Jenny Lester, a dynamic Canadian Bluegrass performer and recording artist, will be instructing at the Rossland Acoustic Music Camp.

Jenny Lester, a dynamic Canadian Bluegrass performer and recording artist, will be instructing at the Rossland Acoustic Music Camp.

Rossland Acoustic Music Camp pushes ahead

Camp runs Sept. 27-29

A motorcycle crash may have put Dave Scanlan on the sidelines of the Rossland Acoustic Music Camp this year, but it hasn’t diminished his enthusiasm for the event.

“It’s been a big success, we’ve sold out the last two years,” says Scanlan, who founded the RAM Camp three years ago. “It’s about bringing people together, building community,”

Earlier this year Scanlan was in a nasty accident, and is nursing a broken clavicle and nine broken ribs. While performing is out for now, he’s busy in the final phases of organizing the camp, which runs Sept. 27-29.

As in years past, he figures it will be sold out again.

Working with the Seven Summits Learning Centre, the camp will bring about 70 aspiring musicians together to be trained by eight professionals, both locals and from across Western Canada. While the school is a partner in the camp, it is mostly for adults, or at least anyone over 14.

“With eight instructors for 70 participants, the ratio is pretty good,” he says. “People get a lot of individualized attention.”

And one unique aspect of the camp is how people get to choose what they want to learn.

“You don’t have to commit to a class until Friday night,” he says. “You walk in and the instructors do an orientation, a five-minute presentation, saying, ‘Here’s what I’m going to teach in my class,’ and people then decide what they’re interested in and we post sign-up sheets and people can sign up for what they like.

“I just don’t think it’s reasonable to ask people to commit months in advance when they don’t know what the instructor is going to be teaching.”

Some classes are scheduled to be repeated, or split into two parts, so participants don’t necessarily have to select one class and lose out on another.

As the camp matures, it is reaching out more into the community as well. Musicians from the camp will perform at local venues like the Alpine Grind, Farmers Market and Clansey’s Restaurant.

“It is common for local residents to turn to small local business owners when support is needed for local school, sports, arts, or other events,” he adds. “Yet many of us are not so good at supporting local businesses. By partnering with local establishments, we can give locals an opportunity to hear performers they might not otherwise get to hear, while supporting the musicians who work and are the backbone of a successful music camp.

“We are pleased to be in the position of supporting, rather than seeking handouts from, our local business owners.”

Scanlan says as the RAM Camp matures, word on it is spreading, and more musicians are looking to sign up as instructors in the future.

“It’s taking off. Some of our committee members have been approached this year by some very high-profile musicians in B.C. and even Western Canada who say they’d love to come and teach at the camp.

“So my hope is if these people come to teach, if we can find a place to perform in the area in the week before, it supports local business, makes it more worthwhile for the musicians to come here, and you don’t have to be a musician or register in order to get the benefit of these people being in town.”

It seems even a bad accident can’t keep a good idea down.

If you’d like to learn more about the camp, visit the Rossland Acoustic Music Camp’s Facebook page.