California Report: CBA Music Camp Transitions

Mike Compton leads a mandolin workshop at the 2022 CBA Music Camp

The California Bluegrass Association Music Camp that immediately proceeds the Fathers Day Festival calls Wednesday transition day, which is a very applicable theme for life and this short column. Change can be hard for many but if a person or organization identifies the goals and maps out a transition plan with the right leaders, it doesn’t have to be painful.

Of course, CBA is no stranger to change and transition having moved the organization to engage youth, diversity, old-time music, and now geography judging by the ever-increasing presence of southern California events and participants. So it is no surprise that transition day is smooth sailing as the Nevada County fairgrounds location in Grass Valley expands nearly tenfold from a mellow and highly engaging camp to a full-on world-class music festival. I’m not going to list a lot of names for fear of leaving someone out but I must say that under the stewardship of board member, Karen Celia Heil, the camp transitioned in two new coordinators this year, Janet Peterson and Adam “Rosco” Roszkiewicz who did a bang-up job. I had the privilege of supporting them in the office for the camp and transition, and even though the slotted transition coordinator was unable to attend, it couldn’t have been smoother. 

Campers registration kicks off Sunday with most people checked in before the first meal Sunday evening. The schedule for the three days of instruction starts with breakfast then intensive morning classes before gathering again for lunch. The afternoon is made up of a wide range of electives, hosted jams, and the like before the very popular ice cream break followed by more electives. After dinner, there are various events including meet the instructors, Contra and Square Dances, Bluegrass Karaoke, more hosted jams, plus a staff concert and of course camp jamming that generally doesn’t go too late before starting all over the next day. The last day of camp concludes with student concerts, volunteer bands on Vern’s Stage, and a finale show this year featuring the band Grasswood. Special thanks must go out to the sound crew of Paul Knight & Colleen Conley for these shows which gives students a chance to experience playing on stage with the best sound in the business.

This year’s stellar list of instructors included Brandon Godman, Cary Black, Celia Woodsmith, Greg Blake, Greg Cahill, Jack Tuttle, John Reischman, Kathleen Rushing, Laurie Lewis, Leo Shannon, Mike Compton, Patrick Sauber, Riley Calcagno, Sally Van Meter, Sami Braman, Steve Pottier, Vickie Vaughn, and Vivian Leva. Lastly, as reported here in 2019, the Director of the CBA Youth Academy and co-founder of Della Mae, Kimber Ludiker put together a parallel camp just for kids featuring classes, concerts, jamming, and other surprises.

One of the traditions of the Fathers day Festival is for artists to sing or play the national anthem just before the music begins on the main stage at 10 AM. The following video with Brandon Godman and Miles Quale captures the Thursday morning beginning of the festival and ending of the camp transition.

Video by Dave Berry and Mariaelena Quale

Photos by Dave Berry, Alan Bond, and John Woodworth

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About the Author

Dave Berry

Dave Berry is a California based author, mandolin picker, and composer who writes the California Report column for Bluegrass Today. He grew up in the Ohio Valley right between where the Big Sandy and Big Scioto rivers dump into the Ohio. His articles, Morning Walk album, and video are available on streaming sites and his website at