The CMVic Music Camp in 2017 was for the second time held at Grantville Lodge; it was a vibrant weekend of music making, singing, and dancing, with sessions and workshops for all tastes and abilities. It was a chance to learn, participate, exchange, and celebrate – for both those new to music making and for experienced workshop leaders. The full program can be found here, together with a booklet providing details of the workshop leaders and venue. Here're some of the highlights:
- Singing: Workshops with Polly Christie, Sarah Mandie and Jenny Theologidis; including Yiddish, Greek and other sessions.
- Strings: Beginners and advanced folk strings workshops with Brian Strating; uke sessions with Tanya Nolan and Margaret Crichton.
- Brass: Instrumental and percussion workshops with Lyndal Chambers, Andy Rigby; all in sessions.
- Marimbas: Workshops with Ian Chambers and Andy Rigby.
- Klezmer and South American riffs and rhythms: Workshops focussing on these genres with Andy Rigby.
- Accordions: Instrumental workshops with Andy Rigby and the all in sessions; 'Accordion Tips' workshop with Oli Hinton.
- Kids sessions: Six separate sessions for kids of all ages with Alena Schneider and Emily Hayes, plus marimbas with Ian Chambers.
- All-in ensemble sessions and procession: Session for everyone to play together culminating in a celebratory finale, capped off with a colourful parade for all.
- Plus impromptu sessions galore: With some of your favourite CMVic people to help them along, including the fabulous Jane Coker, Lyndal Chambers, and more - the beautiful chapel in the grounds will be available at all times for impromptu sessions.
- Chill space: feeling the need to sit down in a quiet space for a chat or on your own? There's a comfy space set aside for this.
- Buddies for Beginners: where absolute beginners, or people wanting to try out a different instrument, may be able to get a one-on-one tutorial with a volunteer on their instrument of choice.
Open to everyone whether a CMVic Member or not, this unique and fun event brought together in one place choirs and street bands, young and old, beginners and old hands. As well as lots of opportunities for singing and playing music, there were leadership skills sessions for both singers and instrumentalists too. Great workshop leaders from all over Victoria ran a wonderful variety of sessions, and the camp provided lots of space for enjoying all the free time people wanted.
A total of 169 people came to the event, including 48 age 25 and under.
We asked what the best thing about the weekend had been, and here are a few of the responses people gave:
- "All ages, all abilities all instruments and singing, all levels of music background. Positive friendly encouraging feel to the camp. Marimbas as a great community music-making option.”
- “The relaxed and warn vibe but also the great workshops that really got people making music instantly.”
- “The variety of workshops on offer, and the way that everyone supported each other throughout the weekend.”
- “The uke kareoke Friday night. The uke workshops fabulous.”
- “The inclusiveness.”
- “Seeing my 8-year-old son absolutely immersed in the world of music that he loves. He said: 'There were good people teaching that were nice, it was a great environment and I LOVED it!'”
- “Enthusiasm of the organisers and workshop tutors.”
- “Networking with other like-minded people and the nice variety of workshops.”
- “Dance party on Saturday night. Loved trying out the different styles. Parade was awesome.”
- “Amazing Saturday night performances.”
- “The informal structure worked a treat for me.”
- “Community feel, people there with their children, opportunity to play in groups where there was a variety of instruments, quality of workshop leaders.”
- “The community and willingness to involve all including the beginners starting out. Excellent camp!!!”
- “Great program! For every session, there was a wide variety of workshops available - something to suit whichever learning need and/or mood I happened to be in at that moment.”
- “Learning and participating within a non-threatening environment. The learning was amazing!!!”
We asked people what we could have done to improve the weekend:
- "Nothing comes to mind at the moment.”
- "Not so busy a schedule and maybe not starting so early.”
- “Not sure it could be improved, but the noise in the Homestead Dining Room was headache-making - both the general noise in the breaks and the distracting noise during workshops.”
- “The Saturday afternoon schedule didn't allow for a break. The classroom venue has issues. The noise level in the main room on Friday night is challenging as people who are registering need to talk and yet there is a concert going on.”
- “It was all good!”
- “To encourage more teenagers. There seemed a big gap between very young children and late 30s age group.”
- “The only thing I felt disappointed by over the weekend was the standard of the sausages at lunch on Saturday.”
- “I thought everything worked really well and catered for lots of different interest and tastes. Just wish I could have done more things because I missed out learning more about the marimbas.”
- “Overall well-presented weekend. Food was average quality, quantity ok.”
- “I…. thought that the catering was quite average….”
- “Print program in bigger font!! Not much else.”
- “If more specific detail could be given regarding the content of the workshops it would be helpful. For example, rather than 'intermediate', give examples such as 'exploring chord progressions' or 'introduction of finger picking'.”
- “I would have appreciated some instrumental improvisation.”
- “Songwriting workshops?”
Note from organisers: we held a ‘wash up’ session after receiving feedback when we discussed all responses from participants and will do our best to take account of them in 2018.
We also asked people if they'd learned something new or done something different over the weekend:
- "New fiddle tunes.”
- “I took home some terrific new songs for ukulele”
- “I ran two workshops that were new to me and they were well received.”
- “The thing that most impressed me was the inclusiveness, and in particular the workshop leader’s acceptance of everyone in his workshops. It led me to rethink my own attitudes.”
- “New to ukulele. There was plenty of opportunities to play, practice & learn. There were lots of people to help.”
- “My first session on the piano accordion.”
- “I got to explore some different styles of music than what I would normally get to play - loved having the Klezmer and Jewish music on the same weekend - get in the vibe!”
- “Saw some great facilitators at work and got some new ideas.”
- “Enjoyed singing in a group for the first time. Started learning the ukulele while helping my son in the beginners’ workshop and experienced the wonderfulness that is marimba!”
- “Yes, playing, dancing and singing in Greek.”
- “Learned more about conducting. Learned new challenging rhythms.”
- “Tried out some techniques on the accordion. Thanks!”
- “I mastered the ukulele and joined the jam session which was brilliant. The improvisation workshop was brilliant and challenging but taught us to be daring.”
- “That I can more easily pick up a tune aurally than by reading a chart that I have to transpose for my instrument.”
- “I learned to strum! Doing the beginners uke class was great for being carried along with the group.”
- “Learning Greek songs, both singing and playing, South American, Appalachian, playing in a string band.”
- “Met new friends, danced dances, learnt to play and sing some new tunes and rhythms. All great.”
- “The confidence to do more improvisation.”
- “Singing rather than instrument-playing.”
- “The vocal improvisation was a brand new and exciting experience for me.”
- “I have been leading music groups for years, but found J to be an excellent facilitator and taught me more angles to approach groups. I enjoyed "new" repertoire in T’s Uke workshop and the session featuring J & co's song book.”
Finally, we asked people to describe their experience at the music camp in 3 words. We had a heap of different ones, but these were the most used. Numbers indicate repeats:
- Fun (24)
- Inspiring (9)
- Inclusive (8)
- Joyous (6)
- Friendly (5)
- Welcoming (4)
- Challenging (3)