General Camp Info
Meal Plan for Regular Camp
Our catered meal plan for the full camp covers all meals from dinner on Thursday, March 10 through lunch on Sunday, March 13. All meals will be prepared by the outstanding Cerveny Dining Facility. There will routinely be omnivore and vegetarian options at each meal. Cerveny can also provide vegan meals, and provide meals for those with restricted or special diets. Please let us know on the registration form under “special needs” if you require a special diet. Students may opt out of the regular camp meal plan only by special request.
Meal Plan for the Weekend-Only Option
All meals from dinner on Friday evening through lunch on Sunday are provided by the Cerveny Dining Facility.
Note: the weekend-only plan does NOT include Friday lunch, but Friday lunch may be added as an option.
The weekend-only meal plan begins with Friday dinner. However, students registered for weekend-only may opt in to the catered Friday lunch provided for Full Camp participants. The cost is $13.50 per person. Just check the appropriate blank on the registration form.
Vegetarian vs. Vegan Meals
For those unsure of the distinction, entrees classed as “vegetarian” often contain eggs or dairy products such as milk or cheese. Vegan meals contain no animal products whatsoever.
An Outstanding Visual Experience, Too!!
Meals take place at the Varn Dining Hall whose glass-fronted wall allows for an unobstructed view of a beautiful White Lake; featuring abundant Spanish moss and frequent sightings of egrets, herons, and other assorted waterfowl.
Suwannee Banjo Camp Director
Ken Perlman has been a director of SBC since its inception in 2003. He has also directed several music-teaching festivals, including American Banjo Camp, Banjo Camp North, Bath Banjo Festival, Maryland Banjo Academy, Midwest Banjo Camp, Northeast Heritage Music Camp and Suwannee Banjo Camp. He is also on the teaching staff for SBC. You can find a more detailed biography for him among the instructor and accompanist bios, and on his website kenperlman.com.
Stan Werbin joined the SBC director team when SBC went online for the 2021 season. He best known as the founding owner of Elderly Instruments, the world-renowned music store and mail-order service in Lansing, Michigan, just 30 miles north or the Olivet College campus. He is also internationally known as an authority on vintage banjos and other fretted instruments. In the late ’70s, he performed and recorded on banjo, guitar, and uke with Michigan’s Lost World String Band. He served as a booking agent in the early years of East Lansing’s Ten Pound Fiddle coffeehouse, and in recent years he has been on the music selection committee for both the National Folk Festival and the Great Lakes Folk Festival. He and Ken co-direct Midwest Banjo Camp in Olivet MI.
Lily Werbin joined the SBC director team when SBC went online for the 2021 season. She is now the President of Elderly Instruments, her family’s business, in Lansing, Michigan. Lily is passionate about building communities by using communication and music to bridge social gaps. Through working with local and national boards such as the Old Town Commercial Association, Decolonizing the Music Room, and Bluegrass Pride, Lillian has learned the importance of creating and maintaining inclusionary spaces and using our differences to forge a deeper connection to one another. She is a member of the Arnold Shultz Advisory committee, is the Event Coordinator for Midwest Banjo Camp and helps organize such other events as the Banjo Gathering (formally the Banjo Collectors Gathering), the Fort Worth African American Roots Music Festival, the Safe Venue Directory Project, and Midwest Ukulele Camp,
About Our Program
Suwannee Banjo Camp is devoted to offering serious instruction in old-time and bluegrass music, all taught by outstanding musicians who are also gifted and empathetic teachers. Over the years we have come up with a cadre of instructors who fit the bill, and who go way out of their way to make sure students have every opportunity to learn in a warm, non-judgmental environment.
Suwannee Banjo Camp online runs from Saturday morning through Sunday evening. We offer eight class sessions — four each on Saturday and Sunday. Each session is one hour long followed by a fifteen minute Q&A period. There is a staff concert on both Sunday evening that offers you the opportunity to hear our entire staff in concert. Rounding out the program are staff-led bluegrass and old-time jams conducted at a variety of skill levels.
