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Mandolin & Other Classes at 20th California Coast Music Camp

By John Wagner - California Coast Music Camp
February 20, 2011 - 7:45 pm

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California Coast Music Camp - Celebrating 20 years of world class music instruction

California Coast Music Camp - Celebrating 20 years of world class music instruction

This summer, California Coast Music Camp (CCMC) will be celebrating its 20th year of bringing quality acoustic music instruction to California. Two week-long camps will be held, July 10-16 and July 17-23, 2011.

The camp is located on a wooded ridge at 4,000 feet, in the historic Sierra Nevada Gold Country in Placer County, northeast of Sacramento.

CCMC offers more than 30 classes in mandolin, acoustic guitar, bass, voice, fiddle, ukulele, accordion, and songwriting. CCMC focuses more on teaching practical, usable skills which you can incorporate into your playing or singing. Styles include bluegrass, swing, blues, country, folk, Brazilian, Celtic, jazz, rock, and more. The camp features extra workshops, band labs, jams, concerts, dances, and performance opportunities.

Swimming and hiking are non-musical options at CCMC and some campers bring bikes to explore old roads and mining towns in the area. The camp has fairly flat terrain, with improved roads and trails throughout, and the camp overlooks one of the main canyons of the American River. Camp includes all meals and activities; for lodging, you can bring a tent or RV or stay in shared cabins.

But most of all, you get lots of music and music instruction from mandolin teachers like these, who have been on the CCMC faculty previously and are back for the 20th camp:

Week 1 Mandolin Instructors: Rich DelGrosso and Topher Gayle

Rich is an award-winning mandolin player who plays any style but has specialized in mandolin in a blues setting. He has authored several books and many magazine articles on the topic. He has written a mandolin instruction series which are distributed nationally and has numerous CD projects. Rich has been on the faculty of David Grisman and Mike Marshall's annual Mandolin Symposium workshop and concert series.

Topher is a multi-instrumentalist who has toured nationally with contradance bands and performs regularly with an array of bands in other styles. He is an active songwriter and has also written several music instruction books. Topher is the developer of the Mandonator®, a resonator mandolin which he also builds.

Week 2 Mandolin Instructors: Mike Compton and Marla Fibish

Mike is among the top mandolin players in the country. He has participated in over 75 CD projects, some of which have been Grammy Award winners, and his mandolin can be heard in soundtracks for Oh Brother! Where Art Thou?, Cold Mountain and other movies. He has performed and recorded with musicians like Doc Watson, Ralph Stanley, John Hartford, David Grier and David Grisman. As an active member of the Nashville Bluegrass Band, he has toured internationally. Mike has also been on the Mandolin Symposium faculty several times.

Marla specializes in Celtic mandolin, mandola and button accordion. She has added her Irish sound to several CD projects, including that of Three Mile Stone, an Irish trio with whom she regularly appears in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has both a CD and national tour upcoming with Irish musician, Jimmy Crowley, which will feature all the instruments in the mandolin family. She will be on the 2011 Mandolin Symposium faculty and has taught mandolin at other camps as well.

In addition to skills classes, CCMC offers band workshops in bluegrass, Western Swing and jazz styles, plus purely repertoire classes that mandolin players can enjoy. And there is always lots of jamming and chances to perform.

CCMC's teachers for other instruments and voice have similarly strong musical backgrounds as the mandolin faculty, so you'd have a chance to work on the non-mandolin parts of your music or try out a new style. CCMC strives to bring in instructors who are not only great musicians but great teachers as well.

Go to to get details on the classes for mandolin and other instruments, plus information about the camp itself. Students may register for one or both weeks at this site or by mail. Scholarships are available. You can find links to the web sites of teachers there, too, if you want to get more of their musical bios and hear samples of their playing.

One of CCMC's 2010 Mandolin Classes. Steve Smith, instructor (back, right)

California Coast Music Campers

Whether you're a shy beginner or a seasoned professional, CCMC's classes and activities will challenge and inspire you. The supportive atmosphere will encourage you to stretch musically, regardless of your level or experience. And CCMC is fun - and has been for 20 years.


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Reader Comments

February 21, 2011 11:54 AM
Great music camp! I went 3 years at its previous location. You'll like it! smile
Topher Gayle
March 06, 2011 09:32 PM
It's my great pleasure to teach at CCMC again this year. But it has been perhaps my even greater pleasure to have been a student at CCMC for the seven or so years before that!

CCMC was the single most important (and totally fun) thing I ever did musically. From it came the skills, connections, and experiences that have taken me where I am now. And I am very happy about all this!

I think CCMC is great! I think you should meet me there. We'll play some tunes together!
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