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Bluegrass Camps for Kids |

Bluegrass Camps for Kids is a unique experience for your child to be exposed to bluegrass, old-time, and folk music. It is a well rounded camp, teaching everything from individual instruments (beginning through advanced), to dance, singing, jamming, songwriting, and performing. Children gain a love for traditional music that will last them their entire lifetime.

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Bluegrass Camps for Kids is a one of a kind experience for your child to be exposed to bluegrass, old-time, and folk music.  It is a well rounded camp, in that we teach everything from individual instruments (beginning through advanced), to dance, singing, jamming, songwriting, and performing. Children gain a love for traditional music that will last them their entire lifetime.

Bluegrass Camps for Kids is a 3 to 5 day camp, for children ages 6-16, organized by Kate Hamre, and taught by highly experienced teachers from the bluegrass and folk community. Bluegrass Camps for Kids has taught thousands of kids worldwide, including over 80 locations in the U.S., Canada, and Ireland. Ms. Hamre has B.S. in Elementary Education from University of Idaho, and has hired a dedicated staff of teachers that are well rehearsed in all aspects of teaching music.  We have a very well thought out curriculum, as well as tried and true instruction methods and classroom management skills, honed by years of teaching children, in the general classroom, private lessons, and music camps.  

Through an advanced registration form, children pick from a wide range of classes; all levels of guitar, bass, banjo, fiddle, songwriting, jamming, dance, and vocals are offered. Campers are also involved in a band class with their peers, daily jams, square dances, open mics, art projects, optional private lessons, and games, as well as an end of camp concert for their friends and family. Campers do not need to have any previous instruction, as Bluegrass Camps for Kids teaches beginners up to advanced levels. Bluegrass Camps for Kids is also supported by a camp songbook that includes many traditional bluegrass and folk songs, written music, chord sheets, recommendations for practicing and additional resources to encourage further study.


A Day at Camp

Typically, camp begins at 10am with registration. The camp opens each day with a fun group event for the entire camp: sing-a-longs, square dances, jams, or other activities. Children then divide into the classes chosen when they registered: an assortment of instruments and levels, anywhere from Beginning Bass, to Teen Vocals, to Advanced Fiddle. Campers get an opportunity to increase their knowledge about an instrument they already play, or start learning about a new one. Two other classes of their choice follow, with a lunch time, and then the campers are grouped into bands of 6-8 students per band. After these four classes, students get to pick from an assortment of afternoon activities like jamming, games, open mic, or art. The culmination of the camp is a Camp Concert, where each band performs for families and friends.


Typical Camp Schedule:

Friends and family members are welcome to come to the Morning Activities! Please come support our campers!

10:00am - Morning Activity (Morning registration starts on the first day. We recommend you come early with your parent or guardian.)

10:30am - Block 1

11:30am - Block 2

12:30pm - Lunch

1:00pm - Block 3

2:00pm - Band

3:00pm - Afternoon Activity

3:30pm - Done for the Day!

Fine arts camps of any sort can be intense for young ones.  While we highly encourage participation from the younger folk, we request that students from 6-7 be accompanied by a parent, but it is not necessary.  We also ask that the students have completed First Grade or equivalent prior to attending camp.

*Check with your local camp for the camp schedule. This is just typically what we do. The Camp and Promoter reserve the right to change the schedule.

Bluegrass Camp for Kids returns

It's back, the Homer Bluegrass Camp for Kids. If the past years are any indication, youngsters from 6 to 16 years old are in for three days of fun, June 8-10.
Musical ability is not needed, with classes offered for a variety of skill levels.
"We welcome all ages and all abilities," said Kate Hamre, camp director.
Knowledge of musical instruments isn't necessary, either.
"We've had kids come that don't even know what a mandolin is and that's cool," said Hamre.
Ownership of instruments isn't required, either. Hamre and her staff of teachers arrive with instruments to share.
"It's nice if you know someone with a student instrument you can borrow, but don't worry about it if you don't," said Hamre.
Classes offered at the Homer camp include beginning, intermediate and advanced banjo, bass, fiddle, guitar and mandolin; twin fiddle; dance; music exploration; vocals; jamming; and songwriting.
"We usually offer songwriting to the 11-year-olds and older or those that are a little more advanced and have some musical background," said Hamre. "Last year was the first year we offered it and Mary Schallert taught it and they came up with some amazing songs, chords and lyrics. I hope we get some signed up for it again this year."
There also is a class called, simply, "band."
"It's for six or seven kids to work up a song and some singing and make a performance," said Hamre. "They have to smile and introduce the band and the number, maybe throw in a few jokes."
At 3:30 p.m. on the last day of the camp, the public is invited to come in and watch the bands perform.
"We have people not even involved in the camps that know about it," said Hamre of past year's audiences for the bands' performances. "Everybody is welcome to come and show support for the kids."
It isn't only the kids having a musical good time. There are plenty of opportunities for adults to volunteer, according to Mo Wilkinson of Homer, who is helping organize the camp.
"You can help check kids in, help participate in a sing-a-along first thing in the morning. We have snacks during the day, so you could be getting snacks ready. On the last day you could be setting chairs up for the concert," said Wilkinson. "In the afternoons, at the very last of the day we go outside and do an outdoor activity, soccer or something. So you could be in charge of that."
If adults want to get involved musically, there also is the possibility of classes being offered.
"Call Mo and tell her if you're interested. If there's enough interest, we'll put it together," said Hamre.
Hamre grew up in Anchorage, immersed in the sounds of bluegrass thanks to her musician parents and their friends. Beginning at the age of 14, she performed with Bearfoot Bluegrass at festivals around the country. The group's fourth album, "Doors and Windows," hit number one on the Billboard Bluegrass Charts. She left Bearfoot a year ago and took over continuation of the bluegrass camps.
"I love to teach and have a degree in elementary education ... so I said I'd do this," said Hamre of picking up the activity that was formerly organized by Bearfoot.
Her faculty for the Homer camp includes four-time returning Mary Graham, who plays piano and mandolin; Amanda Kerr, who has been fiddling since she was four years old, is the four-time Alaska State Fair Fiddle Contest winner and the 2004 National Junior Fiddle Champion; Emily McLaughlin, a singer, guitar player and founding member of Anchorage teen band, Seekbob; Mary Schallert, who has recorded four CDs and is director of Alaska City Folk Arts Camp, director of Stellar school choir and teaches fiddle and violin; and Garren Volper, a bassist/guitarist currently playing in a bluegrass band called High Lonesome Sound.

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McKibben Jackinsky, Homer News





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