California Bluegrass Association Youth Academy

Grass Valley, CA


June 11, 2014 - June 14, 2014


Contact Information:

Darby Brandli and Kate Hamre

510.735.6364 - Darby

907.350.2562 - Kate


Bluegrass Camps for Kids offers young people an opportunity to explore a diverse range of traditional music styles and instruments in a supportive and encouraging environment. Throughout the week, students will engage in four classes during the day, one of which will be performing at the end of camp. We teach everything from individual instruments (beginning through advanced guitar, bass, mandolin, fiddle, and banjo), to dance, singing, jamming, songwriting, and performing. This is a great event to foster new friendships and old, and bring the enjoyment of playing music into your life!

Ages 8-16. We request that campers have completed Second Grade or equivalent prior to registration for the camp. We will make exceptions for children under 8 if they have attended a music camp in previous years, or by request (i.e. have already taken music lessons, have a sibling in the camp, etc.) Please speak with your child about behavior expectations while at camp.

To register, please contact Darby Brandli, via phone (510.735.6364) or email. Once paid, you may register for classes online here. Class sizes are limited and preferences are honored in order of registration. Your schedule, books, and other information will be given to you when you arrive at camp. Please be sure to arrive by 9:30 am on June 11th with your parent or guardian. Spaces will be filled on a first-come basis.

Class choices are listed here.

Students will be taking a different instrument class during each Block for a total of three instrument classes, plus a band class. Although your student will only be taking three classes, please indicate your top five choices in order of importance on the Registration Form. We will make every effort to give each student his or her top three choices for the three Blocks. If you have questions about what classes to sign up for, please email us at

Please Note: Please spend a few moments on your Registration Form to tell us about your ability: How many years you have played, what your favorite song is, what song you are currently working on, other capabilities, and your goals for camp. If you are signing up online, you may fill this out in the “Additional Comments” section.

We highly recommend that students that sign up to be in a Intermediate or Advanced level class also sign up to be in a Jamming class. One of the great things about being able to play and learn music is to able to play songs with one another and our peers, and our Jamming classes encourage that growth in our more advanced students.

Class Choices
Please click here to view class choices.

Tuition for camp is $300. Parents must also purchase a 4- day festival pass for the Father's Day Festival, as well as be present on the Nevada County Fairgrounds during the Academy and Festival.

We feel that playing multiple instruments is a great asset to a child’s musical education, and that is why we encourage children to take multiple instrument classes. Understandably, many children may not have those instruments readily at hand. We do our best to provide instruments for each student, but due to our limited resources, we cannot guarantee instruments for each camper at every class. Although rare, students may be asked to share an instrument with one other student in class. If a student wishes to bring in their own instrument, they are welcome to do so. Students are welcome to share their instrument when they are not using it, or to reserve it for private use only. If you have an extra instrument that you would be willing to loan to the camp, please state that on your registration form.

Closed-Campus Policy
We have a closed campus policy, meaning students are to be signed out at the end of the day. On the Release Form, parents may choose to not sign their child out, which means the child may leave camp without a parent signature after the day ends. If a parent indicates that they would like to sign their child out, they must come to camp and sign the child out each day. If no ones signs a child out, Bluegrass Camps for kids calls the parents around 5:30pm. We do NOT require a sign-in for the morning as we take role each day and a phone call is made to the parents if there is a child absent. If you would like to call in a student absent before or during camp, please contact Kate at 907.350.2562.

Nevada County Fairgrounds
11228 McCourtney Rd.
Grass Valley, CA 

Students must bring their own sack lunch to camp each day. Snacks will be provided. Water bottles and recorded devices are welcome, but please leave electronic games at home. 

Daily Schedule
9:30am - 10:30am - Morning Registration (Wednesday only)
10:00am - Morning Activity
10:30am - Block 1
11:15am - Snack
11:30am - Block 2
12:20pm - Lunch
1:00pm - Band
1:50pm - Break
2:00pm - Block 3
2:50pm - Break
3:00pm - Afternoon Activity
3:30pm - Done for the Day!

