Seward Bluegrass Camp returns to town
Youth get a chance to learn to play stringed instruments
Heidi Zemach | For The LOG
One of the Bluegrass Camp bands performs Wagon Wheel at final concert.
Seward Bluegrass Camp for Kids is returning this summer due to popular demand, June 18-21 at the Resurrection Lutheran Church. The camp will be four full days this time. Students age 8-16, who have completed second grade, will have an opportunity to learn the fiddle, guitar, banjo, mandolin, stand-up bass, folk singing songwriting, and jamming.
“Bands Around Town” will bring the kids downtown to busk in their group bands on Wednesday afternoon. There will be also be square-dancing offered at camp, and at an evening community dance and potluck.
An adult bluegrass workshop is planned for Monday evening. And there will be staff and student concerts in the afternoon/evening at the Resurrect Art Coffee House Gallery.
Children younger than 8 may be allowed to attend the camp by request, especially if they have already taken music lessons or attended camp last year, or had a sibling attend camp.
Several of the student’s favorite teachers are returning this year including Amanda Kerr and Garren Volper from the Anchorage-based band, High Lonesome Sound, along with fellow band member Eric Roger and camp director Kate Hamre, an Alaskan living in San Francisco. They will be joined by special musical guest from Pam Brandon from the Bay Area. High Lonesome Sound will perform for the public Sunday evening June 17 at Rez Art to get everyone in the mood.
“Bluegrass Camps for Kids offers young people an opportunity to explore a diverse range of traditional music styles and instruments in a supportive and encouraging environment,” said Hamre. She has seven camps scheduled for this summer including Homer, Cordova, Fairbanks in Alaska, and across the U.S. in Colorado and Wyoming. “This is a great event to foster new friendships and old, and bring the enjoyment of playing music into your life!” she added.
Last year 27 students participated in the Seward camp. Most had little or no experience on string instruments. They had a great time playing several tunes well enough to perform in group bands at the student concert on the final day. The coffeehouse was filled to the rafters with applauding parents, grandparents and siblings.
Members of the community donated string instruments for use during the camp, and the camp teachers also provided many of the instruments that could be checked out and taken home by camp participants.
As it did last year, the Seward Music Boosters has donated $500 in funding to the camp to lower its overall price, and a number of scholarships also be made available upon request. Volunteers are needed to help set up concerts and events, and assure that everything runs smoothly so that the teachers can spend their time teaching.
Seward schools does not offer a string program, so this is a unique opportunity for children to test the waters both for traditional music, and to see if they would like to follow up on their own with private string lessons in the community, said local camp facilitator Heidi Zemach.
Some have taken that opportunity since last summer. Other students have kept in touch with their teacher-mentors, discussed class assignments, and look forward to seeing them again, she said.
Registration and information is available at www.bluegrasscampsforkids.com or by calling Heidi at 224-6473.