FESTIVAL: AUGUST 16-18, 2019 MUSIC CAMP: AUGUST 12-16, 2019
The Northern Lights Music Camp provides a friendly, non-competitive environment for musicians of all ages and skill levels. Perhaps you are just getting started in music? Or you are a skilled player looking to hone your skills? We have a class for you.
Skill Level Descriptions –
Please sign up for the class that best describes your current skill level. If you are uncomfortable on your first day of class, you’ll have the option to discuss changing classes.
*Note – if you are a new beginner, before registering, please ensure you read the corresponding section of our Frequently Asked Questions here
You are relatively new to your instrument. You have been taking a few lessons or learning through how-to videos and are looking for a solid base to be established. You want to know about correct posture, how to best hold the pick or bow, how to improve chord formation, tips on tuning and intonation, and you want to begin playing songs. You need to be introduced to good study/practice habits, how to read music or tablature, and developing excellent technique.
You are progressing on your instrument. You are ready to start to play with other musicians and you can already play a few tunes from memory. You can play along with a CD if it is at medium speed. You are feeling that you need a booster to get you moving toward the next level. You have a solid grasp of all the basic techniques for your instrument and may be able to read tablature or music.
You are looking for fine tuning tips on how to improve your playing. You can jam with others, improvise fairly well on new tunes and are (or want to) play in an organized band. Your tab/music reading skills are great. You know some scales and how to use them in improvisation situations. Your speed is improving as you use your metronome. You have an arsenal of tunes you can play from memory. You play your instrument or practice almost every day.
Classes for 2019
Beginner Guitar with Drew Simon of T’Monde
Drew was born and raised in Lafayette, Louisiana and developed an interest in Cajun music in his late teens. At 20, he began playing the accordion and started learning the words to many of the songs in his huge Cajun music repertoire. For more than 15 years, Drew has been regarded as one of the best of the “New Generation” of dancehall musicians being heavily influenced by legends Belton Richard, Aldus Roger, Phillip Alleman, Walter Mouton, Jesse Lege’, and Lawrence Walker just to name a few. With bands, the Pine Leaf Boys ( 4x Grammy Nominated) and T’Monde, he has brought Cajun music and Cajun culture to 24 countries and 47 states. Drew will be leading our beginner guitar group, but will also be taking every opportunity to share his love of Cajun music & culture with the whole camp!
This class is for those who are just starting to play guitar. You will expand your chord knowledge, work on good rhythm and learn to play some easy songs to really get you going.
Students should be familiar with the notes of the open strings on the guitar, how to tune, how to form the basic chords G, C and D and be ready to play with a pick.
Intermediate Guitar with Bill Humby of Nomad Jones
Music came early and often in Bill’s life; drumming on pots and pans in Nana’s kitchen, learning to sing harmony with his sister around Grandma Kay’s piano or going to the Fort William City Band rehearsals with Howard, his horn blowing dad. Bill has a vast musical background that includes playing trumpet in the high school jazz band, drumming in a lounge lizard quartet, performing in Gilbert and Sullivan operettas and appearing with his son Nico and daughter Paula on “Un Air de Famille”, a reality television show for singing families. He caught the bluegrass bug at the turn of the century, drawn to the genre by the compelling harmonies. He now has the opportunity to play guitar and sing beautiful blood harmonies with his son Nico in the Nomad Jones Band. As the lead singer, he brings an eclectic mix of songs to the band from across the acoustic spectrum.
Class Description: Lessons will cover the basics of rhythm guitar for accompaniment. We will cover a wide range of guitar playing techniques with a focus on tone, taste, and timing as well as how to jam. Some techniques covered will be; bluegrass chords, hearing chord changes, how and when to use a capo, pick technique, left hand positions, intro to solos, time, time, time, the G run and other bass runs.
Pre-requisites: You have experience playing songs with chords in common keys. You can change chords with ease, keep time with songs, and you are looking to take your guitar playing to the next level.
