Author: Cornish, Rick

An Expert?

I guess you could say Im sort of an expert when it comes to bluegrass and old time music camps. I worked with Ingrid Noyes and the board of the CBA to start our Fathers Day Music Camp nearly ten years ago, and Ive taken part in approving every camp budget since then. As its grown, Ive helped shape and direct the camp. Ive read pretty much every set of evaluations done by campers when they finish the experience on the final day of camp. Ive even had the honor of standing before all of the students on Sunday evening at every camp weve had and welcoming them. And of course during each of the camps Ive strolled around observing and assisting Ingrid in any way Ive been able.

Then again, youd be just as correct in saying that I dont really know the first thing about bluegrass and old time music camp because Ive never actually been to one. As a student, that is. Thats all going to change in February. Ive just gotten my confirmation that Im officially enrolled in Fiddle Class--2 with Jack Tuttle. Its months away, but Ive already got butterflies. What if I cant keep up? Do I really want the world to know how much I dont know about the fiddle? Will anybody want to dance with me? What are you supposed to wear to a music camp? Will Jack even agree to have a left-handed fiddler in his class?

My wifes reaction when she learned Id signed up for music camp was, well, interesting. She gave me a big hug and kiss and said, Thats GREAT! Thanks, Ricky. Thanks for what, I asked. She hesitated. Well, you know. No, I dont know. Thanks for what? Well, Lynn said, youll, ah, get better. You know, more enjoyable to, ah, listen to. Right? Ive gotten similar reactions from the guys I pick with up here in Jamestown. Theyre excited that Ive signed up for music camp, and theyre not the least bit hesitant in showing it.

What Winter Music Camp will mean for me personally is pretty much an unknown; Im going to do my very best and the chips will fall where they fall. But what the new camp will mean for the California Bluegrass Association is quite another matter. With a single broad brush weve essentially doubled our bluegrass and old time music instruction operation, and thats excellent news on several levels. Weve broadened our reach in meeting the mission of the Association, which is to say were spreading the gospel in a pretty intensive new way; weve added another revenue stream to our overall business model, thus strengthening out ability to pay for the many non-revenue generating activities in which were involved; and, (this is an especially important one), weve found a way to serve the several hundred people who, over the past several years, have been turned away from our summer music camp because there just werent any more slots open.

When I last spoke with Ingrid Noyes, our Camp Director, wed filled a little more than half the slots (a little over 100).a few sections were already full, but most were still open. Ingrid was especially excited to report that more than fifty percent of the registrants were first-timers. That was three weeks ago. Im not sure were registration stands now, but weve got a ways to go before were full up. If youve got even the slightest inkling that Winter Music Camp might be for you.or some lucky person youd like to send.I invite you to visit the CBA Music Camp website at > There youll find a long list of frequently asked questions about the camp, a listing of wholl be teaching what, a schedule of activities, and pretty much anything else youll need to know before making a decision to take the plunge. As Ive already shared, Ive taken the plunge and its pretty darned exhilarating.
Posted:  12/1/2009

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