January 2, 2012


Hi everyone!



Hope y’all had a great holiday, and that the new year treats you well.


While early, a good number of folks have already preregistered for the camp, and if applications continue to flow in at the present rate, we’ll be at capacity much earlier than expected.  That said, the camp’s success has a lot to do with an atmosphere of mutual support – a feeling that is generated as much by the participants as it is by the attitude and ability of the instructors. 



To foster the comeraderie that makes a camp experience great, its helpful to get a jump-start on things by registrants posting a brief introduction about themselves, along with a few words about what it is they hope to get from the classes and overall camp experience.  Since a good number of last year’s attendees are already signed up, I’m hoping they’ll post a personal “welcome”, as well as some suggestions as to what those coming for the first time can do to get ready.  



So, for those of you ready to say “howdy”, please feel free to do so here.  I’ll try to get your posts up as quickly as I can, knowing this forum will (as it did last year) help all “hit the ground running” when camp begins.





1. Don Bacon | January 02, 2012 at 03:32 PM EST

Hi all, Don Bacon checking in. I’ll be in the April 2012 camp and I would like to know more about my new classmates so I’d better bare my musical soul first.

I started on the mando about ten years ago and it has been off and on since then, mostly off. But I’m motivated again, took the mando off the shelf, and am toughening my fingertips for some fun.

My tiny repertoire is coming back to me, kind of like getting on a bicycle again.

–pickin tunes like: red haired boy, liberty, over the waterfall, kiowa special, irish washer woman, blue grass special, and

–pikin n singin tunes like: heavy traffic ahead, true life blues, nobody loves me, im a goin back to old kentucky, kentucky waltz (my fave).

That said, I know that I have some faults.

1. I started off hammering the strings & used to break a string every week or so (no longer), therefore I have to concentrate on playing more softly remembering the goal is to make music and not noise, which helps me with–

2. Playing less sloppy with extra notes and maybe dropping one or two, and striking muted strings on chords.

3. I live in a remote area and have never done jamming so I start playing when I feel like it and probably play an uneven tempo. I’ll crank up a metronome to work on that.

4. While I can play my accordion from notes, transferring notes to string positions is a chore so I learn from notation and memorize. I don’t know music theory. Fourths, fifths, majors, minors — all Greek to me.

I just sent my deposit off and am looking forward to April, plus hearing about others’ experiences. Also if anyone has some advice it’s welcome. If there’s perchance anyone in (far)east San Diego County that wants to play, drop me (in Jacumba) a note.



2. Nancy Brunson | January 04, 2012 at 03:17 PM EST

I just sent in my offical registration for this year’s camp. I learned so much last year. Mostly I learned that there are others who are my age and learning and not to be so hard on myself for not playing very well, to just enjoy the learning curve. Thank you to Avery for the endless support during and after camp. It makes such a difference. Can’t wait for camp !!

3. Bill Klein | January 09, 2012 at 08:12 PM EST

Hi everyone,

My name is Bill Klein and this will be my first visit to Julian. I’ve played guitar since I was 14 (I’m 60 now), mandolin for three years and have been fiddling for almost a year now. I’m looking forward to comparing notes on such things as how to hold the thing so it doesn’t hurt so much, how to know when to up bow and when to down bow and the like. I’d also like to learn about double stops but that might be too advanced for me. We’ll see. Greatly looking forward to it!

4. Carol Arndt | January 26, 2012 at 01:07 PM EST

Hi Everyone,

My name is Carol Arndt and this will be my 2nd time to the Julian Family Fiddle Camp and I’m very excited that the time is passing quickly and the date will soon be here! My husband Norman Arndt will be there with me and its his second year also. We both had such a wonderful time last year and met so many nice people and new friends.

I’ve learned to play the fiddle by ear. I can read the notes, but have no idea where they are on the strings. However, I’m not alone. The teachers were wonderful! They were very patient, talented and helpful and took the time to help you individually if you needed it.

The evening performances were amazing and a lot of fun!

Thank you Avery for the support during and after the camp. A special thank you to Avery’s wife and children who help Avery keep everything rolling. They are a very special family.

I’m looking forward to seeing you all soon.

