I’ve been going to music camp for an eternity. Actually that’s terribly false. I never went to music camp as a child. Horseback riding camp, church camp, sports camp, girl scout camp…definitely but never music camp. I was first introduced to music camp as an adult about 12 years ago. I’ve never stopped going ever since. I have gone to camp as the “oldest middle schooler”, oh yes I shared a music stand with a 7th grader who was way beyond my level and I have spent time at adult only camps where most of us were struggling to make any pleasurable sound resonate from our instruments. Truth be told I have enjoyed them all. This past summer I attended two camps….Brian Wicklund’s FiddlePal Camp in Marine on St. Croix, a week-long camp filled with students ranging in age from perhaps six to sixty…. and Meadowlark Music Camp in Washington, Maine where the nightly cocktail hour and Friday lobster feast are at least as important as the six hours of folk music instruction each day. Music camp is one of those other world experiences where all lines of hierarchy are not only blurred but completely destroyed. Where the most common utterance is “cool song, can you teach it to me?” And where often times it is a 40-year-old asking that of a 10-year-old. I have met my best friends at music camp. The people I see only once a year and yet know would come to my rescue if ever needed, no questions asked. It is the place where I learned that “professional musicians” have no secret weapons and have walked along the exact same path as every other lifetime learner.
One of the first camps I ever attended was located at Camp Edwards in East Troy, Wisconsin. My fiddle teacher, Randy Sabien, was there as an instructor and suggested I try it out. The camp has gone on for decades in various derivations – week-long summer camps or weekend retreats, hosted at Camp Edwards or at resorts. Despite the changes, the essence of it has never changed. It is a respite from the daily throes of life. A couple of days where you can leave the worries of the world behind and immerse yourself in the simple pleasures of life….singing songs, making music, enjoying a walk through the woods with a friend. Stringalong Weekend is back again this year at Camp Edwards from November 5th-7th. Check it out, you won’t be disappointed.