfast, a musicians’ workshop & music jams, a staff concert, our participatory service in the candlelit chapel, and polar bear dips — and this year we’re renewing our Sunday afternoon tradition of dancing on the Oceanic porch. Our relaxed schedule includes plenty of time to explore rocky trails, venture into Gosport Harbor in a kayak or rowboat, and enjoy view from a rocking chair. Top-notch dance instruction and live music! For more details, including staff biographies, visit the Star Hampshire Dance website.


Caller: Will Mentor
Fiddle: Jane Orzechowski
Fiddle: Dave Langford
Keyboard & Accordion: Russell Orzechowski
Guitar & Mandolin: Max Newman

Program Fee

$90 per person


Contact the conference registrar, Chrissy Fowler, via email email hidden; JavaScript is required or phone (207) 338-0979

Some Music, Some Singing, Some Dancing

February 17th, 2015

The creative spirit is alive and well on Star Island every summer with programs specifically devoted to music, singing, and dancing. Join in fun, lively programs like Chamber Music, Star Hampshire Dance, and Star Harmony. These programs offer brilliant demonstrations and avenues for development in a picturesque setting.

Sure you can listen to live music on the mainland, but the Star Island setting is what sets these programs apart. Activities happen in such places as our 200-year-old stone chapel set on the island’s highest point, in the lobby of the historic Oceanic Hotel, or overlooking the waterfront with sailboats passing by. And what can you expect in 2015?

Chamber Music

Chamber Music Conference Icon

Friday, September 11 to Sunday, September 13

Cellist Theodore Mook returns to Star Island with a cast of friends to delight visitors with music from French Impressionists — Debussy, Ravel, Satie. The weekend will feature concerts and talks in the stone chapel, hotel lobby, and pink parlor. You’ll enjoy the exquisite music, and the equally exquisite views.

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Star Hampshire Music and Dance Weekend

Star Hampshire Dance Conference Icon

Friday, September 18 to Sunday, September 20

Professional musicians provide structure to this traditional dance focused weekend where contra-dances are the main feature. English country, square, and couples dances are also held throughout the day. Known mostly for fantastic dances each evening in the Brookfield building overlooking Gosport Harbor, this program starts every day with waltzes before breakfast in the hotel lobby. These morning waltzes are accompanied by the sounds of the lobby’s majestic grand piano.

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Star Island Harmony

Star Island Harmony 2015 Conference Icon

Friday, September 18 to Sunday, September 20

Looking for a chance to sing? This program is for you. Star Harmony is a weekend of a cappella harmony singing led by Mary Cay Brass, Mary Alice Amidon and Peter Amidon. You’ll have the chance to sing so many types of songs: spirituals, hymns, folk, and shape-note, among many others. And all this singing takes place on a beautifully rugged island.

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Writers in the Round

WITR Conference Icon

Thursday, September 10 to Sunday, September 13

If songwriting is more your style, check out Writers in the Round which provides a supportive, creative atmosphere to stretch your songwriting wings. You’ll have classes, small group discussions, a chance to workshop your creations, and time to hone your material. Find inspiration in the sound of waves crashing against the rocky shore, or the smell of salty ocean air.

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Looking for something else? We have programs focused on a myriad of topics like history, religion, and the arts. Click here to explore our complete 2015 program list.

22nd Traditional Music & Dance Weekend

Star Hampshire

Friday, September 18 to Sunday, September 20

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Star Hampshire Dance Conference Profile

Our small, friendly music and dance weekend has occurred for 21 years. More than half of the dancers have been before. New folks may come from thousands of miles away. The beauty of this 44 acre island, the peacefulness of being off the main land, and rituals such as waltzing before breakfast and carrying lanterns to the chapel are reasons dancers keep returning. Contra dancing is featured using new and old dances all with professional musicians. Other dances include squares, English country and couples. There is time to relax and explore the island on your own or with a small group. You may watch or join the singing or yoga conferences which are on Star at the same time. Musicians should bring their instruments to join a workshop, jam, play for chapel or make music with the waves. We are a welcoming community who relish the joy of dancing while viewing Gosport Harbor. Come and dance with us!