5. Mark Pullin | January 29, 2012 at 12:30 PM EST

Hello All: I am looking forward to the camp. I have enjoyed jamming at local bluegrass festivals, but this is the first camp or extended class I have attended. I am looking to the chance to escape work and focus on music. I hope to improve my guitar flatpicking skills and also hope to improve my basic mandolin. I also look forward to jamming with folks and singing harmony on some tunes. See you soon! Regards, Mark

6. Roland Sturm | January 31, 2012 at 01:43 PM EST

Hi Everybody,

My daughter Anya (age 11 and in 6th grade at John Adams Middle School in Santa Monica) and me (49, economist at the RAND Corporation) will be there in April (our first time). Anya requested that as a delayed birthday present as we couldn’t go to a fiddle camp last year (normally a summer family activity).

Our family play a lot of music, occasionally together, but we all have our own separate musical circles as well. I am an co-organizer of the Topanga Banjo Fiddle Festival, book concerts series for the National Park Service, lead a monthly jam session for the California Traditional Music Society, and have a regular column in Folkworks (link to those at the bottom, it is a very long clumsy one).

Maybe some of you will join us at the Topanga Banjo Fiddle Contest ( this year. Many of your teachers at the camp have been there (Evan performed last year and Scott and Katie have won repeated awards in the contest). If a kids group forms at the camp, I’d make some space to give them a brief performance slot at the Eucalyptus Grove! There is a documentary of the 50th TBFC on youtube to give you a feel of the festival, and you can actually get a brief glimpse of Katie Harvey around minute 19 with her 1st place winning performance of Ragtime Annie in intermediate fiddle (out of about 25 or so entries in intermediate fiddle).

Anya loves Katie, but tries to challenge her in contests and usually they place near each other. Katie took 1st place that year, Anya ended up 2nd with this set of tunes (I’m playing backup on guitar):

And as indicated above, here is a link to my columns in Folkworks, covering tunes from other fiddle camps, about the jam scene in Los Angeles, and Southwest Fiddle.

7. Archie Breeden | February 13, 2012 at 02:17 PM EST

Well I finally made the decision and sent in my registration. I am a guitar player and singer who enjoys bluegrass and old time fiddle tunes. I have been playing longer than I like to admit and really have fun doing it. I am looking forward to a week of picking with old and new friends and having the opportunity to learn a bit. I have attended bluegrass camps so it will be interesting to get more of a Fiddle oriented perspective. All the folks I know who attended last year report great things. I have known Avery for many years and expect he will put together a great program that everyone will enjoy. Thanks Avery for providing a local opportunity to have this experience and advance musically.

8. Archie Breeden | February 18, 2012 at 05:09 PM EST

As I read my comments I realize the I only answered part of the question. I will now attempt to answer the rest of it.

What I would like to get out of this camp is evolving a bit as I think about it but besides the eternal struggle for speed I would really like to understand more about the role of the guitar in old time music and how it is evolving especially in regards to playing leads vs just backup which I believe is the traditional role of the guitar.

I want to increase my options in playing backup with an emphasis on the style used in the old time string bands such as Riley Puckett and Charlie Monroe.

Improving my lead playing, learning how to develop leads to songs and how to improvise is also high on the list.

Mainly I expect to enjoy making music with friends both old and new and if I can come away with one or two things related to my goals I will be a happy camper.

9. Alyssa McPherson | February 18, 2012 at 09:30 PM EST

My daughter Kimmy McPherson and Catherine Murray (both almost 11) will be attending with Catherine’s mom Vida (who also plays). The girls have been playing Suzuki violin for almost 5 years with a group in San Diego (San Diego Suzuki School of Music). They love fiddle music and are excited to have this opportunity to learn a lot and have some fun! I’m so happy to hear that Roland’s daughter, Anya, will be there and I shared your video with Kimmy. Have a great time!

10. Fred Burris | March 15, 2012 at 08:00 PM EDT

This is our first music Camp. Our two daughters ages 10 and 15 have been playing for a little over a year. We’re looking forward to camp.

11. Jonathan Trawick | March 24, 2012 at 10:01 AM EDT

Hey guys! 🙂

I’m looking forward to meeting you all at camp and sharing tunes! It’s so neat to read your comments and hear how excited you all are about growing and expanding musically. We’re going to have so much fun!

12. Calvin Vollrath | March 24, 2012 at 11:50 AM EDT

Well, let me tell you how excited I am to be coming back to the fiddle camp again this year.

