Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Fiddle Tunes

I don't know if I'm ever going to get around to writing about Fiddle Tunes! Now I will try. I've been working since I got back, scrambling to clean and put away all my camping gear, digitize all my workshop audio recordings, and download/upload all of my photos. Friday night I take a red-eye out to Maine for a week. So I'm feeling time-crunched and guilty about not blogging. whine whine whine.

Please go to my Flickr account (link from photo below) to see lots of photos of mostly goofing off and not much work. When I was workin' hard I wasn't taking photos!
I also made a mini movie from a few 30 second clips.

So what exactly did I do at Fiddle Tunes? What's it all about? Well, basically it's band camp! I came to learn about banjo. I've been taking lessons for a year from Candy Goldman.

Sunday afternoon I arrived, set up camp with a group of friends, and went to a few orientation meetings where I could hear the faculty play and decide who I wanted to learn from. Then, during the week each day was a non-stop whirlwind of trying to balance work and fun and maybe get some sleep:

  • 8:30 am crawl out of bed, shower, eat, get coffee
  • 9:30 - 11 first workshop. 12 different ones going on at once in many buildings all over Fort Worden, so I better pick the right one! Miss the other 11. Wish I could have been there, too. The one workshop I do attend has been moved. Run around trying to find it by listening for banjos. Pass many other rooms spouting Cajun, south Appalachian, tango ... Workshops can be all about learning a tune or just listening to the musician play. Sometimes a mix. I was a Randy Wilson workshop devotee, and also attended a few others on jamming and banjo mechanics.
  • 11-12:30 second workshop of the morning. 12 different workshops going on at once again. The one I want has been moved. Try to find it.
  • 12:30-2 stagger back to campsite for lunch. Maybe try to practice something I learned in the morning, buy supplies at the camp music store, wash dishes, clean up the tent, or run into town for groceries.
  • 2-3:30 Band Lab! Learn to play a tune with a whole group of folks. 18 Band Labs to choose from, studying with all the faculty bands. I can only choose one. Miss the other 17. Wish I could have been there, too. I did the Beginning Band Lab, formerly known as the Baby Band Lab. My first day the Baby Band Lab goes too fast for me. I feel stupid. Mostly this is because most of the instruments are fiddles, so they get all the attention. Jeanie Murphy comes and rescues the banjos.
  • 3:30-4:30 tutorials. Meet with one of the camp instrument tutors in a group. Lots to choose from, but I go in with Jeanie Murphy and the beginning banjo players. The tutorial always starts late and goes late. Jeanie always brings snacks! Yay!
  • 4:30-5:30 extra workshops for dancing, percussion, etc. I never got to one! I was always desperately trying to digest everything from the previous 4 classes, sometimes getting together with other folks to practice.
  • 5:30-7 stagger back to the campsite for dinner. Laurie and I cooked dinner Friday night, the other nights I just helped with clean-up. Finally take a moment to put my tent in order and maybe wash some ever present dirty dishes. Get prettied up for the evening! A different outfit for every night!
  • 7-9:30 concert by the faculty. Always stunning.
  • 9:30-?? jamming and dances. Many jams and several dances going on at once in addition to mini-parties at every campsite. Try to choose one thing. Flit around to several.
  • 1-2 am, crawl back to campsite and try to sleep in a campsite blazing with strings of lights and ringing with jams. Don't actually sleep much.
  • 8:30 am do it again. Maybe I really got 5 hours of sleep.
There were also some extra special concerts and some performances by camp tutors and students. I played two tunes with the Beginning Band Lab. We called ourselves The Barely Strung Band, and we played Ocean Waves and Short Life of Trouble. I also stepped in for Randy Wilson's band lab, and helped to play Boatin' Up Sandy (see picture in post below). For both performances I got very nervous and played badly, but I guess you couldn't tell! So I hear, anyway.

On Wednesday night our campsite held a funny hat cocktail party, which was a blast. Many, many, many photos of this on Flickr.

Well, Cheers! Here's to next year!

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