Mandolin Camp North 2019 is in the books

Mandolin Camp North was held last weekend at Prindle Pond Conference Center in Charlton Massachusetts with 90 happy students.

The weather started out cold and drizzly on Friday but turned glorious on Saturday, encouraging plenty of outdoor classes and jamming.

Mandolin Camp North was also an auspicious start for the administration of new Music Camps North President, Kelly Stockwell of Putney Vermont, taking over from long-time Music Director and President Emeritus, Phil Zimmerman. Her goal is that EVERYONE, from student to instructor, has a good time. Phil remains on the Board of Directors and was present all through camp, as usual, with his wife and Camp volunteer Marcia Goodman.

Campers came from as far away as Utah, Canada and England. Most of course were from the Northeast. Seven deserving campers earned partial or full scholarships to Mandolin Camp North.

Instructors included:  Don Stiernberg, Mike Compton, Alan Bibey, Carl Jones, Lorraine Hammond, Laura Orshaw, Tony Watt, David Benedict, Joe K Walsh, Sharon Gilchrist, Akira Otsuka, Jim Richter, Matt Flinner, Barry Mitterhof, David Surette, Skip Gorman, Ben Pearce and Phil Zimmerman. They, and the campers, were supported musically by an eager group of guitarists, fiddlers, banjo pickers, bass fiddle players and singers. Approximately 80 different lessons were presented for novices to advanced players. Mandolin styles included bluegrass, old time, folk, blues, jazz and rock and roll.

The Faculty gave concerts Friday and Saturday nights.  A particular highlight was a rousing version of David Grisman’s Dawg’s Bull. Band leader Tony Watt recruited Joe K Walsh, David Benedict and Alan Bibey for the triple mandolins.  

Student feedback always gives highest marks to the extensive opportunities to jam, with both instructors and fellow students.  

Turns out, instructors like to jam too.  After their full days of teaching, and after going off the clock from guided jams – some instructors stayed up until the wee hours jamming “across genres”.

Campers were sent home Sunday afternoon with sore fingers and brains bursting with lessons and new friendships.

Next up, the mighty Banjo Camp North at the same location, May 17, 18 and 19.

Go to, or the Facebook pages Mandolin Camp North, and Banjo Camp North, for more information. Music Camps North is a non-profit 501-C-3 organization.

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About the Author

Dick Bowden

Dick Bowden is a VERY traditional bluegrass picker and fan from New England, who makes occasional contributions to Bluegrass Today representing the old timers' viewpoints.