Registration now closed. If you have any questions please contact our camp coordinator at [email protected]
Our instructors are some of the top working musicians in their industry. Our alumni boast an impressive range of accomplishments, including working with the likes of Ricky Skaggs, Marty Stuart, The Dixie Chicks and more. The skill required for them to play at this level takes diligence, patience and practice. Not only are they masters of their instruments, but they are also teachers, skilled at passing their knowledge on to learners both new and experienced. No matter your skill level or instrument of choice there will be a class and instructor for you!
The Northern Lights Music Camp provides a friendly, non-competitive environment for musicians of all ages and skill levels. Perhaps you are just getting started in music? Or you are a skilled player looking to hone your skills? We have a class for you.
Skill Level Descriptions –
Please sign up for the class that best describes your current skill level. If you are uncomfortable on your first day of class, you’ll have the option to discuss changing classes.
Please note that depending on demand and available instructors, not all skill levels are available for each instrument.
You are relatively new to your instrument. You have been taking a few lessons or learning through how-to videos and are looking for a solid base to be established. You want to know about correct posture, how to best hold the pick or bow, how to improve chord formation, tips on tuning and intonation, and you want to begin playing songs. You need to be introduced to good study/practice habits, how to read music or tablature, and developing excellent technique.
You are progressing on your instrument. You are ready to start to play with other musicians and you can already play a few tunes from memory. You can play along with a CD if it is at medium speed. You are feeling that you need a booster to get you moving toward the next level. You have a solid grasp of all the basic techniques for your instrument and may be able to read tablature or music.
You are looking for fine tuning tips on how to improve your playing. You can jam with others, improvise fairly well on new tunes and are (or want to) play in an organized band. Your tab/music reading skills are great. You know some scales and how to use them in improvisation situations. Your speed is improving as you use your metronome. You have an arsenal of tunes you can play from memory. You play your instrument or practice almost every day.
Beginner Guitar with: Olivia Morelli
About: Olivia has been playing music for over 10 years. She started on classic violin and Canadian old time fiddle and grew up going to John Arcand Fiddle Fest. She is self taught on guitar and has been playing Carter Scratch and basic melody picking for years. Olivia loves singing and playing any instrument around! She has been teachingmusic privately for five years. In 2022, she started working for Eliza Doyle’s CAMP and got to work in Buffalo Narrows and Stanley Mission. Through her years of experience, she has learned how to teach to different ages, levels, and learning styles. Olivia has a strong focus on the value of community and music and how they fit together. She has started and supported many music programs in her community and others. Olivia plays banjo and fiddle in Five Guys Named Dave, is a fill-in fiddler for The Local Group, plays guitar and other instruments in her band, Mary Liv and Emmy Lou, and is a fill-in instrumentalist and vocalist for other bands.
Class Description:This will be a welcoming class for those of all ages to get a good grip on the basics of guitar! I will share
info on basic upkeep of your instrument. We will work on basic chords and strumming, how to jam with others,
Nashville Numbering System overview, singing and playing, and much more!
Intermediate Guitar with: Sean Newman (The Well Drinkers)
About: Originally from the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, Sean spent his childhood going to fiddlers conventions around the southeast. In addition to early exposure to bluegrass and old time music, he has spent time studying jazz and R&B bass players. Now primarily a guitar player, his experience as a bass player has influenced his rock steady rhythm playing and unique improvisational style
Class Description: This class will teach more advanced backup guitar techniques such as syncopated rhythmic fills and chord scales. Along with intermediate lead playing technique and repertoire building. We will work on things such as fiddle tune melodies and the many different ways to build on the core melody such as crosspicking, double stops, and much more.
Advanced Guitar with: Patrick Hamilton (Happy Trails, Prospector)
About: Born and raised Yukoner Patrick Hamilton picked up banjo at a young age and was quickly added to the family band. Since then Patrick has become a multi-instrumentalist and genre spanning player, finding success behind the drums, surrounded by synthesizers or with a banjo in hand.
Touring internationally as a drummer or teaching at bluegrass camps around Canada come naturally to Patrick who thinks finding the joy and humor in music is key.
In this class we will be breaking down some of the rugged minutia of flatpicking guitar in the pre Tony Rice era.
Covering some techniques from guitar pioneers like Doc Watson, George Shuffler, Riley Pucket, John Dillenshaw, Jimmie Rodgers and Maybelle Carter. Along with learning some specific picking techniques we will cover different rhythm styles and how to approach back ups and improvisation with creativity and fun!
All Levels Dobro with: Adam Bachman (The Well Drinkers)
About: Adam is from Tigerville South Carolina. He grew up listening to his neighbor play the dobro and eventually bought a dobro from him at the age of 20. He has been strongly influenced by Jerry Douglas, Rob Ickes, Stacey Phillips and Billy Cardine. His musical influences range in genre from bluegrass to blues to country/americana.
