Gwynne Montgomery Johnson

Christine Hitt

Torch Singer Workshop with Artistic Gourmet Adventures

Sunday, July 21 – Saturday, July 27, 2019 in Normandy, France


Torchsong:  From the phrase to carry a torch for (to be in love), a torch song is an emotional, heart-felt song, often of unrequited love. 

Torch Singer Training: The term “Torch singer” comes from the saying, “to carry a torch for someone.” A torch song is a sentimental love song, and torch singing is a style that incorporates the best of cabaret and jazz.

This week-long workshop is for aspiring jazz and nightclub singers, or for life-long learners who just want to sing!  Classes will take place in the mornings, with one evening coaching session. Afternoons and evenings will be filled with Artistic Gourmet Adventure’s excursions to iconic Normandy sights, gourmet dinners created by Le Cordon Bleu-Paris Alum Chef Walter Eagleton and Artistic Gourmet Adventure’s 5-star attention all set in an amazing and luxurious 17th Century French Chateau that you won’t share with anyone else!

In the classes, we will learn about song styles, working with an accompanist, communicating the lyric and finding your own unique voice and style.  Each participant will work on 2 solos, and “graduate” on Friday evening in a performance with the entire group.  Songs will be rehearsed in a “master class” setting, where we will listen to and learn from one another.  Taught by professional singers and educators Gwynne Montgomery Johnson and Christine Hitt, you will grow as a singer and musician and have a blast! 



Gwynne Montgomery Johnson  Vocalist and songwriter Gwynne Montgomery Johnson has been performing, teaching and writing music for over 25 years.  Her performances have spanned the U.S., Italy and France. She has performed in jazz combos, pop bands, classical chorales, music theatre productions and gospel choirs. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Music from the University of North Texas, where she sang with Paris Rutherford’s premiere group The UNT Jazz Singers. Classical vocal training and a Masters of Music in Vocal Performance at The University of Texas San Antonio broadened her musical knowledge and experience. In 2006, Gwynne was a featured performer in the world premiere of the music of Sir Anthony Hopkins with the San Antonio Symphony, as well a soloist in 2013 with the Richardson Symphony. A voice teacher with extensive experience, she has taught many young singers as well as college students and adults, helping them to develop healthy vocal habits. In addition to private teaching, Gwynne has developed a course of group instruction, Torchsinger Training Class, designed for adults interested in improving their singing and performance skills. The classes have been an enjoyable and rewarding experience for both her and her students. Gwynne performed with the Dallas jazz vocal group The New Collection from 2011 – 2016 and is featured on their two recordings, My Romance and Where Is Love.  Her solo CD recording, Yesterdays, with guitarist Joe Gonzales, is a genre-merging collection of jazz, classical adaptations and original songs.  A singer that defies a label, she merges the traditional styles of jazz, gospel and pop, with an emphasis on honest, expressive lyrics, and is always searching for a new way to connect with her audience.

Christine Hitt

The daughter of two musicians, Christine Hitt started her recording career with the MAXJAZZ record label in 1999. During her time in St. Louis as a jazz vocalist and pianist, Christine recorded and performed with Ugonna Okegwo, Bruce Barth, Montez Coleman, Peter Mayer, and Tom Kennedy, among others. Her solo CD You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To features drummer Jeff Hamilton and bassist Tom Kennedy. The recording received international distribution and airplay. It can be heard on music streaming services for Sirius XM, Direct TV, Nordstroms, Gap, Olive Garden and American Airlines. Her July 2018 release Magical Kite was recorded at Capitol studios and was produced by Geoffrey Keezer and features Jeff Hamilton, John Beasley, Bob Sheppard, and Gene Coye 

As a pop vocalist, Christine has recorded jingles for companies including Maxwell House, Anheuser Busch, Circle K and Ramada Inn. She has backed Marylin McCoo, Darius Rucker and been a member of one of Modern Bride’s top wedding bands The Confidentials.

As an arranger, her work can be heard on Sony BMG Blue Mood 3, Susie Thorne- Blue Skies Clear Day, Tom Kennedy- Capri Records JustPlay, MXJ301 Holiday CD and MXJ107 You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To.     

Passionate about music education, Hitt has taught vocal and instrumental jazz at Washington University, Webster University, Concordia College, North Dakota State University, MNState Moorhead and Iowa Western Community College where she was the Director of Instrumental Music. Her students and ensembles have performed at the 24th, 27th and 35th annual IAJE Conventions. Christine’s private vocal jazz students have won downbeat awards and currently perform with the London Contemporary Voices and the USAF Singing Sergeants. Other jazz artists she has had the pleasure of performing with include: Hubert Laws, Sylvia McNair, Slide Hampton, Lauren Sevian, Steve Smith, Justin Kisor and Curtis Fuller.

