RAM Camp opens next week, all musicians welcome

You don’t have to be accomplished to go to the two-day camp, organizers say

The second annual Rossland Acoustic Music Camp takes place at the Seven Summits Learning Centre, Sept. 28 to 30.

With a staff of eight instructors, the camp offers classes in guitar, ukulele, claw-hammer banjo, voice, percussion, songwriting, and performance.

The camp begins with instructor demonstrations on Friday evening, then students are given time to sign up for their chosen classes.

“We adopted a model used by other music camps on the coast for decades, so everybody can expect to get into the classes they want,” says Dave Scanlan, who started RAM Camp as a fundraiser for Seven Summits Learning Centre last year. “The biggest complaints we heard last year came from students who wished they didn’t have to choose just two classes out of 12 options.

“Some wanted to do everything. This year, we have increased our teaching staff by 33 per cent, creating more options. We have modified the schedule, repeating some classes on the second day, to give students the option of taking two, three, or even four classes over Saturday and Sunday.”

RAM Camp is open to anyone aged 14 and up, and last year, organizers were thrilled to see teens mingling with musicians in their 80s during the formal and informal jam sessions that ran until midnight.

A common misconception is that people need to play or sing well in order to attend.

“If you think you need to practice for another year before RAM Camp, that’s a sure sign that you belong here this year,” Scanlan says.

Instructors are chosen for equal amounts of skill and patience, and more experienced students are usually very gracious about offering pointers to new musicians.

A centrepiece of the camp will be a student concert on Saturday evening, giving students the option to perform one song, with or without backup from fellow students or instructors.

Performing is not mandatory. The camp promotes a safe and nurturing environment for all musicians, therefore the concert is only open to staff and registered students. Students are welcome to bring family members to a wrap-in barbecue in one of the local parks after classes end on Sunday.

Registration is limited to 70 students. Further details about RAM Camp can be found at ramcamp.wordpress.com, or on Facebook.

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