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Wanna hang out with your fellow songwriters for a few days? Thanks to our friends at Inspiration Alcona with support from Lost Lake Woods and Springfed Arts, we’re presenting the live, three-day version of our popular Virtual Songwriting Retreat in Northern Michigan. Your staff features the seasoned songwriters, performers and producers, of super-group Diamonds in the Rust.

We’ll have writing exercises to get your creative juices flowing, stimulating conversations about songwriting, and performance; an optional song assignment, and time for song sharing too!

Hosted by Diamonds in the Rust; Jan Krist, Jim Bizer, Alan Finkbeiner, Annie & Rod Capps.

All levels of songwriters are welcome.


When: May 12 – 15, 2022
Where: Lost Lake Woods, Lincoln, MI

Weekend Schedule (Overview)

Click to download detailed schedule

Thursday, May 12

7:30 pm – Meet & Greet
7:45 pm – Staff Intro / Weekend overview
8:00 pm – Open Mic (2 songs each)

Friday, May 13 

8:00 -9:30 am | Continental Breakfast
10:30 – 11:30 | The Right Stuff | Jan Krist
12:00 – 1:00 | Lunch
1:30 – 2:30 | Melodic Strategies | Jim Bizer
2:30 – 3:30 | Q&A, hang time
3:30 – 6:00 | Writing, eating, napping time
6:00 p.m. | Dinner
8:00 – ??? | Open Mic or Camp Fire Song Circle – Weather permitting

Saturday, May 14

8:00 -9:30 am | Continental Breakfast
10:30 – 11:30 | To Share or Not to Share | Annie Capps
12:00 – 1:00 | Lunch
1:30 – 2:15 | Staff Round Robin
2:30 – 4:30 | One 2 One sessions
4:30 – 7:30 | Writing, eating, napping, dinner on your own
8:00 – 9:30 | Staff Concert – Open to the public for $20 admission.
Workshop participants attend for free.

Sunday, May 15 
9:00 am | Continental Breakfast
11:00 am – ??? | Attendees & Staff perform their song assignments to each other.

Learn more about our sponsors!


The Right Stuff – Jan

Just two years ago I would have followed the paths of the creative lights that had walked these roads before, but everything was turned upside down in this pandemic. The muse I have pampered and coaxed for so long is now standing at the top of the stairs, wondering whether to come down.

Together we will be exploring ways to find our courage, and create an atmosphere of encouragement so that we and the muse can find the joy in creating- even if the world is uncertain, and maybe because it is.

Melodic Strategies – Jim

Melody is one of the most important parts of a well-written song and yet, while writing, we often don’t pay it the attention it deserves. We mostly just go with the flow of whatever comes to mind when often, with only minor revisions, we could make it something stronger, more memorable, more beautiful. Or uglier, if that’s what you’re going for.

We’ll look at some famous songs and the melody-generating techniques of some respected songwriters and do an exercise or two aimed at widening our perspective of where we can take our melodies – so that they will take us and our listeners with them.

To Share or Not to Share

As songwriters, our motivations may vary but it’s highly likely that we all hope to find catharsis and connection. Of course, this can be achieved with light-hearted, funny, feel-good songs, but tackling difficult subject matter is a bit more challenging.

In addition to the personal therapeutic benefits, the potential of resonating with a struggle that another is going through for which they may not be able to find the words, or feel safe to express can remind all of us that we are not alone.

We’ll ask the “should”, “why” and “how” of going after songs about painful or polarizing topics with compassion, empathy, and courage.