Colorado Roots Music Camp
August 11-17 2024
Arrival: 4:00pm Sunday
Departure: 9:00am Saturday
Colorado Roots Music Camp
August 11-17, 2024
Arrival: 4:00–5:00pm Sunday
Departure: 9:00am Saturday
Daily Instrument Classes
taught by professionals
Daily Jams & Music Circles
All Camp Harmonium
2023 Class Schedule (2024 forthcoming)
203 Instructors & Classes (2024 forthcoming)
Mandolin FUNdamentals (Level 1)
This course is designed for the beginning mandolin player. No experience required. However, if you are a more advance player and want to review some fundamental techniques, this is the perfect opportunity. We will begin with stretching, breathing, relaxing, and remembering to have fun! I will check your mandos for correct setup, strap setup, holding the mando and the pick. We will spend time playing with the proper pick direction, giving you the secrets to playing smoothly and at speed. We will learn some easy tunes, practicing the techniques described above. Join us for some fun, no shoes required.
Fiddle Tune Extravaganza All Instruments (All Levels)
Do you need some new cool tunes? There are classic tunes that many of us know; we are now ready to add some new material to our repertoire. In this class we will explore tunes in the jamming world, some old and some relatively new. You can learn the melodies, or chords, or both (you will get extra credit for both). All normal instruments are welcome. Please let me know ahead of time if you plan to bring a Tuba or Theremin.
Country Classics (Level 2-3)
Fiddlers, we’re going to dive into classic country fiddling. Touching the
repertoire from Ernst Tubb’s Walking the Floor Over You, Bob Wills and the
Texas Playboys’, My Life’s Been a Pleasure, to the Sons of the Pioneers song, Back
in the Saddle Again. We’ll work on authentic country bowing styles that’ll add to
your improvisation toolbox in any genre. This class will include the “how to” of
melodies, fills, and solos in classic country. I’ll also share my “Classic Country
Fiddle Playlist” with you. So, you’ll leave with tools, tunes, and lots of great
music to listen to!
Western Swing Improvisation (Level 3-4)
We’ll delve into my 5 Easy Wins to improvising a Western Swing solo. Practicing
each “ingredient” with creativity. Using guided repetition, we’ll solidify your
skills, and you’ll become a Western Swing improviser in no time!
The objective of the class is to open doors for you whether you’re an improviser
looking for a new, inspiring perspective or you’ve never improvised before and
don’t know where to begin. We’ll begin with Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys’
tune called, My Life’s Been a Pleasure. We’ll get those twin fiddles going in no
Songwriting (All Levels)
Writing your best lyric, making your best song – Whether you’re an experienced songwriter or just starting out, this class will focus on exercises to inspire you along with topics such as song form and finding a great song title! Join me as we explore many tried and true techniques and tools that you can use to bring out the best in any song. Come prepared to write and play and share your work!
Beginning Dobro (All Levels)
Love the sound of the lap-style slide guitar but not sure where to start? This class will get you set up and playing by the end of the week! We’ll find our way around melodies and chords in the most commonly used lap style open tunings. If you don’t have a square neck resonator guitar, you’ll need to bring a regular guitar to temporarily “convert” to lap style playing. “Nut raisers” will be provided. It may also be helpful to get a solid metal slide bar (the most common is a “Stevens” bar), though there will also be some to borrow.
Beginner Upright Bass (Level 1-2)
In the Beginner Upright Bass class we will focus on developing the fundamental skills that are required of a bassist to help every member of an ensemble really feel the groove and play their best. This will include developing a strong and beautiful sound, keeping rock-solid time, playing in tune, as well as understanding and hearing basic chord progressions. We will apply these skills to some timeless songs that showcase the foundations of roots music. Of course, the class will be flexible enough to adapt and benefit the needs of all who are involved.