The square neck resonator course will address the fundamentals of dobro playing for beginners all the way up to advanced playing techniques and concepts. We will cover hand positioning, backup playing, fill support and soloing aspects of the resophonic guitar. We will also cover popular licks and attitudes towards the instrument varying from bluegrass, blues and Hawaiian music.
Please bring your own instrument, bar and picks. Capo is recommended.
Beginner Mandolin with: Michael Taylor (5 Guys Named Dave)
About: Michael Taylor is a Saskatoon based musician with an interest in getting as many people as possible to learn to play music together as often as possible. Michael has been attending Northern Lights camp for several years and this year has decided to transition into teaching mandolin. Michael has been leading the Slow jams at music camp for the last few years. Additionally, he hosts the bi-weekly Northern Lights Jams at The Bassment. A familiar figure to anybody who is involved in the bluegrass/old time scene in Saskatoon, Michael currently teaches music in Saskatoon and plays shows all around the province with his band 5 Guys Named Dave.
Class Description: In this class, we will start by learning some basic chords, and then applying those chords to familiar singing songs and fiddle tunes. We will work on our strumming, picking patterns, timing and think about the role of the mandolin when playing with others. By using only our ears, a pick and some very basic theory we will transfer the notes that we hear in our heads onto our instruments. If attending this class, please bring some picks, change of mandolin strings, a tuner and of course…your mandolin!
Intermediate Mandolin with: Jake Bachman (The Well Drinkers)
About: Jake was born on the outskirts of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania but grew up in the foothill mountains of South Carolina. He began playing mandolin at a young age, when his uncle gifted him an old instrument, however Jake primarily focused on song writing, solo and duo performances on guitar and vocals. At the creation of The Well Drinkers, Jake again rekindled his passion for mandolin, reuniting with the instrument on a fulltime basis. Jake’s strongest influences are Tim O’Brien, Shawn Lane and Sam Bush.
Class Description: The Bluegrass mandolin course will cover the fundamentals of mandolin playing in a lead and support setting. We will cover concepts including right and left-hand technique, the importance of pick direction, how to deliver quality tone and rhythm support playing. We will also dive into the Nashville Numbers System and basic solo construction derived from melody to aid in any fireside jam situation where you may be unfamiliar with the tune, allowing you to settle into any key.
All Levels Bluegrass Banjo with: Jeremy Rilko (The Well Drinkers)
About: Jeremy has been playing banjo for over eight years and has really dedicated himself to learning Scruggs style bluegrass banjo. Jeremy can also play melodic style as well as some single string. He’s been a member of the Well Drinkers for three years and has released an album of his own music under his own name as well.
Class Description: The class will be geared for the beginning banjo player and will cover basic Earl Scruggs style rolls and playing techniques as well as an introduction to learning tunes. The class will also touch on some melodic style playing but will mostly be geared toward player skill levels.
Beginner Clawhammer Banjo with: Eliza Doyle
About: This international and award winning banjo player from Saskatchewan, Canada has a unique way of captivating audiences around the world with her charismatic performances, stylistic clawhammer banjo playing and sophisticated songwriting. Since playing with The Dead South (garnishing her a Juno in 2018), her musicianship and profile has skyrocketed. She is a versatile player, a seasoned performer, teacher, and session musician who brings an authenticity and energy to her music through her unstoppable and ferocious spirit.
Class Description:No matter where you are in your beginner clawhammer journey, this class will progress you forward with
tips and tricks to keep you challenged to elevate your playing abilities. During this class, you will learn the basics of the clawhammer technique, simple bass line transitions, new songs, and slick licks that will make you seem like a pro! As an experienced teacher, Eliza Doyle will keep you engaged throughout the week to teach to your abilities and keep you comfortably moving forward, at whatever stage in the game you are at!
Intermediate/ Advanced Clawhammer Banjo with: Martha Spencer (Martha Spencer & The Wonderland Band)
About: Martha Spencer is a singer-songwriter, mountain musician and dancer from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. She grew up in the musical Spencer family and learned to play several instruments (guitar, fiddle, banjo, bass, dulcimer, mandolin) and flatfoot/clog. She performs and has recorded with various groups and has been involved with several roots music projects. She has played shows, festivals and led workshops across the US, Australia, UK, Canada, and Europe. Martha’s first solo album 2018 and latest release “Wonderland” in 2022 have been featured in articles in Rolling Stone Country, No Depression, Holler, Wide Open Country, Bluegrass Situation, Americana Highways, PopMatters and more. She also has been included in articles in the NY Times, Austin Chronicle and Billboard and was a part of the Fiddlin’ documentary movie.
