Sunday, July 17, 2011

Swannanoa Gathering 2011

 Not sure if I will be able to cover everything that happened this week in one blog post...but I'll hit the highlights!

We spent the week at Swannanoa Gathing in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina. It was our 3rd year attending and every year just seems to be better than the last. I can't even begin to put into the words the amazing musical opportunities a camp like this provides my kids. They spend their days taking classes from some of the best performers/teachers on their instruments and their nights listening to concerts, going to dances, and playing their music into the wee hours of the morning with those same wonderful musicians and other gathering attendees. In the photo to the left the kids are playing in a session with Brian Conw*y, his sister R*se Flannagan, Pat M*ngan, and Kevin Burk*.  The performers at the gathering are all so very approachable and seem to love passing on their skills to the next generation.

Dylan jamming. He was a much sought after backer for the other teens at the camp. A good guitarist is hard to find.

Haley fiddling along with Brian and Pat...a teacher flanked by his student and former student.

 One of the highlights of the week for Dylan was meeting John Doyle, his absolute favorite guitarist ever. Dylan took four different style guitar classes for the week and a few of the teachers even gave him some extra time following lessons. Dylan even gave some lessons himself.
Haley up close...I love this picture.

 Dylan had received a scholarship to attend the camp this year. The scholarship is only given out to a child once. Haley had gotten one the first year we attended. Here's Dylan getting his scholarship certificate during the concert on Wednesday night.
Dylan jamming after class with a guitar instructor.

 The first year we went to camp, there was this huge swing attached to a large tree. Last year we were disappointed to see the branch that held the swing was gone along with the swing. Imagine our surprise and delight when we saw the swing had been restored! The kids loved to spend breaks on the swing and Haley especially liked to practice near the swing and get a big push after completing each segment of her practice.
 One of the great benefits to attending camp is meeting other musicians from all over the United States and Canada. Dylan made friends with these brothers from Texas who were amazing on fiddle and banjo and flute. Here they are rehearsing the set they put together for the student showcase the last night of camp.

Haley and Dylan received a standing ovation for their performance at the student showcase.

The final night of camp at about midnight, I was sitting listening to my kids play with a large group of musicians while a couple dancers danced to the music and one of the performers, who usually plays guitar, accompanying the group on piano and I thought...what neat experiences my kids get to have. Amazing!

 I said above that one of the highlights for Dylan was meeting and taking class with John Doyle. The biggest highlight was the evening he and Haley were joined by John with his bouzouki. Haley played melody while the guys jammed along with her. John's daughter sat on his lap some of the time. They joked about her taking care of moving the capo for him but she needed to grow a few more muscles to be able to move that. John played a number of sets with the kids and sang Haley her favorite song...The Hare's Lament. He said Haley reminded him of Liz Carroll and Eileen Ivers while Dylan reminded him of himself. You can only imagine Dylan's delight!

Haley with Martin Hayes...her fiddle teacher for the week.
Haley and Dylan with their friends from home, Emily and Livia.

Haley's new friends on the swing.


Breezy Point Mom said...

What a neat opportunity for your young musicians each year! It looks like they had a fabulous time hooking up with all those pros. We have actually camped at Mama Gertie's in Swannanoa so your post caught my eye. It is a lovely area up there.

ptmom said...

It is a beautiful area. The people are so nice and the musicians are all so approachable and willing to share their skills and knowledge. It is absolutely wonderful!