CBA Music Camp: Welcome Our New Camp Directors

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Most of you know that Ingrid Noyes retired from directing the CBA Music Camps last summer and we have been searching for new camp directors. Since I am the music camp liaison to the CBA Board of Directors, and right in the thick of it all, I thought I would use my Sunday Welcome Column to update everyone on the music camps and introduce our new music camp directors, Janet Peterson and Peter Langston.

My first music camp was in 2007, as a student, where I took beginning dobro with Kathy Barwick, and I came back in 2008, again as a student, to take intermediate dobro from Rob Ickes. I have been fortunate to be a music camp volunteer ever since. Those two years as a student, three years as a volunteer, and all the friends I made and all the music I played since have literally changed my life. I never had imagined that I would be performing again or playing bluegrass. The music camps have had that effect on a lot of people, some of them are my band mates, some are the sons and daughters of friends, and some are the parents of those children. The CBA membership should be incredibly proud of our camps and of the students that have gone on to play our music as professionals and as local musicians. The camps are some of the most important events we promote to drive with our mission to preserve old time, blue grass, and gospel music, and the camp students are ultimately our musical ambassadors and future CBA leaders. This was all largely due to the work of Ingrid Noyes who was our camp director from the beginning. Ingrid crafted the camps, created their format, chose the teachers, selected the volunteers, and produced the whole show in June during festival week at Grass Valley. As a result of putting together these incredibly successful music camps Ingrid won the admiration of, I would guess, thousands of students, teachers, volunteers, and CBA members.

The reason I wanted to give this background is to try and give you a sense of what I felt when Ingrid told me she would not be returning as Camp Director in 2013. Stress is not a word that I often use and there are other words that fit as “almost” synonyms….panic, dismay, fear. One of the things I want to remind ya’ll about is that this is my first year on the CBA Board and first year as Music Camp Liaison so the prospect of having to find Ingrid’s replacement loomed large, especially since when all this first happened I had been to only a few board meetings and didn’t know everyone all that well.

I am happy to say that I believe we have found two wonderful musicians that have exceptional music camp director experience. This did not happen quickly and members of the CBA board spent hundreds of hours with the search. Before the Father’s Day Festival we had identified several potential candidates and bought them into music camp to participate and experience the week as part of our interview process. In the end, I think we were all impressed with the exceptional quality, and experience, of the people we interviewed and were left with making a difficult choice between great candidates, anyone of which could have done a good job filling Ingrid’s shoes. I want to thank everyone who helped with this decision, thank the candidates for their time and consideration, and especially want to thank everyone else who expressed an interest in applying for the camp directorship.

Janet Peterson and Peter Langston come to us with many years of music camp experience in bluegrass and other musical genres and with much of that experience as co-directors. They are both musicians but, in their music camp teamwork, Janet tends to focus on the logistical and Peter the musical. One of the interesting things several folks at Grass Valley noted about Peter during the interviews, and during the festival afterwards, was his total immersion in the camp, the festival, and the music; Peter was in jams, helping with workshops, playing music, talking music, he was everywhere and knew a lot of people in our bluegrass community, and knows a lot of the musicians. For 2013, Janet and Peter will focus on our summer music camp while we work towards a new winter camp in 2014.

Janet lives in Bellingham, Washington, and works as a camp director, musician, sign language interpreter for the deaf and deaf/blind, and librarian. She is a founding member of the band Motherlode in which she plays guitar and cello and sings. Janet has been running music camps since the 1980s and currently works with half a dozen music camps, including the Puget Sound Guitar Workshop, the California Coast Music Camp, the American Banjo Camp, and the Midwest Banjo Camp. In each of these Janet is the “go-to” person for any logistics or local needs, and she manages to keep all the balls in the air while appearing completely relaxed and cheerful.

Peter now lives in Seattle, WA (he lived in the Bay Area in the 80s when he worked at Lucasfilm Ltd.) He has led a triple life as a musician, computer researcher, and teacher; he has taught both audio recording and computer science at the college level, and was one of the early researchers with the Unix operating system. Peter seems to play anything with strings on it, and has shared the stage with such notables as Doc Watson, Reverend Gary Davis, Tony Trischka, Peter Rowan, Alison Brown, Johnny Gimble, Bill Keith, John Cephas, Alan Munde, Chill Wills, Pat Cloud, Clark Terry, and Mike Seeger. Peter has been a member of the staff of numerous music and dance camps, including California Coast Music Camp, Sierra Swing dance camp, the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, Alta Sierra, Georgia Strait Guitar Workshop, Northeast Heritage Music Camp, American Banjo Camp, and the Puget Sound Guitar Workshop.

Janet and Peter are delighted to have this opportunity to work with the California Bluegrass Association to spread the techniques, joy, and appreciation of bluegrass, old-time, and gospel music.

I’m excited about Peter and Janet taking the music camp reins and am looking forward to working with them.

Please help me welcome Peter and Janet to the CBA. They will be telling us more about themselves and the 2013 summer music Camp in the coming months.

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