Class Description: We will work on different rhythms, tunings, techniques and songs. We will also focus on regional banjo styles and tunes from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.
Range from basic banjo rhythms, chords to more complex songs depending on levels and interest.
Intermediate/ Advanced Old Time Fiddle with: Trevor Mckenzie (Martha Spencer & The Wonderland Band)
About: Trevor McKenzie is a historian and musician based in western North Carolina. He is the Director of the Center for Appalachian Studies at Appalachian State University, where he teaches about regional history, folklore, and music. He has performed with regional groups including Nobody’s Business, The Little Stony Nighthawks, and the Elkville String Band. He is the author of “Otto Wood, the Bandit: The Freighthopping Thief, Bootlegger, and Convicted Murderer behind the Appalachian Ballads,” available through UNC Press. McKenzie is a member of SouthArts’ Emerging Traditional Artists cohort and the recipient of an NC Arts Council apprenticeship to study regional fiddle traditions with master fiddler and banjo player Paul Brown.
Class Description: Fiddle Tunes from the Lost Provinces
The area where the mountains of northwestern North Carolina, southwest Virginia, and East Tennessee meet has a long history of fiddle traditions. Known as the Lost Provinces due to its lack of rail lines in early twentieth century, the musicians of this border region traveled between communities, sharing tunes and creating a diversity of fiddle styles that continue as a living tradition today.
Over the course of the week, we will explore the sounds, styles, and techniques associated with fiddlers from this section of Appalachia. We’ll dive into earlier solo traditions as well as more modern sounds in mountain music. Along the way, we’ll look at the history and memory of this place has shaped, and continues to reshape, the communities and their musical traditions.
Beginner Bluegrass Fiddle with: Sarah Hamilton (Happy Trails, Prospector)
About: Raised in Whitehorse, Yukon, by two professional musicians, Sarah Hamilton was surrounded by oldtime, bluegrass, ragtime and swing music from an early age. She has been playing fiddle since the age of six and started performing shortly with bands including: The Done Gone Stringband, Annie Lou, Pigeonhawk Stringband, Combo Royale, The Swinging Pines, and Happy Trails, Prospector. Throughout her career Sarah’s passion for American music has pulled her around the states to study, observe, and participate in some of the finest Appalachian, Cajun and Swing music the vast country has to offer.
Sarah has been teaching fiddle privately and in group settings for over 10 years. She has experience teaching children and adults privately, and at music camps across Canada including Nimblefingers workshops and festival (bc), Northern Lights Bluegrass and Oldtime (sk), Kluane Mountain Bluegrass Festival and Yukon Summer Music Camp.
She is extremely passionate about teaching fiddle, singing, music theory, improvisation and dance has spent the past 2 years programming and teaching for long running yukon youth ensemble Fiddleheads, of which she is an alumni.
Class Description: A warm welcome to the fiddle! In this beginners workshop we will be working on the fundamentals of fiddling, starting with learning simple melodies by ear. With the focus on creating the strong basic technique required, we prepare to enter the wonderful world of bluegrass and old-time fiddling.
Together we’ll be working on bow and fiddle hold, finger placement, simple rhythms and melodies, as well as backup for singers and other players.
The aim of the course is to get you ready to go out and get pickin’ with fundamental backup skills and essential jam etiquette!
Note: This workshop is intended for those who already have a little fiddle under their belts. If you are just starting out we would recommend getting a few private lessons locally before camp starts!
Intermediate/Advanced Bluegrass Fiddle with: Nathan Smith (Happy Trails, Prospector)
About: An inquisitive and versatile musician, Nathan Smith fiddles and sings with a number of Canadian ensembles playing country, Western Swing, Québecois, Métis, French, and Swedish traditional music as well as his own traditionally-inspired compositions. His main projects include the innovative bluegrass and roots band The Barrel Boys, chamber-trad supergroup Vinta, and the raucous fun-loving old-time/bluegrass collective Happy Trails, Prospector. His debut solo album of original tunes and songs “Let it Rest, Let it Rise” was released in February 2020.
Nathan has taught fiddle and harmony vocals at workshops and camps across Canada, and his combination of experience and enthusiasm for musical discovery have made him a favourite among his students.
Get ready to do a lot of playing in this class! We’ll be studying tunes and songs from the bluegrass and old time repertoires, but we’ll mostly be stepping outside the box of the melody to explore the fiddle as an ensemble instrument for jamming. We’ll get familiar with different combinations of rhythmic patterns and chords that allow a fiddler to be a versatile accompaniment player, and we’ll dive into scales and licks that will enable us to create interesting melodic variations and craft our own solos!
