Letters from Camp: Day 7

Jim Gabehart is journaling his time at the Pete Wernick Dr. Banjo Advanced Banjo Camp this week.

After the excitement of our concert night, the morning of our last day began quietly, with discussion and reflection on the prior night’s performance. Travel schedules and other circumstances (quickly approaching snow in the mountains blocking one of the camper’s path home) forced some early departures.

As the day passed, the remaining campers had more opportunities for individual attention from Pete. Each of us had the opportunity to play some of our solos on vocal numbers and get Pete’s suggestions for improvement.

Interspersed amongst all of the instruction and substantive content, one of my favorite parts of camp was Pete’s anecdotes and recollections of his 40 years of making his living as a bluegrass musician, teacher, and author. Aside from his opportunities as a fellow artist to interact with other bluegrass legends, he interviewed many of the greats of this music in his capacity as an author, and the stories and illustrations he used in making points were both entertaining and informative.

Before closing my reports, I again want to thank Geoff Stelling and Stelling Banjos for the scholarship assistance that helped make my attendance possible. This was an experience I’ll never forget and I know Valerie and I have made some new friends and fans in Colorado and as well as the states all around the country represented by the other campers.

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About the Author

James Gabehart

Jim has been playing the banjo, and other string instruments for nearly 40 years. Since joining the musicians union and becoming a performing musician at the age of 15, he won five West Virginia State Banjo Championships, as well as dozens of other competitions, and has taught hundreds of students. Jim was elected as Prosecuting Attorney for Lincoln County, WV in November 2012, and is an active touring performer with his wife and musical partner, Valerie. Learn more about their music at www.JimandValerieGabehart.com.