For a full description of aspects of our program, such as classes, concerts, jams and other activities, go back to the Program menu and select the item you are interested in. See below for an overview.
For information on our banjo, guitar and fiddle classes go to the Classes page and select the tab for the instrument and style that most interests you.
There will be and online faculty concert on Sunday evening where you’ll have an opportunity to hear our entire staff in concert. To get the idea of what to expect, here is a selection of videos from past SBC Faculty Concerts.
Staff-led jams at different levels will be held on Saturday, following the conclusion of classes.
The complete SBC online schedule for 2022, listing all classes, jams and the concert for 2022 will be posted shortly. Meanwhile, you can get the idea by checking out our 2021 Online Schedule or our 2020 In-Person Camp Schedule.
This is Our 2022 Faculty
- Old-Time Banjo: Paul Brown, Adam Hurt, Terri McMurray, Michael Miles, Ken Perlman and Maggie Shar
- Bluegrass Banjo: Scott Anderson, Greg Cahill, Janet Davis, Gabe Hirshfeld , James McKinney, and Alan Munde
- Fiddle: Pete Vigour (principal instructor); some classes may also be taught by Paul Brown and Ellen Vigour
- Guitar: Jim Hurst (principal instructor)
- Mandolin: Mike Compton (principal instructor)
- Guest Faculty: Ellen Vigour and Others TBA
Photos and bios of our staff are posted on the 2022 Instructors page.
Starting and Ending Times (Note: All Stated Times are Eastern US Time)
- Classes begin on both Saturday and Sunday at 10 AM, Eastern time
- Last class each day ends at 4:45 Eastern
- Faculty-Led Jams run on Saturday from 5:30-6:30 PM, Eastern
- The Faculty Concert runs on Sunday from 6:00-8:30 PM Eastern
On Saturday afternoon following the end of classes we’ll offer internet-style bluegrass and old-time music jams led by our faculty. Old-time jams will (of course) be led by fiddlers, whereas bluegrass jams will be led by members of our banjo faculty. For each genre, we’ll offer two jamming options.
- Slow to moderate jams for relatively inexperienced players (and for others who prefer relaxed tempos)
- Up to Speed Jams: for the slightly more adventurous. Instructors will may push tempos a little and suggest somewhat more demanding tunes, depending on the skill level of attendees
Note: Every registrant is encouraged to join in our staff-led jams and all instruments are welcome. They’re not just for banjo players!!
Advice: Although our expert and fully well-meaning faculty members are there to facilitate your jamming experience, please understand that to some degree the quality of that experience is up to you. If tunes are too hard or tempos get too fast for the posted level of the jam, or if you’re simply not sure what your role is, please don’t hesitate to speak up!
Our Online Faculty Concert will take place on Sunday evening, as the final event of Suwannee Banjo Camp, and you will have a chance to hear our most if not all of our staff in concert. If you are a fan of bluegrass music, old-time music, or simply old-fashioned musical virtuosity and good taste, these concerts are simply not to be missed. Many students at our live camps have told us that the concerts alone are worth the price of admission.
To hear some samples of previous SBC Faculty Concerts, check out our Suwannee Banjo Camp Youtube Archive.
On Friday afternoon, we offer an entire class-session that is devoted to demonstrations, or demos. Demos are essentially presentations or mini-performances combined with explication and Q&A sessions. They are similar to the kind of round-robin events called “workshops” at many Folk or Bluegrass Festivals. Following are a few examples of the kinds of demos we might offer:
- Old-time finger picking styles
- Singing with the Banjo
- Alternative Tunings
- Banjo-Fiddle duets
- All Scruggs All the Time
- Tips on Playing in a Band
- Jazz & Swing on Banjo, 3-finger Style
- Fiddle Tunes on Banjo
Why attend Demonstrations? Although there’s no hands-on instruction, demonstrations offer a valuable learning experience. By watching our instructors play in the demos, and listening to their explanatory remarks and verbal interchanges, you get a strong sense not only of the state of the field, but also of the history of bluegrass and old-time music. What’s more, observing the instructors in action is a great way to discover whose styles you are most attracted to, and whose methods of presentation suit you best.
