Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Enjoying the Vinland Music Camp in Gros Morne National Park

by Keith and Heather Nicol
     On Monday, August 20 we decided to check out the Vinland Music Camp which is now in its 12th year at Killdevil Camp in Gros Morne National Park. We had been in touch with Eric West the organizer of the camp about popping in for a short time to see how it worked and he said “Please come along and see what we do”. We were very impressed with the range of music being taught (including harp, fiddle, accordion, bodhran, mandolin and tin whistle) as well as sessions in song writing and story telling. Eric told that he is also trying to create a festival flavor to the camp and this year the Dardanelles from St. John’s kicked things off on Monday night with their own special brand of toe tapping Newfoundland music. 
The Dardanelles wowed the crowds at the Vinland Music Camp
     The next morning we stopped in for some sessions and Gayle Tapper was leading the beginner tin whistle session. “Be sure to hold your fingers flat so that they completely cover the holes” she told us to avoid the ‘squawking’ sound novices tend to make. She then led us through “Mussels in the Corner” patiently working with each person until they could play the song. 
Learning to play "Mussels in the Corner" 
     Gayle also showed a small group of us how to play the celtic harp and it is certainly a beautiful sounding instrument. Again she worked with each of us individually to make sure we got the correct fingering technique to play scales, chords and a simple tune. We were impressed with her great teaching ability. Thanks Gayle!
Trying the Celtic Harp
      We also attended a workshop with Daniel Payne on the bodhran or irish drum.  He had a large class of 16 to deal with but he effectively covered some basics on how to strike the drum and taught us some common rhythms. “Think about flicking some water off the stick” he told us to give some snap to the sound. After lunch there is some practice time/recreation and then more sessions followed by supper. In the evening there is a chance to learn folk dancing and listen to more music by guest artists or camp members. And this repeats for 5 days! It looks like a great way to learn a new instrument or two as well as have a great time. We were impressed! The camp gets people from across Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and other provinces and as well as the U.S. and even Europe. For more information on the camp contact:
Practicing the bodhran with Daniel Payne

No comments:

Post a Comment