Saturday, June 13, 2009

Banjo versus TV week 66: Midwest Banjo Camp

A check-in on the Banjo versus TV project — J.R.'s ongoing plan to spend more time on his banjo than on TV. This post covers 5/31/2009 through 6/6/2009.
Banjo 418 hrs, TV 388 hours

Like I'd said, I went to Midwest Banjo Camp this week. And I loved it!

I went for the whole thing, so I got a chance to do things from both the regular schedule and the pre-camp schedule. If you go next year I highly recommend the pre-camp. It gave me a good chance to interact with the instructors and to get into the mood of the thing.

I recorded the audio of a lot of educational sessions and plan to review them throughout the year on my blog. These sessions include:

  • Danny Barnes: Bluegrass Mentor
  • Danny Barnes: Bluegrass Without the Band
  • Danny Barnes: Playing with Good Tone and Rhythm
  • Danny Barnes: Taking the Banjo into Country, Rock and Other Pop Idioms
  • Danny Barnes, Bill Evans, James McKinney: Single String Demo
  • Janet Beazley: Appropriate and Musical Backup for Vocals
  • Janet Beazley: Overcome Those Jitters: Strategies for Dealing with Stage Fright
  • Janet Beazley: Productive Practice Tools and Tips
  • Janet Beazley: Top 10 Bluegrass Licks
  • Janet Beazley, Peter Knupfer, Alan O'Bryant, Pete Wernick
  • Mac Benford: Can That Tuner: Learn to Tune and Change Tunings by Ear
  • Bill Evans: The Essential Earl: Licks and Techniques
  • Bill Evans: Essential Scruggs Up the Neck Backup Licks
  • Bill Keith: Intro to Melodic Bluegrass
  • Bill Keith, Alan Munde, Alan O'Bryant: Fiddle Tunes, Bluegrass Style
  • Peter Knupfer, James McKinney, Mike Sumner, Pete Wernick: Demo: Tips on Constructing Breaks
  • James McKinney: Bluegrass Mentor
  • James McKinney: Developing Speed
  • Alan Munde: Intro to Creating Bluegrass Solos
  • Alan Munde: How Rolls Work
  • Alan Munde: Melodic Style Fiddle Tunes
  • Alan O'Bryant: Deriving Melody from Chord Positions Via Rolls
  • Alan O'Bryant: The Mechanics of Good Tone
  • Reinsmith: Banjo Setup and Maintenance
  • Mike Sumner: Working on Basic Chords
  • Pete Wernick: Fitting in at a Ham: Hearing and Following Chord Changes
  • Pete Wernick: Picking it Solid: Achieving Clarity, Punch and Timing

But aside from the sessions and the jamming (which I was able to participate in much better this year, thank you), the big draw of Midwest Banjo Camp is the faculty concert. Each faculty member performs two pieces, which might not sound like a lot until you consider the size of the faculty. The concert takes up two hours each night for two nights and is so good it's worth the price of admission itself.

Unlike previous years where they'd tried to prevent people from recording the concert, this year they bowed to 21st century reality and allowed us to record. For my own benefit I took careful notes about who performed what. Here's my list, which might be useful to others who recorded:

Friday night:

  • Mike Sumner
    • The Old Rugged Cross
    • Manzanita (inspired by Tony Rice)
  • Art Rosenbaum
    • The Bigler
    • John Henry
  • Danny Barnes
    • Misty Swan
    • Overdue
  • Laura Boosinger
    • Sail Away Ladies with Cathy Fink (guitar) and Marcy Marxer (cello banjo)
    • Build Me A Cabin In Glory Land with Alan O'Bryant (banjo), Cathy Fink (guitar) and Marcy Marxer (cello banjo)
  • Alan O'Bryant
    • Road to Columbus with Tom Ball (bass), Marcy Marxer (mandolin), Peter Knupfer (fiddle) and Kevin Gaugier (guitar)
    • Crossing the Cumberland with Tom Ball (bass), Marcy Marxer (mandolin), Peter Knupfer (fiddle) and Kevin Gaugier (guitar)
  • Mac Benford
    • Wise County Jail
    • Medley of Sugar Hill, Julie Ann Johnson and Susanna Gal
  • Erynn Marshall (fiddle)
    • Old Christmas Morning with Mac Benford (banjo)
    • Moneymusk with Mac Benford (banjo), Bob Carlin (guitar) and Tama Loewenthal (clogging)
  • James McKinney
    • The Rain Song with Niki Portmann (bass)
    • Cherokee with Niki Portmann (bass)
  • Howie Bursen
    • Medley of Tune for Tommy Thompson, Hello, Joan D (?) and an Appalachian song
    • Medley of Jay and Molly's Wedding, a hornpipe and Bay of Fundy Reel
  • Pete Wernick
    • Words Unspoken
    • Old Joe Clark

