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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Cajun/Creole Music Camp 2012, Elkins, WV

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I was away for a week away with Carole at the Augusta Heritage Center Cajun/Creole music camp, at Davis and Elkins College, in the mountains of West Virginia, enjoying the cool evening air and temperate daytime temperatures. It was our second year there together, and it was a great experience. The photo above shows three of the top Cajun musicians in the country, Jason Frey and Jo-El Savoy on fiddles, Jesse Lege on accordion, and Ed Pouillard on drums.

We stayed in a fine old renovated inn called "Graceland."

Graceland Interior

Carole took guitar classes, I'm taking fiddle classes, and we both took a harmony singing class, all with the sounds of French traditional, old-time country, and virtuoso guitar playing ringing in our ears throughout the day and night.

My fiddle class

 My teacher, Michelle Kaminsky, best fiddle teacher ever!

Carole and I performing the Linda Ronstadt/Anne Savoy tune "Parlez-moi d'amour" at the Student Showcase talent show.

Carole in performance with her guitar class.

Together with lessons and jamming on the porch of old Halleyhurst Hall, we attended afternoon and evening concerts and nightly dances to the sounds of many well-known recording artists in their respective genres. Click on the links here to see more about these musicians and listen to samples of their work: Cajun fiddlers David Greely of Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys, Jo-El Savoy, and Al Berard,  accordionists Walter Mouton, Ed Pouillard and Jesse Lege, country singer Ginny Hawker and musician husband Tracy Schwartz, guitar masters Bill Kirchen (remember Commander Cody and His Lost Planet AirmenHot Rod Lincoln?), Wayne Henderson and Jack Williams, and many more traditional musicians. Photos of some of our performers, teachers and friends follow.

Guitar session with Al Berard, Jo-el Savoy, Christine Balfa, Mary Flowers and Wayne Henderson

Christine Balfa, Carole's guitar teacher, here playing the triangle in front of the class performance at the Student Showcase, Carole in the rear.

 Jack Williams, the best guitarist and entertainer I never heard of, from South Carolina.  

DC area fiddler (Jim)

The leisurely drive back included a stop at the Hiawatha Store, a large shop for anyone interested in West Virginia gifts, books, old-time country, bluegrass, and Native American music, and western hats, boots and clothing. 

Bought me a new pair o' boots:

We passed a unique sight on the way, a rock formation called Seneca Rocks, one of the most popular attractions in West Virginia:

Now we're back and practicing every day. The camp inspired us beyond our expectations. Driving home, we listened to the many CDs purchased from the instructors, imagining how we'd play along or sing the harmonies. We hope to perform together soon for friends.

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