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What is NESR? Watch this video!

As of May 7, there are only about 20 spots left at NESR 8! Register now to claim your spot:

May 15, 2024
te2024 Scholarship Winners Announced!


January 24, 2024

Hello Friends!

Each year, my partner Laurie and I gather a collection of our favorite master songwriters in Chester, CT to work with 100 students who want to take a deep dive into the heart of their craft. It’s an intense, joyful, cathartic experience, that leaves everyone who enters a better artist, including the Instructors! Everyone leaves the weekend inspired and energized, with new songs, new ideas, and new lifelong friendships.

We're already excited for NESR 8 - and here's one of the reasons why - we are THRILLED to announce this year's Instructor lineup:

🎉 As always, me, Ellis Paul

🎉 As always, your Den Mama and songlover, Laurie MacAllister

🎉 NEW TO NESR Juno award winner Lynn Miles!

🎉 NEW TO NESR Grammy-nominated Seth Glier!

🎉 NESR 2 & 3 ALUM Legendary entertainer Vance Gilbert!

🎉 NESR 3 ALUM Guitar whiz Eben Pariser!

ENROLLMENT FOR NESR 8 WILL OPEN ON FEBRUARY 1st. If you fill out the PEQ (big red link above), you will receive an email on Feb 1, with simple instructions for paying for NESR 8. We have two payment methods: PayPal (FRIENDS & FAMILY OPTION, to avoid fees) or a physical check mailed to us. So this is your heads-up—if you want to pay electronically and you don’t have a personal PayPal account, please set one up. The retreat will fill up quickly and we do expect to sell out, so if you know anyone who wants to attend who hasn’t filled out the PEQ, tell them to do so asap.

Our NESR family is a beautiful musical community, and one of the very best parts of our lives. We're grateful.

I hope you’ll join us!



December 17, 2023




We are thrilled to announce that we will be running TWO retreats again in 2024!

NESR 8A: Fri Aug 23 - Tue Aug 27 (2024) 

NESR 8B: Fri Aug 30 - Tue Sep 3 (2024) — Labor Day weekend

We are putting together a truly STELLAR lineup of Instructors for NESR 8, which will be announced soon.


There are engaging classes, student concerts, one-on-one meetings, song circles, and a vibrant community that will embrace the best version of your artistic self.


Our home for the weekend is in Chester CT, at Guest House Retreat and Conference Center, an historic inn. The accommodations are quaint and cozy, with a B&B vibe. OR you can commute from your CT home or a nearby hotel. The food is delicious, with plenty of healthy vegetarian options. Late summer/early fall is a perfect time to be in New England!


What better gift could you give the songwriter/artist in you?


TO ATTEND NESR 8 simply fill out the Pre-Enrollment Questionnaire (PEQ):


I hope you’ll join us!



  • LODGING: A four-night stay at the Guest House Retreat Center in Chester CT, which has lovely B&B-style rooms. REGISTRATION is on Friday Aug 23 (or Aug 30), 2023 at 3 pm and CHECKOUT is on Tuesday Aug 27 (or Sept 3), 2023 at 10 am.

  • MEALS: Healthy, delicious, expertly-prepared meals throughout the weekend, including great vegetarian options. Friday dinner through Tuesday breakfast is included. Dietary needs are happily accommodated.

  • TUITION includes all of this and more:

    • Songwriting classes each day, led by some of America's premiere touring singer-songwriters

    • Additional courses covering topics related to songwriting, such as performance and singing

    • Small class size = lots of individual attention

    • One-on-one coaching from members of our team of excellent Instructors

    • Opportunities for live performance in a professional listening room setting

    • Lots of networking and fun with other aspiring musicians all weekend long

    • Late-night song circles all weekend long

    • A sweet bag of swag, including a nice journal

    • A party on closing night (Monday night)

    • A warm, welcoming, creative community

NESR Mission:

Our mission for this songwriting retreat is 3-fold:
1) INSPIRATION: We want to spark the artist in you, and get you creating fearlessly. We want to provide an environment that invigorates and excites you and helps you 
believe in yourself. Just do it. You CAN do it!

2) COMMUNITY: We want to provide a safe, supportive, genuinely encouraging space for you to be the artist you visualize yourself to be. We want to hear you! And we want to introduce you to others following a similar creative path.

3) LEARNING: We want you to leave the retreat with a new set of tools, new approaches, and fresh philosophies after sitting with experienced, award-winning master songwriters. We want to expand your thinking and open your mind. We want to help you widen your heart through the craft of songwriting.

Join the MAILING LIST by using the form below.




Questions? Email Laurie at

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