Camp Concert 
Campers will be performing on stage at the Father's Day Festival on Saturday, June 14th, time and stage to be announced.

Skype Private Lessons
If you would like to set up private lessons via Skype pre- or post-camp, please register here.

Parent Volunteers Needed
These music camps take a significant amount of time and effort to put on. If you can help in any way, please send Kate Hamre an email indicating that you would like to volunteer. Volunteer jobs include setting up snacks, helping kids to classes, finding instruments, tuning instruments, helping with registration, and other camp jobs.

Instruction will be provided by highly qualified music teachers from Bay Area local bands such as Front Country, American Nomad, Belle Monroe and the Brewglass Boys, and Super Mule.

Luke Abbott - guitar, fiddle

Luke Abbott has been turning heads in the California music scene since 1998, when he began playing at bluegrass festivals at the age of 11, learning all the standard bluegrass instruments (banjo, fiddle, guitar, mandolin) simultaneously. He has performed recently with bluegrass greats Kathy Kallick and Frank Wakefield. His album, Take Me Home (released in 2010) was recorded solo with one microphone, à la Bruce Molsky or Tim O’Brien. Victory Review wrote: “Luke’s music completely blindsided me. He’s got a great, crackly voice and is a monster picker.”

Pam Brandon - bass, fiddle, guitar

Pam Brandon aka. Belle Monroe was born and raised in England and Wales, steeped in traditional folk music as well as bluegrass, jazz and swing. Since 1995 she has been singer and guitarist for the acclaimed San Francisco-based bluegrass band Belle Monroe and Her Brewglass Boys. She is the featured vocalist for Western Swing big band Lost Weekend as well as a collaborator in many other music projects, most recently with San Francisco Bay Area song writer and musician, Maurice Tani of 77 El Deora. She has performed on bass with Peter Rowan, has been music Ensemble Leader and bassist for theater and other large productions, including a recent performance of The Bluegrass Mass with the Symphony Silicon Valley Chorus, and regularly plays some rockabilly, blues and swing bass in San Francisco clubs. Pam teaches private lessons on guitar, upright bass, vocal performance and general musicianship.

Hassan El-Tayyab - guitar, mandolin, songwriting

Hassan El-Tayyab is an experienced music educator and award winning songwriter. From 2007-2009 he ran the DASEP after school music program at Devotion Middle School in Boston, MA before moving to the West Coast. He currently resides in San Francisco, CA where he performs with his award winning band Americana band American Nomad. They've been recognized in the International Songwriting Competition, Rocky Mountain Folks Fest Troubadour Competition, and the Berkeley Old Time Competition for songwriting and vocal performance. In addition to performing, he teaches guitar and songwriting to children and adults at the East Bay Center for Performing Arts in Richmond. He is a dedicated and patient instructor focused on making even challenging concepts easy to understand for people learning to play music at any level.

Jacob Groopman - Camp Manager

Jacob Groopman is also a multi-talented string player that started off on piano as a child. He played in rock bands as a teenager in Virginia but went on to earn a degree in Jazz Guitar from Oberlin Conservatory of Music, and then delved right into Bluegrass and Jug Band music, touring Europe with Jug Free America. Shortly after graduating and moving to the San Francisco Bay Area, Jacob joined nationally touring afrobeat group Albino! and traditional Bluegrass band Donner Mountain. These eclectic influences have served to make him a formidable force on several instruments and an in-demand player in the Bay Area music scene.