Intermediate Upright Bass (Level 3-4)
In the Intermediate Upright Bass class we will start to tear down obstacles in our playing by exploring what to expect in a variety of settings such as bluegrass, swing, country, and blues. We will develop a concept of authentic sound through study of the masters. By learning skills such as walking bass, slap style, basic arco, and basic soloing concepts we will learn how to really put some fire in our performances. We will apply these skills to songs that showcase some more complex harmonic progressions. The class will naturally adapt for the benefit of all.
‘Music Theory (All Levels) – Lewis Mock
A little theory can help you understand what you are playing, what you just played, or what you want to play. It’s simply a way to use words to understand the music you are hearing in your head and to use those words to get the music out of your head and into the world. Scales, Arpeggios, chords….. just names for stuff you already hear. Let’s learn some of these words so you can get this music out!!
More Essential Country Guitar Techniques (Level 3)
We all know country guitar when we hear it, but where do those distinctive sounds come from? In this class you’ll learn how to twang, tic-tac and shuffle with the best of ‘em. Using well known classic songs as examples, we’ll look at the rhythm and picking techniques that will get you that gig on the Opry!
Swing Can Be Simple! (Level 2-3)
Do you love that swing sound, but don’t know where to jump in? We’ll build your swing chops from the ground up in this class, starting with the famous sock rhythm, learning a few new chord shapes, and some great tunes, of course.
Find Your Voice (All Levels)
This class will give you a much better understanding of the voice as its own instrument. You will learn how to develop more power and control throughout your range OVER TIME, but there are likely to be some instant improvements, as well. We will cover how that invisible thing actually works, and what you can do to improve range, flexibility, and power. We will focus on some common issues vocalists worry about: vocal strain, singing through your “break” and much more! All levels welcome.
Parts is Parts: Singing Harmony (All Levels)
Using some basic games designed to help develop your ear, we will explore the wonderful world of Harmony! You will learn how to find harmony parts on your own. We will sing in two parts, three parts, maybe even four parts! We’ll all work together in class to compose parts so that we can show off what we learned at the student concert on Friday! All levels welcome.
Fingerstyle Guitar: Positively Popular Picking Pattern! (Level 2-3)
Here we’ll take a look at a few popular picking patterns that have launched a zillion songs, including The Alternating-Thumb, or Travis Pick, and the 3+3+2 pick, used by Jim Croce, Gordon Lightfoot and many Hawaiian Slack Key players.
Fingerstyle Guitar: The Many Ways of Chord Shape (Level 3-4)
Can you fingerpick a C chord? Try sliding it up the neck to the 6th position to play a beautiful sounding Fadd9 chord. We’ll explore different sounds using mostly recognizable shapes that can add color to your playing. Ability to read tablature will be helpful. PS: Not sure what the 6th position is? We’ll discuss that, too!)
Camp Instrumentalist (All Levels) – Keith will be our “Man On The Porch” and always available for a jam anytime of the day”
Keith Yoder has taught guitar, banjo, mandolin, bass, fiddle, and resophonic guitar full time since 1994. In recent years, he has become the go-to guy for jam leadership as well, leading jams at many of the major acoustic music camps in North America. He loves helping folks, both first-timers and veterans, learn the joy of playing with others.
He’s released several CDs, and most recently one where he plays all instrumental parts and sings all vocal parts.
Folk Mandolin (Level 2-3)
In this class will learn how to accompany folk songs in several different ways. Along the way, we will cover right-hand techniques, left-hand positions, chords, backup rhythms, tremolo, cross-picking, introduction to improvising, ear training, and learn a few traditional tunes. Our goal is to enable you to join a jamming circle in a couple of days.
The World of Mandolin (Level 3-4)
We will focus on bluegrass, blues, swing and Latin, featuring its typical aspects such as chord forms, strumming patterns, techniques and traditional tunes. Many of the ‘trade secrets’ will be revealed, including a step-by-step system of improving your improvisation skills, and adding some pointers for practicing after the camp.