Advanced Bluegrass Flatpicking with Steve Charles of Viper Central
Steve Charles is a composer and performer from Vancouver. Highlights include: Once Arts Club, Empire of the Son, VACTOthello, Bard on the Beach, Love Bomb, Shameless Hussies, Urinetown Firehall Theatre, Brief Encounter Playhouse/MTC, Dance Marathon Bluemouth Inc., The French Canadian talent show Galala on TV Unis and Pacifique en Chanson. He is a member of the Escape Artists who created Glory with WCT/ATP 2018 and produced Miss Shakespeare and J.Caesar in 2015 and he continues to perform in their show Chelsea Hotel in theatres across Canada. He tours internationally with bands Viper Central, Petunia and the Vipers and The Fugitivesas a multi instrumentalist and is very active in Vancouver’s diverse music scene. He produced “Whiskey Hollow Bound”, a compilation CD of local Bluegrass and Oldtime music. He is in demand as a multi instrumentalist, sound designer and for his easy going versatility. www.stevenjohncharles.com
Class Description:This course will focus on developing steady yet interesting rhythm, and consistent and melodic playing. We’ll begin by reviewing the elements of Rhythm playing. We’ll then move into melodic techniques such as flatpicking upstrokes and downstrokes, crossing strings, and incorporating open strings into melodic lines. The class will learn some fiddle tunes and bluegrass standards and share our repertoire.
Pre-requisites: Students should have moderate experience playing simple lead lines/flatpicking single notes, and should be able to change chords and chord shapes with ease.
Bluegrass Banjo with Miles Zurawell
Miles Zurawell is a performer, recording artist and teacher based in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. He has toured internationally with renowned bluegrass acts such as the Greg Blake Band and Blaine Sprouse, and performs in Canada with his own project Nomad Jones. Raised in small town Alberta, Miles Zurawell was immersed in a wide range of music from an early age. A pianist and self taught guitarist in his formative years, he fell in love with bluegrass when he was inspired to pick up the banjo by a university biology professor. Soon after, he also picked up the dobro (resonator guitar). In 2018, he left behind the golden handcuffs of his government biology career to focus intensively on learning the dobro, and has travelled all over North America seeking out the best teachers. Now armed with the technical skills acquired from intensive study of the bluegrass genre, along with his eclectic taste in music, his musical focus is to help bring the beautiful timbre of the dobro toother genres of music apart from bluegrass. He counts Earl Scruggs, JD Crowe, Rob Ickes, Jerry Douglas, Billy Cardine and Bryan Sutton among his influences. Nomad Jones is thrilled to have Miles on resonator guitar, banjo and lead and harmony vocals.
Class Description: This class will focus on 3 finger or Scruggs Style Bluegrass Banjo skills. Beginners will learn the foundational skills necessary to get rolling on the 5-string banjo – left and right hand technique, picking patterns (rolls), basic chords, how to play some simple melodies to bluegrass standards. Intermediate players will tackle all aspects of soloing and accompaniment on the banjo with a focus on ear training and playing interactively. The main goal of the class will be to develop the skill and knowledge to be able to play along with others! We’ll take a look at some different approaches to bluegrass banjo developed by Earl Scruggs, Don Reno, and Bill Keith. The aim is to gain a greater understanding of what’s going on when you hear a banjo solo, and open your eyes and ears to how those sounds are achieved.
Pre-requisite – This class is for beginners and intermediates. Students playing at a beginner level should be familiar with the notes of the open strings of the banjo and be comfortable playing one or two simple rolls. Please bring fingerpicks and capos.
Clawhammer Banjo with Trevin Nelson of the Ruta Beggars
Trevin Nelson is from Omaha Nebraska and started playing banjo at the age of 14. He now studies American Roots Music and Performance at Berklee College of Music. Trevin has grown up with very diverse musical taste that has greatly influenced his creativity and the spirit of his banjo playing. Everything from Classic Rock and Heavy Metal to Country Blues and R&B can be found in his playing. When he came to Berklee in the Fall of 2017, Trevin began to dive deeper into the roots of the banjo studying Old Time Clawhammer style and Country Blues with Bruce Molsky, Woody Mann, and Paul Rishel & Annie Raines. He also studied traditional bluegrass banjo with Dave Hollender and Tony Trischka through the American Roots music program. Trevin is the banjo player for The Ruta Beggars, a band consisting of five very close friends who love each other and playing great music together.
Class description:Sessions will be focused on creativity and encouraging/helping people find their own voice through clawhammer banjo and old time music. Learn some new tunes to add in your repertoire and hear some new ideas of how to approach practicing, jamming, and performing.
