Bluegrass Banjo Camp


The 2017 Weiser Bluegrass Banjo Camp was a success as 40 students and 4 instructors from six states gathered. It is with great sadness and great gratitude for her terrific service that we say goodbye (for now) to Janet Beazley after her excellent three year run as an instructor at our banjo camp.  

It is with excitement that we announce that her successor in 2018 will be none other than the great banjoist and teacher Alan Munde! Please mark your calendars for the 2018 Weiser Bluegrass Camp on May 17-20, 2018. Please check our website periodically for updates. 


CLASS  OF  2017  -  Weiser Bluegrass Banjo Camp

How the Weiser Bluegrass Camp Works
Our goal is to provide high quality bluegrass banjo instruction in an intensive, intimate setting that is FUN! Our instructors are carefully selected for both their proficiency in bluegrass banjo playing and their skill in teaching. We limit our enrollment to sixty students, ensuring a low student:teacher ratio with three primary instructors and two assistant instructors. This is an important distinction from banjo camps with much larger numbers of students.

Our camp is held at Slocum Hall, the headquarters of the world famous National Old Time Fiddle Contest and Festival in Weiser, Idaho. Slocum Hall is part of the wonderful Intermountain Institute that taught traditional skills from 1909 to about 1935  to tens of thousands of students who otherwise did not have access to high school. So we are carrying on the wonderful tradition of the "Old Tute". Classes are held inside Slocum Hall and occasionally under the giant trees on the Slocum Hall.

Students are encouraged to stay on campus during the bluegrass camp so they can participate late into the night in instructor-led jams sessions, jam in their own small groups and socialize with their fellow banjo students, instructors and Slocum Hall staff. Information regarding onsite camping or lodging in Slocum Hall guest rooms is available through the National Old Time Fiddle Contest office:  208-414-0255.

Most students arrive during the day on Thursday so they can settle in, get to know fellow banjo campers and instructors and do some evening jamming. The instructors and staff also conduct a short kickoff session answering questions.  Four class periods are held on Friday and Saturday and the camp concludes with two more periods on Sunday morning. Generally three parallel classes are held during each class period (sometimes four) so students have a wide menu to choose from and ample opportunity to learn from each instructor.

We engage students in setting the banjo instruction. In February or March, a curriculum  survey will appear here for you to take and help shape the camp to best suit your needs.  Registered participants will receive an email reminder when the survey is ready.  For questions about this year's camp, you can  email us by selecting the Contact us link.

Tuition for 2018 Weiser Banjo Camp is $285. This fee includes light breakfasts on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, an Idaho Potato bar dinner on Friday evening and a pulled pork dinner on Saturday evening. Students are on their own for lunches - either preparing their own luncehs at their campsite, ordering from a deli menu for delivery from Weiser or going to a nearby restaurant. Accommodations is made for special dietary needs.

Needs-based scholarships
Some half-tuition scholarships will be available to youths (18 and under) and aspiring young scientists. Contact us for more information if you are interested.

Registration
On line registration will be available soon through a link on this page.  In the meantime, Contact us to register manually.

Resident Instructors


Jason Homey
Jason Homey has been playing 5-string banjo (both 3 finger style and clawhammer) since 1989.  Three years running, Jason has been a first place winner at the Weiser Banjo Contest.  He is also a two-time first place winner of the Western Canadian Banjo Championships and a long-time member of the folk-bluegrass-rock- band "The Clumsy Lovers".  Since moving to Boise in the Fall of 2011, Jason has kept busy with an increasingly full schedule of banjo, mandolin, and guitar students.  He has many years of experience teaching banjo workshops.  Jason leads two well-attended weekly bluegrass jams in downtown Boise.





Gary "Slim" Eller
Gary Eller has played American roots music since childhood and has played banjo for over fifty years.  He has played in countless bands in West Virginia, Ohio, New Mexico, Washington and Idaho. He has won or placed in banjo and band competitions in several states. Currently, Gary is the banjo player for the popular regional progressive bluegrass band Chicken Dinner Road, a board member of the National Old Time Fiddle Contest and director of the Weiser Banjo Contest.  Gary is also the director of the Idaho Songs Project.  Originally from West Virginia, Gary had a thirty year career in nuclear science and engineering at Los Alamos National Laboratory.  He is now retired and resides in Pickles Butte near Nampa, Idaho.  



2017 Guest Instructors

Alan  Munde      Alan Munde began his long career in bluegrass music with the 1968 recording of Poor Richard's Almanac featuring Sam Bush and Wayne Stewart, followed by a traditional grounding in bluegrass music as a member of IBMA Hall of Fame member Jimmy Martin and the Sunny Mountain Boys.  In 1972 Alan Joined his college picking friend Byron Berline in the forward-leaning bluegrass group Country Gazette.  Alan continued as the anchor of the group for 21 years.  Along the way,  he recorded many highly regarded albums including Banjo Sandwich, and the Festival Favorites series.  Alan participated in the 2001 IBMA Instrumental Album of the Year, Knee Deep in Bluegrass.  His most recent recording is a duo CD with mandolin player Billy Bright titled Bright Munde.  He taught in the Bluegrass Music Program at South Plains College in Levelland, Texas for 20 years.  Alan has also published many instructional books for Mel Bay, instructional DVDs for Texas Music and Video, and participated in music workshops and camps both in America and Europe.


Mark Thomas     Mark is a full-time instructor of banjo, guitar, upright bass, mandolin and fiddle - all the instruments needed for a bluegrass band.  Mark frequents local and regional festivals and encourages his students to do the same.  A mainstay of the National Old Time Fiddlers Contest at Weiser  for many years, Mark was been a member of several regional bluegrass favorites including String Band Review, the Knott Brothers.  Mark won the 1999 - 2000 Northwest regional Bluegrass Showdown, eventually finishing 3rd at the International Bluegrass Music Association.



Previous Guest Instructors

Janet Beazley 
Janet Beazley plays banjo and sings with the California bluegrass band Chris Stuart & Backcountry, and with the folk duo Chris Stuart & Janet BeazleyJanet also plays and teaches classical music and holds a doctorate in Early Music from USC.  She teaches bluegrass banjo to students of all levels. She also teaches traditional and baroque flutes, recorders and whistles, beginning mandolin, beginning dobro, as well as viola da gamba.


Bill Evans
Bill Evans is an internationally recognized five-string banjo life force. As a performer, teacher, writer and composer, he brings a deep knowledge, intense virtuosity and contagious passion to all things banjo, with thousands of music fans and banjo students from all over the world in a music career that now spans over thirty-five years.  Click here to visit Bill's website and see what he is up to.