Jam Classes & Informal
There will be jam classes and a lot of spontaneous jamming during the camp, so join in as they are big fun. If you’re a newbie and experiencing the (unfounded) “Jam Fear” that everyone does, don’t be intimidated. Everyone experiences Jam Fear when they start, if they have any sense. At first it may be a little scary, but it’ll soon turn into a lot of fun. Some reasons you might hesitate:
- “They’re going to hear me mess up.” No, they’re all busy trying to do their own thing. Very rarely in the average jam does anyone even hear the stuff you’re doing, since they’re worried about their own.
- “I’ll make mistakes.” Yes, you will, as everyone does, and if you’re not beating the daylights out of your instrument, you’re the only one who will hear them.
- “I’ll be put on the spot.” No, in a jam, you can always choose to hang back. If anyone calls on you to take a solo, a shake of your head is a perfectly legitimate response.
- “I can’t keep up.” Maybe so, maybe not. If you can’t, you can still play the chords or notes that sound OK to you as the music passes by.
The fact is that just like that cold water, it’s sometimes a bit scary to jump in the first time, but once you’re used to it, you’re telling everyone that they should jump in; what a bunch of weenies! Please, give the jams a try which may include: Swing Jams, Slow Jams, Bluegrass Jams, Acapella Jams, Honkey Tonk Jams or Old Time Jams.
Online registration opens one year prior to the retreat.
Online registration opens one year prior to the retreat.
Cosy Sheridan, Co-Director
Cosy Sheridan has been called “one of the era’s finest and most thoughtful singer-songwriters.” She first caught the attention of national folk audiences in 1992 when she won both the Kerrville Folk Festival’s NewFolk Award and The Telluride Bluegrass Festival Troubadour Contest, then released her critically-acclaimed debut CD Quietly Led on Waterbug Records. She has released nine CDs, her music is featured in the Robert Fulghum multi-media novel The Third Wish and she tours consistently throughout the US. Her concerts are wide-ranging explorations of modern mythology (meet Hades the Biker), love songs for adults, contemporary philosophy for the thoughtfully-minded and her signature parody on aging and women. Throughout this journey, her lyrical dexterity is backed by her distinctive, percussive bluesy-gospel guitar style. A guitar student of instrumental luminaries such as Guy Van Duser and Eric Schoenberg and a voice student at The Berklee School of Music, she brings a depth of experience to her craft. For the past 18 years, she has taught classes in songwriting, performance and guitar at workshops and adult music camps across the country including The Puget Sound Guitar Workshop and The Swannanoa Gathering. In 2008 she co-founded The Moab Folk Camp.
Dave Firestine, Co-Director
Dave pulls out the “take no prisoners” style of playing at every dance – bringing the tunes to their full potential and beyond. He is a tune-meister and music jams are super fun when he is in the driver’s seat.
Originally a drummer, his strong sense of rhythm and syncopation is the foundation of his playing and tune writing, and truthfully he is never happier than when he gets to pull out the laptop drum kit to back swing and honky tonk tunes. Don’t worry, he can access his sensitive side when playing waltzes and beautiful melodies.
Dave is a music vagrant retiree now, but before that, he was Senior Gyzmologist building lightning detection systems. He is currently playing with the dance bands STEAM! (www.dancetosteam.com) and The Privy Tippers.
Charlie Hall, Founder
After earning a bachelor’s degree in Music Education with emphasis in French horn, Charlie Hall started out as a member of the 6th US Army Band in San Francisco. When real life reared its ugly head, he found he needed a day job, which he found in computers from 1983 to 2003. From 2003 to his retirement in 2017, he was a full-time guitar, mandolin and bass teacher. He’s taught high school band as well as classes in beginning guitar, fingerpicking, bluegrass guitar, music theory and jamming. Charlie was a founder and driving force of the Black Rose Acoustic Society in Colorado Springs, a favorite destination for roots musicians and roots music fans. He performed for ten years with the popular folk/bluegrass band Black Rose, was a finalist in the 2000 National Fingerpicking Championship and was nominated Bluegrass Guitarist of the Year in 1996 by the Colorado Bluegrass Music Society. With his wife Marianne Danehy, Charlie was creator & co-director of the Colorado Roots Music Camp from 2006-2017. He and Marianne are thrilled to hand off management of the Roots Camp to the folks at the Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp as well as Cosy Sheridan and Raul Reynoso.