Prerequisite: Students should have some experience playing fiddle and be able to play at least a handful of tunes in the old-time or bluegrass style. Music will be taught by ear, but sheet music will be available as a supplemental resource.
All Levels Upright Bass with: Norbert McGettigan III (The Well Drinkers)
About: Norbert started playing the upright bass at 19 while attending Colorado College. He played in various bluegrass bands there and had the opportunity to play at venues and festivals throughout Colorado. After graduation, he relocated to the mountains of Western North Carolina, where he currently resides in the small town of Mars Hill, NC. He can be heard with The Well Drinkers and various other bands playing up and down the east coast. In his downtime, he enjoys running and biking.
Class Description: We’ll start by examining left and right hand technique and learning the basics of navigating chord changes. We’ll then learn the Nashville Number System and how to apply it to quickly learn songs. Other topics we’ll explore include three four time, walking bass, and slap bass.
SOLD OUT! Vocal Harmony with: Miles Zurawell and Nico Humby (Happy Trails, Prospector)
Nico Humby: Currently living in Edmonton, AB, Nico is a bass and mandolin player, and multi-disciplinary artist who brings his energy and high-lonesome harmonies to the stage. He’s played and taught internationally alongside several renowned Bluegrass musicians such as Greg Blake, Jeff Scroggins and Jesse Brock. One of his current musical projects is The Humbuddies, a lil’ duo with his pops, Bill Humby.
Miles Zurawell: Miles Zurawell is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, teacher, and recording artist based out of Victoria, BC. He has performed as an accompanist for over a decade in western Canada and internationally with acclaimed artists such as Greg Blake, John Lowell, Blaine Sprouse, and Zachary Lucky. Apart from his recent work with Happy Trails, Prospector, Miles has recorded his debut dobro and banjo project for a release in Summer 2023.
Class Description: What’s better than one singing voice? Two or three singing voices in perfect sultry harmony! Come spend a good part of a week with Nico and Miles, and learn what gives Bluegrass singing its compelling sound. We will have a chance to sing duets and cover the harmony “stack”. We’ll cover basic theory (scales, chords and intervals), and explore stylistic variations such as The Louvin Brothers and Gospel Quartet harmonies. No need to be shy, this will be a safe space for loudly and proudly experimenting with our voices!
Sing Out Strong with: Jaimie Collins (Martha Spencer & The Wonderland Band)
About: Born and raised in encircled by the rich history of mountain music traditions of the Blue Ridge, Jamie Collins carries tradition forward with her own fresh take on bluegrass, old-time, and country music.
Hailing from Bristol, Tennessee known as the Birthplace of Country Music, Collins was born to a mountain music family featuring her flatpicking virtuoso father, Tony Collins. Instilled with a deep love and appreciation for the local traditions at a young age, Collins grew up attending festivals and fiddlers’ conventions, where she witnessed some of the best in old-time and bluegrass. Inspired by the musicians in her life, Collins would go on to pick up several instruments, including the guitar and upright bass.
In addition to the instruments that she plays, Collins is also a celebrated Appalachian singer, which has made her a sought after harmony singer on other artists’ projects. Her musical prowess has garnered her several prizes at Fiddlers’ Conventions throughout the region including the highly regarded Galax Fiddlers Convention.
Collins has performed alongside her family, as well as with The Rose Sisters, The Heather Berry + Tony Mabe Show, Mason Via + Hot Trail Mix, Adam Bolt, Martha Spencer, and with her own group featuring Martha Spencer and Brett Morris, The Blue Ridge Girls.
As a solo artist, Collins has released an album entitled “Enjoy Life” which encapsulates the positivity that she brings to the world. Offering a mix of original songs and traditional numbers, the album features a multitude of regional talent with Collins at the centre.
Class Description: This singing class will feature techniques unique to traditional Appalachian singing in reference to a few different Carter family classics such as “Wildwood Flower” “Bury Me Beneath the Willow” and “Gold Watch and Chain”. Students will learn about various ways to sustain notes, work on their vocal range, harmony singing, articulation, and emphasis on signing with emotion.
Fungrass with: Steph Cameron
Children’s Music for ages 5-9
About: Polaris Music Prize nominee Steph Cameron is pleased to host this year’s Children’s Music Class! Steph is a finger-picking guitar player and singer-song writer who has performed across Europe and the UK, toured with legendary artist Buffy Sainte-Marie and performed at international festivals such as Celtic Connections and Folk Alliance.
Class Description: In this class, students will explore music through the use of rhythm, dance, play, singing and song writing. Children will learn and sing about the many animals that call the Boreal Forest home, see an array of musical instruments by visiting the various classes held around the site and make homemade instruments too! Children who are staying Friday evening will have a chance to kick off the festival by performing a rehearsed song on stage.