Musicians and Caller

Tony Parkes, caller; George Wilson, fiddle; Rebecca McCallum, fiddle; Selma Kaplan, piano; and Jane Knoeck, piano and accordion
Star Island 2015 Star Harmpshire Rate Chart 2015

Program Fee

$90.00 per person


Email Chrissy Fowler at email hidden; JavaScript is required

Click Here to Register

21st Traditional Music and Dance Weekend

Star Hampshire Dance

Friday, September 12 to Sunday, September 14

Star Hampshire Dance Profile

Click Here to Register Online

Our small, friendly music and dance weekend includes contra, square, English country and couple dances. There is time to relax and explore the island, join yoga or singing conferences, rock on the porch, and attend our non-denominational chapel service. Waltzing before breakfast, a musicians’ workshop and music jams fill out the schedule. Our website has more details, including biographies of our talented staff. Register online or contact conference registrar.

Dance Caller: Cis Hinkle
Musicians: Rodney Miller, fiddle; Peter Barnes, keyboard, whistle, flute; Jaige Trudel, fiddle; Adam Broome, guitar
Programming Fee: $90/person
Questions? Contact Chrissy Fowler at email hidden; JavaScript is required

Click Here to Register Online

Star Island 2013 Adult 2 Night Off Season Rate Chart

The above per person room and board rates cover the entire 2-night stay and include ferry transporation to and from Star Island on designated days.

20th Traditional Music and Dance Weekend

Star Hampshire Dance

Friday, September 14 to Sunday, September 16

Our small, friendly music and dance weekend focuses on contra dancing, and also includes square, English country and couple dances. There is time to relax and explore the beautiful, historic island, including joining yoga or singing conferences, rocking on the porch or attending a chapel service. The talented caller, Lisa Greenleaf, will work with equally talented musicians.


Make, Play, Show

Star Arts Conference

Saturday, June 16 to Saturday, June 23

Wake your inner artist in an inspiring weeklong, adults-only retreat among a tribe of fellow explorers. You can draw close to sources of magic, within and around you, that will make the 2012 StarArts Conference deeply memorable and emotionally rich. You can move your body, then move your mind and soul.

That is why so many past participants and workshop leaders return year after year for workshops in art, music, theater, dance, photography, and writing. To many, this island haven is “our spirit’s home.” With meals and other needs met by a dedicated island staff, you’ll be amazed by how much you can do in a week. The range of activities — from social dancing, poetry reading, slide and art shows, chapel services, evening entertainment, and more — will delight you with memories that will linger and sustain you throughout the year.

Foghorn, dinner bell, acoustic music, seagull cry; crack of softball bat, murmur of porch talk, mingle of social hour, fragrance of beach rose, touch of timothy grass. StarArts is all about expanding your reach in whatever field of endeavor you favor in a visually exquisite and vibrantly supportive environment. We find that aptitudes in ourselves that seem dormant or impossible on the mainland come to life on-island.

So check out our lineup of workshops and activities and set your imagination free. We encourage you to join us for an extraordinary week of creativity and community.

Paula Stelzner and Richard Waring, 2012 Co-Chairs


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Our Mission

Our mission since 1915 is to hold and maintain Star Island and such other property as the Corporation may hold or acquire, as a center for religious, education, and kindred purposes consistent with the principles of the Unitarian Universalist Association and the United Church of Christ.

Our Vision

Our vision is to create on Star Island an environment that frees all who come to renew spiritually, explore matters of consequence, and gain knowledge about the world as it might ideally be.

Contact Star Island

Phone: (603) 430-6272
Fax: (603) 430-6270
Island Phone: (603) 601-0832
Staff Email Address List

Star Island Corporation
Morton-Benedict House
30 Middle Street
Portsmouth, NH 03801

Get directions to the office

Content © 1999–2015 Star Island Corporation. Clouds photo © Axel Rouvin.
Other photos © their respective owners.