Welcome to our private countryside Chateau in Normandy! This amazing Chateau has been lovingly restored for our complete comfort. Although the existence of Domjean’s fief has been attested since the 11th century, the origins of the Chateau remain unknown. A manor farm was erected in the 15th century with an imposing dovecote that testifies to the nobility of the place. The buildings are surrounded by pastures, crops, orchards and woods. In the nineteenth century, Alain de Chartier, Marquis de Sedouy, remodeled and expanded the mansion which became a small castle. In front of the main facade, an English park is located along the entrance avenue lined with linden trees.

“I loved Gwynne’s Torchsinger Class.  She helped me find songs in my range, and I learned so much… and I had a lot of fun singing at the final performance!”


“I highly recommend the Torchsinging Class. Gwynne taught me so much about jazz performance, style and technique. The class is a relaxed, fun environment to hone your skills. No matter your level of singing experience, Gwynne will make you a better musician. Getting to sing with the awesome jazz combo at the finale was The Bomb!”

Sunday Welcome to Normandy! We will meet you at a local Rail station and transport you by private van to your Normandy Château home for the week. After a bite to eat and a leisurely afternoon, you will enjoy an amazing Gourmet Dinner provided by chef Walter and Artistic Gourmet Adventures at our accommodations.

Monday Wake rested and refreshed. After a filling breakfast Gwynne and Christine will assist you in Vocalizing; finding your voice; selecting songs; communicating the lyric, “tell the story”.  

Excursion:  We will then head to Arromanche for your introduction to the Normandy Beach invasion. Thanks to a film, NORMANDY’S 100 DAYS, shown on 9 screens in HD, we will discover exceptional archive footage collected from around the world that tells the whole story of the 100 days of the Battle of Normandy. Lunch in a local restaurant.*

Some key figures: by 12 June 1944 more than 300,000 men, 54,000 vehicles, 104,000 tons of supplies had been landed. During 100 days of operation of the port 2.5 million men, 500,000 vehicles, and 4 million tons of material were landed. The best performance of the port was in the last week of July 1944: during those seven days the traffic through Arromanches exceeded 136,000 tons or 20,000 tons per day. 

Breakfast and Gourmet Dinner provided by Le Cordon Bleu-Paris Alum Chef Walter Eagleton and Artistic Gourmet Adventures at our Normandy Château.

Tuesday After a delicious breakfast at our Normandy Château, your lesson today is Swing feel and latin rhythms; time and its importance; feeling the groove using fun vocal exercises.  

Excursion: We will begin our in depth understanding of the Normandy invasion with an eight hour day comprising of a guided tour by private van accompanied by our expert commentator and professional guide. The objective of this tour is to incorporate all of the most significant events of the D-Day Sainte Mere Eglise and Airbourne Museum, Utah Beach, Point du Hoc, Omaha Beach and the American Cemetery. Lunch midway through the tour at a local restaurant.*

Breakfast and Gourmet Dinner provided by Le Cordon Bleu-Paris Alum Chef Walter Eagleton and Artistic Gourmet Adventures at our Normandy Château.

Wednesday After a homemade breakfast, your Torch Singer lesson for the day is The importance of history; listening to famous torch singers; taking different styles to make them your own; understanding song forms.

Excursion: City of Caen-sightseeing and shopping Highlights: Château de Caen-The castle was built c. 1060 by William the Conqueror (William of Normandy), who successfully conquered England in 1066. His son Henry I then built the Saint George’s church, a keep (1123) and a large hall for the ducal Court. On Christmas 1182, a royal court celebration for Christmas in the aula of Caen Castle brought together Henry II and his sons, Richard the Lionheart and John Lackland, receiving more than a thousand knights. Caen Castle, along with all of Normandy, was recaptured by the French Crown in 1204. Philip II reinforced the fortifications. The castle saw several engagements during the Hundred Years’ War (1346, 1417, 1450). The keep was pulled down in 1793 during the French olution, by order of the National Convention. The castle, which was used as a barracks during World War II, was bombed in 1944 and seriously damaged.In 1946, Michel de Boüard, an archeologist from Caen, decided to start excavations in the area of the castle to bring to the light medieval traces.