Kate Hamre - Program Director

Kate grew up in Anchorage, Alaska listening to her parents and friends play bluegrass, old tyme, and folk music. At the age of 14, she joined Bearfoot, a nationally touring band, and played festival such as Merlefest, Greyfox, Wintergrass, Rockygrass, and Telluride to name a few. As a Compass recording artist, Bearfoot cut their 4th album, called "Doors and Windows" in April 2009, which quickly rose to #1 in the Billboard Bluegrass Charts. Kate is also the director of the renowned bluegrass music education program, "Bluegrass Camps for Kids", which has taught thousands of children internationally in the last decade. Kate has a B.S. in Elementary Education through the University of Idaho and is currently obtaining a M.A. in Elementary Education at San Francisco State University. She is teaching Kindergarten in San Francisco at a private girls school, The Hamlin School, after leaving Bearfoot in April 2010.

Shiloh Parkerson - Assistant Camp Manager

Born and raised in Fairbanks, Alaska, Shiloh discovered her passion for music as a young girl while trying out every wind instrument she could get her hands on. She trained as a flutist from the age of 10, competed in every competition she could find, and enjoyed teaching young students as a youngster herself. The support of a music teachers especially led her to the world of education, where Shiloh honed her craft of teaching, and over time earned her the respected title of master teacher. From 2003-2009 she built up the English Language Learner program at Lathrop High School in Fairbanks, Alaska, and continued to grow as an educator while managing a team of instructors of engineering and architecture with LEGO at Play-Well TEKnologies after relocating to the Bay Area. Though teaching practices were her main focus for many years, music has always played a prominent role in her life, most notably with her time as lead singer and collaborating songwriter in the (former) Alaska based band, Fiddlehead Red from 2007-09, as well as co-leading American Nomad from 2011 –present . Finally, with teaching and music as truly equal passions for her, it’s a dream come true to combine both in Bluegrass Camps for Kids.

Adam Roszkiewicz - mandolin, guitar

Based in the Bay Area, Adam performs Bluegrass, Country, folk, new acoustic music, and Classical music on guitar, mandolin, and mandocello. Adam has performed at festivals around the world including the Icicle Creek music festival in Washington, the Mozart festival in San Luis Obispo, the Blue Highways festival in Utrecht, Holland, the Singer Festival in Warsaw, Poland and the Hardly-Strictly-Bluegrass festival in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. Adam currently plays with the Bluegrass band Front Country, the Modern Mandolin Quartet, and is a member of the Ger Mandolin Orchestra. Adam has also performed with AJ Roach, Ana Egge, Rachel Ries, Anais Mitchell, Michelle Shocked, and Mike Marshall. Adam earned his undergraduate and graduate diplomas in music performance from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where he studied with David Tanenbaum and Marc Teicholz. In March 2005, he made his Carnegie Hall debut, performing guitar duets with Santiago Gutierrez. In addition to performance, Adam is also a dedicated music teacher with over 15 years experience giving private lessons and workshops. His book of flatpick guitar arrangements of fiddle tunes is due to be published in 2013.

Yoseff Tucker - guitar, banjo, songwriting

Yoseff Tucker is from the heart of the Central Valley, and steeped in traditional country and bluegrass music. A former rock’n’roller answering a higher calling – paying homage to his grandfather, an old-time fiddle player from the Ozarks. While straying from his heritage, he dabbled in a variety of musical styles ranging from funk to self important acoustic punk. Now that he’s back on the path, he was twice voted by the Northern California Bluegrass Society as Bluegrass Guitarist of the Year, and in 2010, he shared the title of Male Vocalist of the Year.

He now plays guitar and sings with the Bay Area band, Supermule

Melody Walker - guitar, songwriting, vocals

Melody Walker is a multi-talented multi-instrumentalist and virtuosic vocalist from Northern California. Starting with piano at age 6 and then guitar at 13, Melody’s classical ear grew alongside the myriad musical tastes of her parents, which ranged from the Beatles to Bill Monroe to Bossa Nova and back again. Soon, she was writing original songs and forming bands with her friends in middle and high school. Melody went on to study piano, voice and world percussion at Humboldt State University in Arcata, California and holds a B.A. in Music.


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