\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\”I’m Excited\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\”

I had a wonderful time last year meeting super nice folks. I had never been in that area before to play music. I was a bit nervous because I didn’t know if my style of music would go over but it seemed to. They all made me feel like Garth Brooks. You all are so kind. Thank you.

I found the students were all keen to learn and the atmosphere was electric.

If by chance you’re in the Ventura Ca area on April 10, I will be doing a house concert. I’ll be backed by Jonathan & Evan. I’m looking forward to that as well. They are 2 great players and it will make for an interesting evening I’m sure. Contact Avery for more details.

See you all on April 11.

Calvin Vollrath

13. Avery | March 24, 2012 at 05:05 PM EDT

Have added a \”weather widget\” to the website so that all can be up to date on the weather in Julian. Go to the \”Getting There\” sub-page of our \”Julian and Camp Cedar Glen\” page, and you’ll see the forecast for Julian, CA. (

Also, the baseball and military style 2012 Julian Family Fiddle Camp caps have just arrived, and there’s pictures of several colors posted on the left side of this page. Click on the pictures for an enlarged photo (Limited supply, so get your’s early!).

See you all at camp soon!


14. Tyler Grant | March 27, 2012 at 12:36 PM EDT

Howdy Gang,

After many years as an instructor at Bluegrass, Old-Time and Acoustic Music Camps all over North America, I am thrilled to participate in my first Camp in my Home County of San Diego! I grew up in Jamul, about 45 minutes from Julian, and have spent many weekends hiking and camping around Julian, Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, the Cleveland National Forest and Anza Borrego Desert State Park. When I became involved in Bluegrass music in my early twenties I would attend the Julian Fiddle Contest and Festival. I will always carry fond memories of jam sessions in the sweet mountain air in the shade of Jeffrey Pines and Live Oaks. This April we will create many more lasting memories of sweet Bluegrass, Old-Time and Fiddle music in the Southern California mountains. I am very much looking forward to this event. Those of you who are signed up for my guitar class please feel free to contact me with any questions, comments or requests. I intend to pass on plenty of information but still show everyone a good time. Let’s Pick!

See you soon,

Tyler Grant

15. Ann Smith | April 04, 2012 at 01:19 PM EDT

My name is Ann Smith & I’ve not been to a fiddle camp. I live in Riverside County, CA perform reg-ularly throughout San Diego & the Inland Empire (fiddle/violin) playing multiple genres (bluegrass, swing jazz, folk & ethnic folk, country, some rock).

I currently play with a \”shtick\” event driven band, an older group that plays regularly in the Temecula area & most recently, have been brought into a up & coming high functioning pop country band in the Inland Empire. I have several \”duo\” partners with whom I do jazz, swing, straight ahead jazz & other \”elevator\” type music in resturants, bars,

etc. I’m also actively involved in a Spanish Music Ministry. Yes, I’m very busy.

I played bar room piano in the late 1960’s, was a marginal player at best; have played fiddle/violin about 11 years. I’m a solid intermediate player with a short ways to go to advanced level. I’m also an older player! I plan to bring my mandolin with me because I need some serious help with it! The only thing that prevents me from playing bass is it’s a finger killer & fiddle is my primary instru-ment at this time.

What I’m aiming to get out of this workshop is:

…stronger technique

…some solid performance suggestions

…meet some new friends &

…possibly figure out what the heck is going on

in the music business that will enable me to

get some more consistent & better paying work.

You can never know it all or know too much. Life is a process. I love music, I enjoy playing, but it’s always nice to be appreciated!

I’m involved in several non-profit organizations with their focus on music & the arts. I’m involved with the No. County Bluegrass & Folk Club ( & volunteer for the Diamond Valley Arts Council (

Look forward to seeing some old friends & making some new ones!


ann smith

16. Avery | April 04, 2012 at 07:07 PM EDT

Good to read some new entries. THANKS!

An added note: Local luthier, Bob Gravlin, took a one-time sow’s ear and turned it into a – sow’s purse. Yep, the time-worn jalopy-of-a-fiddle used at last year’s camp as a receptacle for donations to this year’s scholarship fund has been refurbished. It still looks funky, but man can that thing SING! Yesiree … It’s raring to go (play), and will be auctioned off (silent bids) at this year’s camp. Funds from the auction will, like last year, help support the 2013 Julian Family Fiddle Camp’s Scholarship Fund, so take a look (, and give the baby a try at next week’s camp.


