November 6, 2012

JFFC November Update

Howdy All!


Since last entry, Julian Family Fiddle Camper, Maril Parker and husband Gregg, held the annual “Applepalooza” party at their lovely Julian home, and darned if there weren’t some twenty fiddle camp alumni there!   Great time – unbelievable food, and of course, apple pie and fresh-pressed apple juice.  Will note that, while he couldn’t be there, fiddle camper Buzzy Geist managed to provide the event with a fantastic variety of sausages he personally makes and markets.  REALLY  – REALLY – good stuff!!

The day after the Parker’s event, I and a good number of other “fiddlemeisters” made it out to Goleta, CA for the annual Old Time Fiddlers Convention and Festival.  Am pleased to note that, yet again, our own Katie and Thomas Harvey walked away with a number of prizes for fiddling and picking, and I even got some attention for whatever it is I do on the mandolin.   While there, I had chance to meet and speak with a great mandolin player, Sharon Gilchrist, as well as enjoy the fantastic flatfoot dancing of Nashville native, Rebecca Stout.  With some luck, Rebecca will be at the 2013 camp to demo and instruct those interested in this traditional form of dance and music accompaniment – a true folk art that, like fiddle music itself, has deep and old roots, yet remains a timeless joy.


As for the 2013 camp, registrations are already rolling in, and to make it easier to secure space, we’re now set up to accept payments via PayPal  As you can see from the website’s Instructors page, we’ve a full compliment of top-notch teachers for fiddle, mandolin, guitar and banjo and, should the “cards and letters” prove there’s enough interest, we’ll add some instruction on upright bass.


In addition to the above, I’m extremely pleased to note that the Julian Family Fiddle Camp has been accepted for review by Fractured Atlas, a wonderful nation-wide non-profit organization that provides fiscal sponsorship for young and select organizations promoting and advancing the arts.  On assumption that we pass their review, the Julian Family Fiddle Camp will be adopted by the organization, and while functionally independent, able to solicit and receive tax-deductible donations, i.e., something that is critical for our student scholarship fund, as well as securing the support necessary to cover many of the costs associated with annual camp production.


I will be posting more about the camp soon, noting that there will be a new page added to the website that will clarify the procedure for making tax deductible donations in support of the camp in general, or to specifically contribute to the Camp’s scholarship fund.


I’ll keep you up to date, and look forward to reading your posts here as well.




1. NorthWestFiddler | November 07, 2012 at 06:57 AM EST

Looks like a great camp – and a great party.

Hope to make it to next April’s camp!


2. Ann Smith | November 07, 2012 at 08:18 PM EST

Hi Avery,

I had the opportunity to attend the 2012 Julian Family Fiddle

Camp & wanted to thank you for the time and energy that went in

to making this a meaningful experience for aspiring & skllled

players, both in and out of the regional area.

I don’t want this to sound like an ad for Julian Family Fiddle

Camp, but as someone who has been involved in the No. County San

Diego music community, I think Julian Fiddle Camp, for the be-

ginning and even experienced musician, is a good place to start.

It’s an opportuntiy to expand your musical horizons. It provides

a window into musical possibilites, which some attendees might

other wise not get.

I’ve spent many years in San Diego, both as a learner, jammer

and later as a performer throughout So. California. I’m so happy

to see this camp. We have such a need for a camp like this and

why no one has put one together before now is beyond me. It takes

a special person with a genuine love of learning and music to at-

tempt to share this kind of experinece in a large scale envi-

ronment. It provides an opportunity for aspiring youth and adults.

I hope the camp succeeds beyond your dreams.

The eclectic array of camp attendees was amazing, with a broad

based mix of youth, adults and varying skill levels from very

beginning to advanced players. There was a place for every one

and all were encouraged. I think we all came with the same goal,

to learn and have fun doing it.

It was a an enthusiastic bunch of \\\”campees\\\”. The concerts were energetic and satifying.

You had an impressive group of instructors. I had the oppoor-

tunity to hear and play with Avery Merrit at a jam earlier in

2012. He is a protege & a nice kid! He’ll be 18 soon, so

legally, no longer a kid! He’s got an impressive future ahead

of him. Calvin Volrath is a truly gifted amd entertaining fiddle

player and teacher. Tyler Grant is an extroadinary musician and

from what I heard from those who took sessions with him, a fine instructor. Evan Marshall is in a class all by himself, a true virtuoso. All instructors were exceptional in their ability to

relate, teach concepts in an understable and fun environment. I

know the kids had a really fun time, with many getting the

emcouragement they needed, some for the first time. The parents

I spoke with were extremely pleased with what they felt the kids learned. Playing in an accepting & relaxing enviornmnet is abos-

lutely the best way to learn and socialize. As you’ve played for

years, you know the value of good instruction with encouraging and respectful teachers.

The atmospere was welcoming, staff was helpful and friendly. The

food was plentiful & satisfying.

The San Diego area music community supports you and wishes you

success with Julian Family Fiddle Camp.

Ann Smith

No. County Bluegrass & Folk Club

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