Prerequisites: Students should have moderate experience playing simple rolls, and should be able to change chords and chord shapes with ease.
Beginner Mandolin with Nico Humby of Nomad Jones
Spry, energetic and coming to you from the Albertan Prairies of Canada, Nico Humby is a bass player, singer and songwriter who has dipped his fingers in a multitude of genres ranging from R&B, Funk, and Swing to Folk, Bluegrass, and Classic Country. With this experience he is able to bring a new groove and flavor to the existing world of Bluegrass. He is a founding member of Nomad Jones, where he shares a stage with his father as they sing blood harmonies, and has been spending the bulk of his road time touring the world alongside Greg Blake in both Jeff Scroggins & Colorado and in the Greg Blake Band. In 2018, he had the opportunity to play Bluegrass in the USA, across Europe and in Australia.
Class Description: This class is targeted to beginning mandolin players who can play a little bit, but don’t know many songs and don’t feel comfortable playing in a jam. We will look at left and right hand technique, scales and chords, and the basics of the Nashville Number System.There will be lots of playing in a relaxed and encouraging atmosphere. In this course you will get comfortable jamming with others and become a better player!
Pre-requisite: You can tune your instrument and know the chords to a few songs. You know the melody to at least one instrumental and want to learn about improvising on the mandolin.
Intermediate/Advanced Mandolin with Mark Vaughan of Viper Central
Mark has been playing mandolin in bands across Canada for the past twenty years. Originally from Nova Scotia, Mark is now very much at home in Vancouver’s bluegrass and old-time music scene. As a member of Viper Central, Mark has performed and taught workshops throughout Canada, the United States, and Europe. Mark has composed musical scores for several award-winning animated short films that have screened at film festivals around the world. He is also a chemistry professor at North Vancouver’s Capilano University.
Class Description: This class will focus on building tools for improvisation. We’ll work on strategies for quickly picking up melodies and building variations on these melodies, as well as right and left techniques such as tremolo, chop chords and other rhythm techniques, doublestops, arpeggios, playing up the neck, and playing at faster tempos. We’ll also work on some of the classic mandolin sounds of Bill Monroe, and will explore some mandolin styles related to bluegrass, including old time, blues, and ragtime.
Pre-requisites: Students should be comfortable with playing basic chord progressions in a variety of keys and have some familiarity with playing melodies and tunes. Bringing a recording device, a notebook, and a tuner are highly recommended
Metis Fiddle with Dean Bernier
Dean Bernier is a former Saskatchewan Grand Champion Fiddler who has personally received seven Saskatchewan Country Music Awards, including “Humanitarian of the Year”. After recovering from a major injury a few years ago, Dean is currently excited to be back playing, performing, and doing studio session work. Most of his time is spent teaching music education in three programs in Prince Albert(dance & music for St.Francis School, conducting the Prince Albert Strings Orchestra, & managing/teaching at Bernier Music). In addition to music, the past 36 years have been spent as a teamster, raising/training purebred Belgian workhorses for use on his farm land.
Class Description: Dean will be teaching players how to play simple fiddle tunes, using techniques needed for danceability.It is often the bow that creates the “style” of playing, so emphasis will be on bowing techniques. As anyof Dean’s classes, the sessions will be specifically geared to the student in front of him, in order to assist the individual needs of the players.
Pre-requisite:This class is for fiddle players already playing at an intermediate level, who want to learn the Métis fiddling style.