17. KenWright | April 04, 2012 at 11:57 PM EDT

I am Ken Wright, a Julian resident of 42 yrs and live an easy walking distance to Camp Cedar Glen. I play guitar, and own a fiddle! lol I am primarily a flatpick guy with a strong leaning to bluegrass style and fiddle tunes. I enjoy singing also and have been involved with the local Julian music scene over many years. I didn’t participate last year but attended the evening concerts and was throughly entertained both nights. I became a fan of Calvin’s and Evan’s as well as the other amazing players there. Since then , I’ve gotten to know Avery and play with him a bit and have decided to sign up to learn more on the guitar from Tyler and John. I’ve always liked the Texas style backup and would like to have some instruction in that type of chording. I could also use some help with scales in playing the neck more fully. I will be at the camp as much as possible considering my wife has just come off of knee replacement surgery and will need me to help her during the days at times. I look forward to the experience and meeting all who attend…should be big fun, Ken

18. Steve Mayer | April 05, 2012 at 07:47 PM EDT

My name is Steve Mayer and I’m returning for my 2nd installment of the Julian Family Fiddle camp. If you’ve watched the Fiddle Camp video, I’m the tall, skinny guy in the bright yellow shirt. I’ll be returning with my son Boone, 13, who plays fiddle. I’m a long-time piano player who picked up mandolin later in life and I’ve learned a handful of bluegrass and fiddle tunes (e.g. Tennessee Waltz, Whiskey Before Breakfast, Temperance Reel).

Last year’s camp was big fun and I can’t wait for more of the same. I’m looking to learn new tunes, get a chance to hang out and play with others, and discover more about getting good tone from a pick.

See you all on the 11th,


19. Fred Burris | April 18, 2012 at 01:24 AM EDT

We had a great time at JFC 2012. The instructors were wonderful, the camp facilities and location were perfect. We really enjoyed the evening concerts and open mic sessions. We’re looking forward to next year. We enjoyed meeting everyone Thanks to all who made the Camp possible.

20. Bill Klein | April 18, 2012 at 12:57 PM EDT

The camp was definitely worth a trip from Washington. San Diego’s snow made me feel right at home! The camp was great – great people, great instructors, great organization, great location, and great new friends. Avery & family have built a wonderful fiddle camp here and I hope to be able to come back again soon.

One suggestion: It would be nice if the instructors would post their workshop topics on the white board in the morning so we could know what our choices were for the day. Oh, and maybe you could sell souvenir windshield scrapers!


21. Lauren Humphrey | May 12, 2012 at 10:41 AM EDT

Hello fellow campers and potential future attendees,

2012 was the extended Humphrey family’s second year at the Julian Family Fiddle Camp and this year we all took lessons and had a fabulous time again. Last year, we hiked, climbed, shot arrows, and swam during our short breaks. This year several inches of snow blanketed the camp. My husband’s parents, who are about as musically challenged as I am had a blast with Martha Wild playing the Mountain Dulcimers. Our girls, Willow and Violet learned so much in Calvin’s class and were inspired by and benefited from Avery (the younger’s) insights, creativity and teachings. Most importantly, they had the best time having snow ball fights, dancing the Monkey dance and other traditional barn dances, making new friends and re-connecting with those from last year. Willow even has a new pen pal, who sends the most endearing letters by snail mail. Connecting with so many wonderful, talented, friendly and down to earth people in nature and getting to enjoy the most awesome concerts ever were some of my favorite parts.

JIm loved his guitar classes with Tyler and Jonathan and made new friends with whom he and the girls been jamming around town and on several other local camping trips. The experiences and friends have just broadened our bluegrass, fiddle and contra dance circle and we have started attending the contra dances in San Diego. Willow jammed with Martha’s Community Band, \”More the Merrier\” and we’re going again tomorrow night.

I had a stupendous time in Jane’s class, who is the dearest person and master teacher and supplies a constant source of encouragement, amazement and expertise for all of us. The delicious, nutritious, and balanced family style meals allowed me to actually focus on music for hours at a time. All in all, we can’t wait for next year’s camp and hope more bluegrass and old time fiddle lovers will partake this rare and fabulous musical immersion.

Much gratitude goes to Avery Ellisman and his family for putting their hearts and souls into this camp!!!

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