Family Music Camp: July 24 –28, 2019
with Ian Wahl, Rachel Baiman, George Jackson, Michelle McAfee, and Mary Alice Donaldson
Summer camp is not just for kids. At the McCarthy Family Music Camp, all family members get to enjoy learning and playing music with others, accompanied by the melodies of some of Alaska’s biggest glaciers and most inspiring mountain scenery.
During our tune-filled, action-packed folk music camp, families will engage in multiple instructor-led group sessions and classes. Family members will have opportunities to play together, as well as with individualized peer sessions. Craft activities for youth and exploration of the Wrangells environs will round out the fun.
Who should attend?
The McCarthy Family Music Camp is open to musicians of all levels; parents can be beginners too! This year we will be accepting students in violin/fiddle, banjo, guitar, ukulele, bass, and mandolin. It is our experience that children are most likely to benefit from the structure of a music camp if they are at least eight years old. However, our goal is to accommodate families. We know there are prodigies out there, or just really cute ukulele players, so drop us a line if you have questions.
Tuition covers instruction, three dinners, instrument storage, tent space, and access to the WMC kitchen facilities to prepare breakfast and lunches. Ways to save:
Two-fer Tuition: Get one free adult admission for each enrolled child (sixteen years or younger)
Early Bird Discount: Register by April 18 ($340 until April 18, $375 after April 18)
Current WMC members: Save an additional 10% ($306 until April 18, $337.50 after April 18)
Refund policy: All fees paid will be refundable until May 1st.
You may register either online, by mailing in our PDF form (click here), to P.O. Box 142972, Anchorage, Alaska 99514-2972.
Above: Scenes from some of the fun activities from past Family Music Camps: swimming, biking, and enjoying the annual barn dance. Photos from left to right by Lilly Goodman-Allwright, Addy Wright, and Leanne Phelps
Music Camp Instructors
Ian Wahl is an Anchorage-born musician who has performed and recorded with several Alaska bands, including Naked Mabel and Hot Sauce. He peforms and teaches a multitude of instruments at all levels.
In addition to having experience running her own fiddle camp in Chicago, Rachel Baiman is a winner of the Midwestern Fiddle Championships as well as a two time winner of the Illinois State fiddle Championship and a second place winner of the 2012 Nashville Grand Masters Fiddle Championship. She has toured extensively throughout the US with the band Ten-String Symphony, as well as her own band. She is also a songwriter, and has recently released her inspiring album Shame.
George Jackson grew up in New Zealand, on the sound of folk and bluegrass fed in wholesome doses by his musician parents, whilst traveling around the country living in a house bus. He graduated from the Queensland Conservatorium of Music in Brisbane with a degree in Jazz Violin Performance. He has won multiple Australian Bluegrass Championships on both Banjo and Fiddle as well as the 2012 Rockygrass Banjo Championship in Colorado. George spearheaded the progressive Australian bluegrass band The Company and the international trio One Up, Two Down and has toured with notable international bluegrass musician Peter Rowan. George currently lives in Nashville in 2016 where he is a touring member of Missy Raines and the New Hip on Banjo and Fiddle.
Michelle McAfee is an Americana Folk Songstress with a way of weaving unforgettable melodies into vivid stories. She is based in Oregon with roots in McCarthy, Alaska. Michelle has opened shows for major acts such as The Indigo Girls, G Love & Special Sauce, Jewel and wrote & recorded music for Shelley Niro's film “Kissed By Lightening”. A passion for environmental and social justice issues comes through in her work and has also led her to co-create the artist collective One Soul, which takes music and art into prisons. Her previous musical career as a staff songwriter for publishers in Nashville and Los Angeles (Warner-Chappell, Sony/Maypop Music, Bluewater Music) honed her writing skills and continues to impact her current work: heartfelt songs driven by sweet hooks and smart stories.
Mary Alice Donaldson has delighted in introducing children and adults to the joy of folk dancing since her college days. She received her cello performance degree from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and her Masters in Music Education from Miami University. Mary Alice is a longtime member of the Anchorage Symphony Orchestra and a retired classroom Music and orchestra teacher in the Anchorage School District. Mary Alice has presented sessions on folk dancing and the Orff process for state and National Conferences in Alaska, Arizona, Utah and Washington. From 2001-2014 she taught a at New England Music Camp in Maine.
Facilities and Venue
The Family Music Camp is offered by the Wrangell Mountains Center, which is based in the rustic town of McCarthy. Our campus, near the foot of a 25 mile long glacier, includes the “The Old Hardware Store”, which is listed on the Register of National Historic Places, and our newly acquired Porphyry Place. The solar-powered campus includes several meeting areas, a communal kitchen, classrooms, storage spaces, a greenhouse, and gardens, which provide fresh greens during meals to camp participants.
Where to Stay and Eat
Participants are invited to camp on the banks of the Kennicott River, a short walk away from campus. Participants may also elect to stay at one of the many other local accommodations. Tuition at the Family Music Camp covers family-style dinner every night of the camp. You are on your own for breakfast and lunch, but are welcome to store and prepare food at the Old Hardware Store, as well clean up in our (private but outdoor) shower. There are two other eateries in town, as well as a place to get a cup of coffee any time. With advanced notice, family members who are not registered in the music camp are invited to join us during dinner for an extra $15/person per day.
Participants should plan to arrive in McCarthy by 3:30 pm in time to get settled and enjoy orientation before dinner on Thursday, July 25th. The workshop ends with noon-time public performance on Sunday, July 28th. After you register, you will receive a welcome packet with more information.
More about McCarthy
The town of McCarthy is set in the heart of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, the largest national park in the country. Wrangell-St. Elias is world renowned for its wild landscapes, high peaks, massive glaciers and rivers, healthy ecosystems, and dramatic scenery, as well as its unique cultural history.
McCarthy is approximately a seven hour drive from Anchorage or Fairbanks (plus time for sightseeing, et cetera). It is possible to fly or arrange shuttles from Anchorage to McCarthy, and occasionally we can help arrange carpools for participants, though we make no promises.
McCarthy and neighboring Kennecott, a national historic landmark, are situated within the Kennicott Valley (note the different spellings between the natural features and historical features.) McCarthy and Kennecott serve locals and travelers alike as a gateway to world-class backcountry opportunities and amazing front country hikes and walks (including access to the Root Glacier); the Kennicott Valley also provides a window into some of the most unique chapters in Alaska's history and an authentic, lively contemporary community.
Support the Family Music Camp!
With sponsorships of $120 or more, businesses will be recognized in our in our annual newsletter, as well as frequent highlighted verbal recognition during the course of the camp
With sponsorships of more than $250, a full 8 ½ x 11 “thank you” poster will also be posted for the duration of the camp.
We would also like to thank our generous sponsors at Alaska Music & Sound