The Musée des Beaux-Arts, which was installed in 1967, opened in 1971. The Abbey Saint-Étienne.  Consecrated in 1077, the church, whose majority of elements dates from the eleventh and thirteenth centuries, is the oldest part of the whole. The choir, remodeled in the thirteenth century, in the Gothic style , houses the tomb of William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy and King of England.

Monastic buildings. The monastery, built in the eleventh century, was destroyed during the wars of religion (1562-63), and rebuilt in the eighteenth century. The monastic buildings rise around a Tuscan style cloister (classical Italian style). Today, the buildings have become the headquarters of City Hall . The Abbaye-aux-Hommes forms with Saint-Sauveur Square, recently rehabilitated, a unique heritage.  Medieval houses and farm buildings. The abbey was also a farm and an inn. It still houses an apple press, a charreterie and a bakery.

Two houses of the fourteenth century testify to the hospital and political role of the abbey: The Ducal Palace, which houses the Artothèque, a space dedicated to contemporary art, the Hall of the Guards where the meetings of the municipal council are held. Lunch at a local restaurant.*

Breakfast and Gourmet Dinner provided by Le Cordon Bleu-Paris Alum Chef Walter Eagleton and Artistic Gourmet Adventures at our Normandy Château.

Thursday Today, after breakfast, Singing on a microphone; working with a band or accompanist; performance practice and etiquette.

Excursion: The town of Bayeux–sight seeing and shopping. Founded as a Gallo-Roman settlement in the 1st century BC under the name Augustodurum, Bayeux is the capital of the former territory of Gaul. Evidence of earlier human occupation of the territory comes from fortified Celtic camps confined to scattered Druid huts along the banks of the Aure and Drome rivers or on Mount Phaunus where they worshiped. Titus Sabinus, a lieutenant of Julius Caesar, subjected the Bessin region to Roman domination. Bayeux is the home of the Bayeux Tapestry, which depicts the events leading up to the Norman conquest of England. 

Bayeux Tapestry Museum – The Bayeux Tapestry is truly amazing. It is technically not a tapestry but an embroidery, 70 meters (230 feet) long and 50 centimeters (20 inches) high, that was made in the 11th century. Think about it! It’s an amazingly preserved cloth that is almost a thousand years old, and in beautiful condition, with vivid colors and characters that bring to life the story of the Norman Conquest. Lunch at a local restaurant*.

Breakfast and Gourmet Dinner provided by Le Cordon Bleu-Paris Alum Chef Walter Eagleton and Artistic Gourmet Adventures at our Normandy Château.

Friday Awake rested and ready to go. We will enjoy breakfast and Gwynne and Christine will coach on How to deal with nervous tension; how to use your mind to prepare for performing.

Excursion: Le Mont Saint Michel. This is not just a church on a rock; it is a whole medieval city, one of the few places in France to have preserved intact its medieval walls and defenses. The city, though small, has a mayor, and in addition to its religious monuments, has old houses, narrow streets, hotels, restaurants and shops. Lunch at a local restaurant on Mont Saint Michel.*

Breakfast and dinner provided by Le Cordon Bleu-Paris Alum Chef Walter Eagleton and Artistic Gourmet Adventures at our Normandy Château.

Saturday Today we enjoy breakfast at our Normandy Château, then we say goodbye, transport you to the local rail station and send you on your way home or on to your next adventure!

À Bientôt!

*Meals not covered by Adventure Itinerary subject to minor changes.

Price and What's Included

“This class was a very uplifting experience for me. Gwynne is very positive, understanding and supportive. I felt very confident going into our performance even though it was my first time to try singing in public in this genre!”

  • Torch Singing lessons and all Excursions are included.
  • Daily ground transportation by air conditioned van, all breakfasts and dinners with wine when dining at our Normandy Château is included. 
  • Normandy accommodations with private bath are included. 
  • Meals marked with * on the itinerary are not included.
  • Airfare is not included.
  • Rail tickets to Normandy are not included but can be booked by Artistic Gourmet Adventures and added to your final balance.
  • We will meet you at Charles de Gaulle Airport and escort you via TGV rail to the local rail station and on to our Normandy home for the week, should you desire for a cost of $150 per person.
  • Travel Insurance is required and can be bought on line from or Allianz Travel
  • $3450 pp single occupancy
  • $3150 pp double occupancy
  • Nonrefundable deposit of $750 pp due upon booking.
  • REMEMBER! Traveling Single? When you share a TWIN or DOUBLE bedded room with a friend you BOTH get a deal by paying the Double Occupancy Rate!!!