Beginner Fiddle with Kathleen Nisbet of Viper Central
Kathleen Nisbet is a fiddle player and singer from Vancouver, BC Canada. Classically trained at the Vancouver Academy of Music, She returned to her Métis roots, pursuing more traditional fiddle music. Since then she has worked with artists in a variety of genres. A collaborator and regular accompanist with V’ni Dansi Métis traditional dance, she has taught numerous workshops with them for children and adults on Métis fiddle music and culture. She also teaches Bluegrass and Oldtime and has taught Fiddle and Vocal workshops at festivals across Canada and Europe. She has composed music for independant modern dance and theatre and is an active member of Vancouver’s thriving bluegrass and folk scene,performing and touring regularly with her band Viper Central. She has also toured and performed with Petunia & The Vipers, Rich Hope and His Blue Rich Rangers, CR Avery, The Fugitives and Carolyn Mark and has made guest appearances with Fred Eaglesmith, Art Bergmann, The Belle Game, and The Vicious Cycles to name a few. She works regularly as a studio musician and has numerous recording credits has been a teacher for six years at Saint James Music Academy where downtown east side kids are provided free music lessons
Bluegrass Fiddle with Sofía Chiarandini of the Ruta Beggars
Sofía Chiarandini is a musician based out of New England. She has been playing violin since age five, and at age fourteen decided to dive into the world of bluegrass. Sofía began studying with Grammy award winning fiddle and dobro player and notable author Stacy Phillips, who was her mentor and main source of inspiration in the non classical world. Since her departure from classical music she has branched out to perform in bluegrass, jazz, folk, and rock genres with Too Blue, The Bluegrass Characters, other ensembles, and solo. In these acts she has played violin and bass as well as mandolin, piano, flute, and sung. She has performed on the main stages at Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival, Podunk Bluegrass Festival, Joe Val Bluegrass Festival, Freshgrass Bluegrass Festival, and has showcased with various groups at Ossipee Music Festival, International Bluegrass Music Association’s World of Bluegrass Ramble, and Winter Village Music Festival. At age 17 Sofía was accepted to the Berklee College of Music on scholarship, and has performed as part of the American Roots Music Program, as well as had the opportunity to study with musical heavyweights such as Howard Levy of The Flecktones, Noam Pikelny, Stuart Duncan, Bruce Molsky, Tony Trischka, Greg Liszt, and Matt Glaser among others. Sofía was also honored to receive the Fletcher Bright award in her freshman year at Berklee. Here, she co founded her own bluegrass band The Ruta Beggars, who performed with Tony Trischka at Grey Fox in 2018, and have released a 2 song EP called “Classroom Sessions.” They have been featured on the WGBH program “Celtic Sojourn” with Brian O’Donovan and Steve Martin’s Unreal Bluegrass Show.
We will pick a few tunes and focus on being able to play different accompaniment figures underneath the melody, and hopefully get into a little bit of melodic variation. We will be exploring the methods and techniques within the old time and bluegrass style that you can use to improve your playing ability!
Students interested in taking the Intermediate Bluegrass Fiddle class should possess some prior knowledge and a moderate degree of skill in old time or bluegrass fiddle music and know some of the most common tunes within the styles
Upright Bass with Joseph Lubinsky – Mast of Viper Central
Joseph is a bassist from Edmonton, AB, currently residing in Vancouver, BC. After completing a diploma in Jazz performance at Grant MacEwan college, Joseph attended the Hugh Fraser Jazz Orchestra program at the Banff Centre with jazz great Chucho Valdez. An avid record collector, Joseph’s love for music has led to experience in performance ranging from punk to classical, r&b to country, hip hop to jazz, blues and rock & roll. Joseph has toured across Canada, the United States and Europe. Joseph has toured with the Sumner Brothers, the Burying Ground, the Wooden Horsemen, Clouds of Analog, and Petunia and the Vipers.
Class Description:Bluegrass Bass– In this class, we’ll be exploring the ins and outs of the doghouse–the string bass (also known as the double bass, upright bass, contra bass, giant fiddle, and “hey is that a cello?”. Over the course of the week, we’ll cover 2-feel, waltzes, walks and runs, we’ll work on playing some of the classics in a few different keys, and we’ll also explore some of the physical challenges of this monstrous instrument.
Pre-requisites: Students should have a grasp on basic technique, and fundamentals of the instrument.While this will all be reviewed and built upon throughout the class, basic technique and some previous experience on the instrument is strongly encouraged.
