Mandolin Camp North celebrates successful return

Don Stiernberg and Joe K Walsh sunning themselves at Mandolin Camp North – photo by Kelly Stockwell

Music Camps North, located at Prindle Pond Conference Center in Charlton, Massachusetts, came roaring back to life April 22-24 with Mandolin Camp North. Attendance was back at pre-pandemic levels.

President Kelly Stockwell, and her Board of Directors, volunteers, and jam support staff, hosted a big group of campers and instructors during a weekend of fine spring weather. COVID vaccinations were required. Testing and masking was left to personal choice. Kelly stated, “Our goal was to hire plenty of musicians, fill up Prindle Pond, and host a safe and fun weekend of mandolin immersion.  Mission accomplished!”

Four fortunate students attended on full scholarship!

Mandolin Camp offered 114 classes over the 48 hour weekend. Twenty-five instructors covered many mandolin styles. A few classes were offered for guitar and fiddle too. Subjects included bluegrass, old time, jazz, swing, rock, blues, and Celtic.

The schedule included the usual mix of formal classes, organized jams, faculty concerts and free-time jamming. Music Camps North hired a staff of jam support musicians on guitar, bass, and banjo to give the campers a full sound in their jams.

For the instrument geeks, there was a spectrum of instruments of various shapes and brands, including an original The Gibson Mando-Bass (wow!), plenty of fine luthier-made mandolins including the famed Australian makers, and even a couple of Loars.

Since the last Mandolin Camp in April of 2019, a few of the stalwart staff have passed on (but not due to COVID), and at the Faculty Concert a moment of silence was observed in memory of past-President Phil Zimmerman, sound man Mike Rivers, and instructor David Surette.

The Instructor Roster comprised: Alan Bibey, Mike Compton, Maddie Witler, Don Stiernberg, Jim Richter, Lorraine and Bennett Hammond, Matt Flinner, Frank Solivan, Joe K Walsh, Annie Staninec and John Kael, Skip Gorman, Louise Bichan, Claudine Langille, Carl Jones and Erynn Marshall, Richie Brown, Grant Gordy, Ben Pearce, Tony Watt, Eli Gilbert, Lincoln Meyers and Steve Roy.

Mandolin Camp has been part of  the Music Camps North event roster since 2005. Banjo Camp North will celebrate its 20th year May 13-15. Music Camps North is now a registered non-profit.

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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.