There will be two faculty concerts at SBC – one on Friday evening and the other on Saturday. We plan to have about half the faculty performs each evening, so by the end of Camp you will have had a chance to hear our most if not all of our staff in concert. If you are a fan of bluegrass music, old-time music, or simply old-fashioned musical virtuosity and good taste, these concerts are simply not to be missed. Many students at our live camps have told us that the concerts alone are worth the price of admission.
There are a couple of performance samples on this page; to hear more check out our Suwannee Banjo Camp Youtube Archive.
Old-Time Fiddle Track
Although this is primarily a banjo camp, we offer a full time Appalachian-style fiddle track with considerable appeal to serious fiddlers. Pete Vigour returns as our primary fiddle instructor for 2020. Some fiddle classes will also be taught by Paul Brown and John Herrmann, both of whom are also expert old-time fiddlers.
Level of Instruction: Because there is only a single fiddle track, instruction will almost certainly geared to an intermediate level. This is a good place for old-time fiddlers with at least a couple of year’s experience to burnish their skills and make their playing sound more authentic and professional. Classical violin players and fiddlers who play music from other traditions will find this program a good introduction to old-time fiddling.
Note: We do NOT have a program that teaches basic violin skills; you probably need at least a year or two of experience on the instrument in order to take full advantage of our program. Although we can’t get you started on violin, we can teach authentic fiddle style and help make you a better fiddler.
SBC has a full-time program in flatpick guitar. The focus is bluegrass accompaniment and soloing, but we generally also feature a couple of classes in other aspects of the instrument. Jim Hurst returns as our primary guitar instructor for 2020. Additional classes in guitar will be taught by Alan Munde and Joe Newberry.
Level of instruction: Because there is only a single guitar track, instruction will almost certainly geared to an intermediate level. Students should probably have at least one year of playing experience. In practical terms, this means that you should be able to handle a flat pick and change relatively comfortably among the most common basic guitar chords.
Important Note: The SBC Guitar Track is NOT for total beginners.
We always feature a number of classes that don’t fit into our regular tracks. In 2019 our special class offerings included ukulele, singing, bass, and banjo set-up. For this year’s special offerings, check our 2020 schedule when it comes out (probably in December). Note that the number of special offerings on the schedule usually increases as we get closer to the start of Camp.
Youth Scholarship Program
Apply to our Youth Scholarship Program. If you are 25 or under and would like to apply for a youth scholarship, email us with a few paragraphs describing your musical experience and ambitions. It will also help to attach a recommendation from one or more instructors or established musicians who know you. The number of grants we are able to offer in any given year naturally depends on the level of contributions received. It is likely that most grants offered will take the form of partial scholarships.
Note: We have had quite a number of donations this year; we are now in a position to offer several partial scholarships!!
Call for Volunteer “Techs” to Host the Class Sessions
We’ll need some volunteer “techs” to help run the online class sessions in exchange for free admission and free access after camp to all videos of all classes. You don’t have to be a computer expert, but you do need to have a relatively up-to-date laptop or desktop and decent internet service. To find out more, go to our Tech Host Responsibilities & Help Sheet or apply; to find out still more or apply, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Donate to our Youth Scholarship Program
Youngsters often get a tremendous kick-start by being exposed to great players and to the exciting atmosphere of a banjo camp, but they often have trouble finding the resources to attend. In an effort to remedy this state of affairs — and help ensure the future of the music we love — we have established a youth scholarship fund aimed at helping to bring more folks under 25 to Camp.
If you can afford to contribute $25, $50, or even $100 to this cause, please note the amount of your donation in the appropriate box on the Registration Form.
How to Apply for a Scholarship
Send us an email at email@example.com, and give us an idea of your musical background and why you feel that attending SBC 2022 will help you achieve your musical goals. A note of recommendation from your music teacher or from another music pro – particularly one of our current or former instructors – would also be helpful.
Thank you for your support!
Just Posted!! Here’s our
Program Schedule for SBC Online 2022
Check It Out!!