Author: Varner, Mark

Beginnings
 
music. They get a fire in their bellies and brave the frustrations and battle the shyness to become parking lot pickers or even talented performers.

I love beginning bass class students. You know they are there to get playing with others ASAP. Unlike some of the other instruments that require endless wood-shedding, you cannot sit on your bed for hours playing the bass alone. The only thing to do is stand next to the huge beast in jam situations and thump, thump. Many entry level bass students are spouses of players who want to join their significant others in playing music, maybe even be part of a band. How cool is that? It’s like playing cupid, bringing a whole new dimension to what a couple can be to each other.

There are a thousand stories going on at Camp. I sat one afternoon and watched my son Marty teach a very young child how to play his very first mandolin tune, Old Joe Clark. The child had been studying fiddle and was very quick, picking up the notes that Marty had stripped down the melody to almost instantly. I got an email from his mom saying that he did indeed learn the tune right then and there and played it at every jam he could get into for the rest of the weekend.

This young man, Kieran Smith, was part of the children’s program at CBA Music Camp, Fungrass. It’s a wonderful program run by Kathleen Rushing and Bob Schwartz. While parents are studying their children are brought into our world of music, not simply babysitted. Here is an article about the Fungrass program. I’ll feature some photos of the kids in the upcoming issue of the Bluegrass Breakdown.

Tie-Dye, Bubbles, Fiddlin’ and Fun At CBA Camp

If you saw bubbles and tie-dye floating through the campgrounds of the CBA Camp this year it was probably one of the Fungrass Campers! Fungrass was held for the younger campers who weren’t quite ready for the rigors of the CBA camp or just wanted to have a fun time while their parents took instruction. Activities included music; both singing and instrumental, crafts, hikes, dancing and bubbles! A few of the Fungrass campers were also from the local Grass Valley area.

Thanks to Ingrid Noyes for hosting this camp for the past 3 years. Initially introduced by Elena Corey on a shoestring budget, it proved very successful and was meeting a definite need for parents and kids. Bob Schwartz and Kathleen Rushing assisted Elena. Elena’s legacy has been continued, Kathleen and Bob kept the spirit and adventure alive with Kids Camp II last year, assisted by Barbara Clement. This year the name Fungrass was tagged to it and the fun seemed to multiply and draw volunteers to help out. Once again Kathleen and Bob led the program for 2009.

The camp was set up in the RV/tent area near the bathrooms, under the pines in a beautiful meadow setting. A big thanks goes to Kathy Cress who volunteered her expertise at tie-dye, along with all her colors, chemicals and love. Her daughter Alecia proved invaluable as did their good friend Christian Foley with expert knowledge and skill and helped all the campers make incredibly bright and beautiful garments. Tie-dye shirts, socks and unmentionables were adorning the camp, blowing in the breeze to give the camp a welcome and fun feeling. Kathy worked from 6 am to 6 pm and even invited neighboring campers to come in and tie-dye. A good tie-dye time was had by all ages!

Hildy Licht donated 50 lbs. of clay, giving the campers opportunity to make some pottery pieces. Carol Spiker assisted the campers in learning “Boil That Cabbage Down” on the fiddle, bringing her own instruments to share with the kids. We had many first time fiddlers that have gotten the bug and have asked their parents to buy them a fiddle! Thank goodness for the CBA’s Instrument Lending Library, where their desire for an instrument can be realized at no cost.

Joyce Smith was invaluable as art director for Fungrass and each day set up (and cleaned up) a ton of activities to keep the kids busy.

Perhaps the highlight of the camp was Fungrass camper’s contribution to the Student Performance on Wednesday afternoon. Under the direction of Bob Schwartz, Carol Spiker and Kathleen Rushing, fiddlers Tessa Schwartz, Chelsea Smith, Eva Rose Floyd, Mia Whisenand, and Griffin Evans played “Boil that Cabbage Down” Max (Ralph) Evans joined in on guitar and a 1/8 size bass, played by 4 year old Forest Walsh kept the group in perfect time. While the music played Alexis Torres, Kieran and Reyn Smith, Lilly Jue, Mia Whisenand, Liam Gray, Conway Gilbreth and Bob Schwartz entertained the crowd with a square dance they had learned from Erik Hoffman. Fungrass singers, under the direction of Kathleen Rushing, aka Bingo Schmingo Music, sang a rollicking rendition of Big Rock Candy Mountain with kid appropriate lyrics penned by Tom Chapin.

Fungrass was a huge success and rumor has it there is a waiting list to volunteer to work with us next year!
 
Posted:  7/6/2009



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