Saturday night:

  • Janet Beazley
    • Cherokee Shuffle with Peter Knupfer (fiddle), Kevin Gaugier (guitar), Christee McNeil (bass)
    • Love Please Come Home with Peter Knupfer (fiddle), Kevin Gaugier (guitar), Christee McNeil (bass)
  • Bob Carlin
    • Barlow Knife
    • She's Gone (and Bob's Gone With Her)
  • Bill Keith
    • Sundays Hornpipe
    • Modo Perpetuo
  • Adam Hurt
    • Fly Around My Blue-Eyed Gal with Cathy Fink
    • Cabin Creek with Marcy Marxer
  • Stan Werbin
    • Bull at the Wagon with Paul Winder (fiddle), Tom Ball (bass), Mary Siders (banjo) and Gerald Ross (ukulele)
    • So Long Mom by Tom Lehrer with Paul Winder (fiddle), Tom Ball (bass), and Gerald Ross (ukulele)
  • Bill Evans
    • Earl's Breakdown with Peter Knupfer (fiddle), Tom Ball (bass), Erynn Marshall (mandolin), Kevin Gaugier (guitar)
    • There's No Place Like Home
  • Brad Leftwich
    • Ellen Smith
    • Susanna Gal with Bob Carlin (banjo) and Mac Benford (banjo)
  • Alan Munde
    • Who Killed the Shanghai Rooster with Peter Knupfer (fiddle), Pooh Stevenson (mandolin), Tom Ball (bass), Kevin Gaugier (guitar)
    • Marching Through Georgia with Peter Knupfer (fiddle), Pooh Stevenson (mandolin), Tom Ball (bass), Kevin Gaugier (guitar)
  • Ken Perlman
    • The Fiddler's Drunk and the Fun's All Over with Brad Leftwich (fiddle)
    • Medley: Stella's Trip to Kamloops, The Iron Man, Angus Campbell and Big John McNeil
  • All faculty
    • Soldier's Joy

And of course, there's the camp photo. If you look very closely you can see me and my sawed-off banjo in the second row, about one-third of the way from the left.


Also in the last week:

  • During the drive to and from camp I played back some of my favorite audios from last year's camp. I'm going to have to put the 2008 and 2009 audios on my iPhone to make them easier to listen to.
  • AgileTek hired a trainer for some agile testing topics and he happens to be a bluegrass mandolin player. So one of AgileTek's guitarists and I, a rogue harmonica player (Hi, Mark!) and our trainer all had a little jam session in the main conference room before work on Thursday. It was nice.

2 comments:

Mary said...

Hi J.R.,

Just thought I'd give you the scoop on the Lost World String Band. The band formed in 1976, with original members: Mary Siders on banjo, Jim Sigler on mandolin & dobro, Stan Werbin on guitar, Paul Winder on fiddle, and Frank Youngman on bass, penny whistle, and uke. (Yeah, it's the only time I've ever been first, alphabetically)

"Bull at the Wagon" ("Red Bull" was a joke) was on the LWSB's first album, "Lost but not Least," and comes from Earl Collins album, "That's Earl, Collins Family Fiddling" (Briar 4204).

The LWSB has been around for more than 30 years, in different forms. I left the band in late 1978, and, before the Saturday concert at MBC, hadn't played with Stan in 30 years (I suggested we should practice at least 5 minutes every 30 years, whether we need to or not!)

Mary Siders

J.R. Jenks said...

Thanks so much for the Lost World String Band info. I really enjoyed your performance, especially So Long Mom. I'm a big Tom Lehrer fan.

I've incorporated your corrections, along with some corrections that Stan Werbin had emailed me. Sorry to have misspelled your name. (On the other hand, it could have been worse. Stan pointed out that I left out the "h" in Pooh Stevenson's name!)