Sing Out Strong with Ariel Wyner of The Ruta Beggars
Ariel Wyner is a singer, producer, arranger, composer, and mandolinist. New to roots music upon starting Berklee last Fall, he has taken a keen interest in the traditional style picking of Bill Monroe. Having a strong foundation in classical violin and classical voice, where he studied Vocal Performance at Northwestern’s Bienen School of Music, he brings a highly unique perspective to bluegrass and contemporary string music. At Berklee, Ariel has had the privilege of studying with Joe Walsh, Tony Trischka, Jason Anick, Matt Glaser, Dave Hollender, and Bruce Molsky, where he has diversified his playing styles from classical music to old time, swing, jazz, contemporary string music, and bluegrass. He is a founding member and mandolinist/vocalist of The Ruta Beggars, a traditional bluegrass band that has performed at major bluegrass festivals in the Northeast including Grey Fox, Ossipee, and Joe Val. As an arranger, he has worked on numerous projects, including cowriting and producing music for the film, “Traitor”, an independent Revolutionary War film. He has arranged for Berklee’s mandolin quartet and mandolin orchestra, and for the Contemporary Writing and Production Arranger’s Showcase concert. He has released numerous original tracks on streaming services, and continues to make music in various contrasting styles
The voice is the first instrument and the one that connects us to each other. Every voice is unique and in this workshop we will create a group setting where everyone will let their unique voice ring out with confidence. The early part of the workshop will focus on techniques for projecting, proper breathing, tone, rhythm and developing tools for intonation (singing in key). From there we will work on techniques for finding basic harmony and developing the ability to maintain a harmony note without drifting to the lead singers note. We will learn how to fine tune harmony through the use of tone and timing. We will do all this work but it will feel like all we are doing is having a great time, looking forward to singing with you!
Pre-requisite: This is a workshop for anyone who likes to sing and wishes to improve their singing. Sing out Strong is a good foundation for the next-level Vocal Harmony class.
Vocal Harmony with Kelli Jones & Megan Brown of T’Monde
Megan Brown, Megan Brown Constantin, originally from Tepetate, LA, grew up to the sound of Cajun music at her grandparent’s Cajun restaurant. Singing all her life, Megan took to Cajun music and with it the French language at the age of 18. Joining first with her accordionist brother, Briggs Brown and his band. She was a co-founder of the all female Cajun group Les Bassettes and has sat in with such musicians and groups as The Pine Leaf Boys, The Lafayette Rhythm Devils and Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys, performing at many cultural events, including Festivals Acadiens et Creoles, Folk Roots Balfa Camp, the New Orleans Jazz Festival, Festival International de la Louisiane and many more across the country and internationally. She currently plays and has been with T’Monde for the last eight years. Megan has been teaching dance, art, and song to kids of all ages for 15 years at different schools and cultural/educational camps such as Folk Roots for Kids and the Augusta Heritage – Cajun & Creole Week. She has been Director of the Louisiana Folk Roots Kids Camp since June 2018. Her teaching experience is not limited to children however. Megan has been teaching Cajun French singing classes at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, as well as private lessons since Fall 2017.
Kelli Jones, the “Jolie Blonde” of the band, has been playing fiddle since the age of fifteen and started out playing old time music in North Carolina, where she is from. In 2006 she moved to Lafayette, Louisiana to study dance at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and learn Cajun fiddle as well. She has been living there since, soaking up the culture and playing with bands such as the Magnolia Sisters, Double Date (with husband Joel Savoy, Linzay Young, and Emma Young), her father Carl Jones, and many local wonderful Louisiana musicians, including members of the Pine Leaf Boys, the Red Stick Ramblers, Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys, and her fellow band mates Drew Simon and Megan Brown. She has also traveled beyond Louisiana to perform and teach at festivals throughout the United States, including Ashokan Fiddle & Dance Camp, Augusta Heritage Center Cajun & Creole week and the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes.
CLASS DESCRIPTION: This workshop is for anyone who loves to sing and wants to explore lead and harmony vocals in a safe, supportive, and fun environment. Working with repertoire drawn from a mix of Cajun, Traditional Louisiana, Classic Country and Sibling-style Harmonies, we’ll look at the finer points of lead and harmony singing, including breathing and vocal production, exploring your vocal range, singing solo and lead parts, how to find harmony parts, how to “blend” with other voices when harmonizing, and how to use your voice to work with tone.
Prerequisite: The ability to sing a melody line in tune. If you are new to singing, or require more experience singing confidently, we recommend enrolling in our Sing Out Strong class to develop a good base prior to taking Vocal Harmony
Metis Dance with The Creeland Dancers
The Metis Jig is a beautiful dance comprised of the art forms of many cultures. The origins of the jig are of European and Indigenous descent. Irish, Scottish, and French dance forms combined with the foot work of the First Nations powwow dance forms, provides a kaleidoscope of dance styles incorporated into a dance that represent the union and kinship across cultures. The Creeland Dancers are western Canada’s longest serving Indigenous square dance group and specialize in a fusion of square dancing and Metis jigging.
