Author: Sargent, Geoff

The Sounds of Music Camp 2013

My word, we have another CBA Music Camp in the bag and another Fatherís Day Festival all wrapped up. Iím not sure that any of us have had the time yet to sit back and breath a sigh of relief and feel like it is over. Our new music camp directors, Peter Langston and Janet Peterson, were phenomenal; but get this, less than a month after doing our CBA music camp they are in the middle of directing two, yes two, back-to-back, 2-week long music camps. Not at the same time of course, but their summer season involves at least 5 weeks of living, breathing, and running music camps in California and Washington, not to mention the huge amount of behind the scenes work it takes during the rest of the year to make it all possible. So I thought it might be a good idea if I stepped up to write a little something for the Breakdown and report to those of you who werenít up at Grass Valley this year. And by the way, if you werenít there, all I can say is tsk, tsk, tsk you donít know what you missed.
For me it was an exceptional experience because I love being part of an event that brings so much joy to the folks attending, and this year I got the added buzz watching Peter and Janet put on a camp that was the same, yet different, from past camps. And I really enjoyed talking to folks at music camp and getting their unsolicited opinions on how it was going and I think all of them were positive. The conversations usually went something like ďI was a little concerned about how the music camp might be this yearĒ or ďI wasnít sure that camp was even happening this yearĒ followed by ďbut Iím glad I came. The new directors are doing a great job and the camp has a different feeling to it, a little more relaxed, less hectic, less busyĒ. I was amused by the last comments because I think Peter and Janet scheduled more workshops and jams than ever before. To be sure, there were some changes. One of Peter and Janetís guiding philosophies is to give the students more opportunity to spend time with the instructors and staff, so time and events were modified to promote that.

Now I should give you fair readers a little bit of context. I am the music camp liaison to the CBA Board of Directors and for the year running up to the week of camp and festival, I got to spend a lot of time working with Peter and Janet to transition into the Grass Valley setting. Much of that was giving them my perspective of the CBA music camp history, and how camps had been organized in the past, but also included a site visit up the fairgrounds to map out classrooms, arriving early to help set up, and staying late to tear down. We were very fortunate in enlisting help from past music camp volunteers. I canít tell you how hard the camp volunteers work and especially how important the veteran volunteers were for making the camp a success. I donít have the space to list them, but you have my heartfelt thanks. And I have to also thank the informal volunteers, those folks who just seem to like to work and help with the only apparent reward being the pleasure of contributing to making an excellent event. It is an amazing community of people that come up to Grass Valley.

Unfortunately I canít give a full report because my camp experience was fragmented. I had to drive back to the bay area Sunday evening of camp to give a final exam and teach a class on Monday, and return Tuesday afternoon, which meant I had to miss one of the most important music camp events; the Monday evening dobro jam. The reports I got on the jam was that it was a smashing success, enjoyed by the teachers and students. Evidently Rob Ickes made the comment that it was one of the most well behaved jams he had been in. Normally Iím not a big believer in behaving well, but my interpretation of Robís comment is that the players were listening to each other and giving space for folks to play. Next year I am going to lobby hard for the dobro jam to be on Tuesday evening, even if it means I have to resort to bribery. With my luck, my teaching schedule will change and Iíll have to give a final exam on both days. All in all, when I walked around camp it was easy to see on the faces of the students whether they were having a good time, and at the student concert it was easy to see how much they love the music. I think the student concert is one of the best windows into how the camp went, reflected by the instructors, the volunteers, the students, parents, and directors.

The 2014 season is already looming large and I am excited to see what Peter and Janet are going to pull out of their hats for Music Camp 2014. This year was great. How are they going to top it, well I donít know but I am sure they will.

If you would like make any comments, critiques, or suggestions on our 2013 music camp, please feel free to email me at and I will be happy to forward them to Peter and Janet. Until next year, stay tuned, stay in rhythm, and stay jamming.

Posted:  7/21/2013

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