Award-winning acoustic stars hailing from touring acts that include Punch Brothers and Bruce Hornsby will host workshops starting Thursday at Camp Blodgett along Lake Michigan.
Bassist Paul Kowert of Punch Brothers, fiddler John Mailander of Bruce Hornsby & The Noisemakers, mandolinist Don Julin, banjoist/guitarist Rachael Davis, guitarist Hayes Griffin and other acoustic virtuosos will pump up the return of this weekend’s Great Lakes Music Camp at Camp Blodgett along Lake Michigan.
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After a two-year COVID hiatus, the sold-out camp returns to the West Olive location with 100 registered attendees, including 20 budding young musicians funded through a youth scholarship program.
“Our instructor lineup is incredible and we’re sold out in our return, so I’m just grateful to have an opportunity to gather and do something we all love,” said Jason Wheeler, executive director of the Great Lakes Music Camp, mandolinist for Fauxgrass and one of the weekend instructors.
The staff of 15 internationally recognized instructors will stage workshops in guitar, mandolin, banjo, fiddle, bass, vocals, songwriting, music industry podcasting and performance Thursday through Sunday at Camp Blodgett Loeks Retreat Center.
The camp provides varying levels of instruction – from beginner to advanced – with jam sessions and bluegrass, folk, swing and Americana concerts taking place through the weekend.
“Our mission is to perpetuate traditional music in West Michigan,” Wheeler said of the “unique experience” that the camp provides attendees.
Founded in 2017, the camp partners with the nonprofit Grand River Watershed Arts/Music Council and this year has launched its Great Lakes Music Youth Academy, which adds music arrangement and performance instruction for middle school and high school musicians.
“This is more than a student learning from a teacher. This is an opportunity for the youth to engage with their musical heroes and even perform alongside them,” Wheeler said, noting that the young musicians will perform on Saturday evening after a day of instruction.
Of course, acoustic jams will be a big part of this year’s camp.
“I am most looking forward to the late-night jams and sharing in a powerful musical experience with everyone,” Wheeler said.
Other instructors this weekend include multi-instrumentalist Bruce Ling, bassist Todd Phillips, banjoists Gina Furtado, Keith Billik and Tray Wellington, fiddlers Emerald Rae and Jane Rothfield, guitarists Nate Roberts, Ross Martin and Stash Wyslouch, songwriter Joe Newberry, bassist Kevin Gills, and mandolinists Joe K. Walsh and Mike Compton.
Get more information about the camp at greatlakesmusic.org and check out Local Spins coverage of the 2019 camp.
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