Class Description: In this class, you will learn the Métis jig as well as a variety of traditional Métis dances such as the Red River Jig, the Sash Dance, Drops of Brandy and square dances. Get ready for a super fun time and a bit of a workout!
MASTER CLASS – Berklee Degree in Three (Days)with Micah Nicol of the Ruta Beggars
Micah Nicol grew up with a mandolin in one hand and a banjo in the other playing bluegrass and classic country music with his father in the most popular (and only) group in the West-Central-Ohio Nursing-Home circuit: Harps n’ Strings. He now studies Music Production and Engineering as a piano player at Berklee College of Music and spends most of his musical life as a guitarist and singer for The Ruta Beggars, a traditional bluegrass and swing group based in Boston. Micah has a deep love for musical theater and content creation and lives parallel lives as a magician, uni-cyclist, and clown.
Class Description: Ever wondered what a degree from a prestigious music college like Berklee would do for your soloing,composition and jamming game? We challenged Micah, Berklee student and multi-instrumentalist, to come up with an advanced class outline that takes all the practical elements of his degree and condenses them into three days of creative application and fun, on whatever your main stringed instrument may be. Taking theory and making it practical, this advanced course will focus on articulating sounds you are already familiar with, how to find new sounds to diversify musical style in accompaniment and solos,and developing a further understanding of music as a whole…not for the faint of heart, be prepared to exercise your fingers and your mind!
Pre-requisite: This class is for advanced players on stringed instruments who are already comfortable taking lead instrumental breaks but would like to diversify their leads. A base knowledge of theory will be beneficial for this class.
FUNGRASS – Children’s Music for ages 6-9 with Eliza Doyle
Over the past 16 years, Eliza Doyle has recorded and released 10 full length albums, and toured Canada, the US, Europe and the UK extensively. This feisty international and award winning Saskatchewan artist has a unique way of captivating audiences around the world with her charismatic performances, stylistic clawhammer banjo playing and sophisticated songwriting. She is a versatile player, a seasoned performer, teacher, and session musician who brings an authenticity and energy to her music through her unstoppable and ferocious spirit. Be it large concert halls, a small coffee house gatherings, or a garage jams, her love for music, family and friends is always present in her quick smile. Listen to her music, enjoy her energy and share with your friends, the experience is most definitely worth your time. “Bright, feisty, and fierce and a troubadour of exceptional talent and vision.”
Starting on the streets of Saskatoon during her university days, Eliza Doyle could always be seen with her banjo in tow, joining some musical project and heading somewhere around the globe to sing her songs. Since 2003 she has been performing around the world with various bands. She completed her Bachelor of Education degree in 2009 and began working with music therapy in alternative education. She has experience in both teaching in music camps, as well as being a children’s performer. Currently, she is developing music programming to be accessible to remote northern communities, and is working on turning her music festival, Doylefest, into a non-profit organization to support this initiative.
Class Description: The class will focus on many different and fun elements of Bluegrass and Old Time music. In this class, students will explore music through the use of rhythm, art, dance, play, singing and songwriting. Try an array of musical instruments, make homemade ones too, and go on musical treasure hunts. Children will visit the various classes held around the site and have a great time being introduced to the bluegrass and old time music genres.
No previous musical experience is necessary
*Please note that this is not a drop-off camp class. Fungrass participants must have a parent or designated guardian on site with them at all times.
No previous musical experience is necessary
Northern Lights offers guest meal packages for spouses or parent/guardians. Please see our FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS page for more information on Guests.
**When purchasing meals please use NA on parts of the form that do not relate to you.
Guest Lunches Only Package
– Camping Spot (must be accompanying a registered participant), Monday BBQ, Tuesday – Thursday Lunch, Friday Brunch, Snacks, Evening Activities. Save $50 per registration by registering before June 15th, 2018.
Guest Full Meals Package
– Camping Spot (must be accompanying a registered participant), Monday BBQ, Tuesday – Thursday Breakfast, Lunch, Supper, Friday Brunch, Snacks, Evening Activities.