December 11, 2018, we said goodby to Charlie who passed away after a valiant battle with brain cancer. He leaves behind a large legacy of music and education and those who knew him are better for it. May we all carry on his legacy of life, love and life-long music!
Marianne Danehy, Founder
Marianne Danehy discovered “her people” around 2002; that is, those who played roots music. From 2005 to 2014, she taught violin and fiddling in Colorado Springs, and is a registered instructor with the Suzuki Association of the Americas. Undaunted by two degrees and a former life in Mechanical Engineering and Mathematics, she’s the mother of two nearly-grown kids, William and Anna. Marianne is an excellent teacher and an expert at getting folks started both on violin and fiddle styles. From 2006-2017, along with her husband Charlie Hall, she was co-director of the Colorado Roots Music Camp.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where can I learn more about my stay at RMMC (i.e. accommodations, altitude, creation care).
Please visit the “Reservation Guide” page of the Rocky Mountain website for “YOUR STAY WITH US”, “MOUNTAIN LIVING” & “CREATION CARE” information.
What foodservice is offered? Can you accommodate dietary restrictions?
Camp is pleased to offer a great selection of food choices which include a main dish option, vegetarian option, salad (lunch & supper), and dessert (lunch & supper). Cold beverages (water, orange, apple, grape, crabapple) and hot beverages (coffee, tea, hot chocolate) are also provided.
As much as possible, the camp will accommodate dietary restrictions. An option will be given to list all of your dietary restrictions during registration. We cannot accommodate dietary preferences.
RMMC is not a peanut/nut free location since we serve a variety of campers and guest groups utilizing their own kitchen facilities.
Can visitors be invited to Roots Music Camp during my stay?
Only campers and their paid companions are allowed at the camp. Limited guest tickets (5or so) are available on a first come/first serve basis for someone you’ld like to bring to an evening concert ($15/person) and share the evening with. Be a good friend to Roots Music by inquiring about availability with the Roots office staff the day BEFORE your visitor might come.
What is the Charlie Hall Scholarship Fund?
As the founder of Colorado Roots Music Camp, Charlie Hall was a trail blazer in bringing quality music instruction to the Pikes Peak region. In pursuit of this, he also gathered informal scholarship money to support younger students who were unable to financially afford attendance at Roots. In recognition of this forward thinking approach to growing young musicians, the Charlie Hall Scholarship Fund was officially launched at the end of the June 2018 camp. Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp (RMMC), which has been home to Roots since its beginning in 2006, has taken the opportunity to continue Charlie’s outreach by formalizing the scholarship. As a 501(c)3, RMMC is able to offer a charitable receipt for contributions to the scholarship fund. GO DONORS!
- How to give: Donors can support the next generation of musicians by writing a check to Roots Music Camp earmarked “Charlie Hall Scholarship Fund” and sending to: Roots Music Camp, 709 County Rd 62, Divide CO, 80814. Donations accepted by credit card as well by calling the camp office (719-687-9506).
- Who my apply: College age and younger (age 25), preference to first time campers.
- How to apply: Contact the Colorado Roots Camp Office by email at ([email protected]) for application details.
- Scholarship amount: Full Registration for Chalet, Rustic Cabin or Campground accommodations. Commuters too!
- Number of scholarships: As funds allow for student interest, our goal is for 1-2 scholarships per camp session. Unfortunately, if there are no donors, there is no scholarship. Again, GO DONORS!
- Awarded Scholarships: Scholarship applications will be reviewed and awarded by the Colorado Roots Music Camp Leadership Team.
What should I NOT bring to camp?
- Pets of all sizes (Note: if you have a disability, please contact camp about your service animal)
- Illicit drugs
- Dirt bikes
- Four Wheelers
Do you have to be Mennonite to attend camp?
While teachings during the retreat are Bible-based and from a Mennonite perspective, campers of all faiths are respected and welcome to attend.