The horrors! Slobbering five-stringers have been invited to drool all over the proceedings at this year’s Monroe Mandolin Camp in Nashville.
But seriously, after mando purists pick themselves up off the floor, they’ll recognize what camp managers Mike Compton and Heidi Herzog have to say about the change. To wit, that Bill Monroe himself loved the banjo and considered it to be a critical part of his music. So there.
Included this year at Mon Man Camp in September will be a traditional banjo track designed for intermediate and advanced players. There will be no beginner classes for banjo, unlike the main mandolin courses. Instructors will include Scruggs-style master Charlie Cushman, former Blue Grass Boys Butch Robins and Blake Williams, noted instructor and player Bill Evans, Nashville banjoists Dave Talbot and Alan O’Bryant, and the maestro, Béla Fleck.
Also on hand will be Emily Epley, Director of the Earl Scruggs Center in North Carolina.
Only 15 students will be accepted in the banjo track this first year, so interested students are urged to register early, which can be accomplished online.
An old time mandolin track is likewise new this year, allowing 8-stringers to study the styles that influenced Bill Monroe as he was learning to play in the early 20th century.
Scholarship assistance is available for players 18 and younger. Full details can be found online.