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Summertime Strings: Bighorn Bluegrass Camp

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The Bighorn Bluegrass Camp was hosted last week for local kids wanting to improve their skills with an instrument or singing or to learn a new skill altogether. Because of COVID-19, all the teachers who helped during the workshop were local to Johnson County this year and taught the 44 participating kids skills ranging from bases and banjos to singing and song writing. Friday the kids put on their final performances along the Creekside behind the Occidental Hotel. 

Ayden Price waits for the group to begin their rehearsal of the Crawdad Song

Ayden Price waits for the group to begin their rehearsal of the Crawdad Song on Friday. Price was one of two fiddle’s in the group.

Trell Schiffer focuses on his fingers and bow while practicing with the session

Trell Schiffer focuses on his fingers and bow while practicing with the session leader on Friday. During the fiddle session, the group of kids practiced a song and a few different techniques.

Emory Forbes, 8, joins the silly song group on her banjo

Emory Forbes, 8, joins the silly song group on her banjo while relaxed in a lawn chair under the Community Building awning on Friday. After this session, all the kids were given a snack break that included caramel with apple slices and fruit snacks.

Jonah Roback, 11, and Stuhrling Osborne, 8, laugh as they practice the muppets

From left, Jonah Roback, 11, and Stuhrling Osborne, 8, laugh as they practice the muppets verse of the Crawdad Song on Friday. The group decided to name themselves “The Fun Contest” because they were going to try to win at having the most fun.

Tyler McWhorter helps a younger student learn a new technique on the fiddle

Tyler McWhorter helps a younger student learn a new technique on the fiddle on Friday. McWhorter is one of several teens who is helping out with the camp this week to help teach the younger attendees.

The group of fiddle players practices taking a synchronized bow

The group of fiddle players practices taking a synchronized bow on Friday as led by their teacher Cindy Voiles. The group spread out in the shade and would alternate between practicing together and working more directly with the teachers.

Bighorn Bluegrass Camp was able to be held this on the week of July 13-17

Despite concerns over COVID-19, the Bighorn Bluegrass Camp was able to be held this on the week of July 13-17. The camp drew in 44 students this year who were taught over the week by 10 teachers with the help of four support staff. The camp did their best to maintain social distancing and every staff member and teacher was instructed to wear a mask when working with students.

Lynn Young, laughs as he sings and plays “The CrawDad Song”

Lynn Young, laughs as he sings and plays “The CrawDad Song” with the group called The Fun Contest on Friday. “This is one of the best days of my year,” Young said about the performance day. “Especially this year.”

A banjo sits in a few pieces on the steps of the grandstands

After disaster, a banjo sits in a few pieces on the steps of the grandstands at the fairgrounds on Friday. While the kids would normally be able to share instruments during the camp, this year’s COVID-19 concerns eliminated sharing so that each kid used the same instruments all wee long. Karen Blaney, who organized the camp, said that this year they probably have about 60 instruments including the ones that kids brought themselves to use. The camp includes lessons on banjo, fiddle, ukulele, upright base, guitar, mandolin and harmonica.

During each session of the camp kids split into groups to practice

During each session of the camp kids split into groups to practice their performances for tomorrow on Friday. During this practice, the participants were reminded to listen to the bass and that if it got louder they needed to slow down.

Riley Rankin looks down at his bow during one of his several performances

Riley Rankin looks down at his bow during one of his several performances on Friday. Rankin played fiddle in all of his performances on Friday and had multiple solos.

Alicia Lawrence leans on her bass as she waits for her next performance

Alicia Lawrence leans on her bass as she waits for her next performance to start on Friday. Lawrence performed with three different groups.

The Bighorn Bluegrass Camp showed off their week of practice and learning

The Bighorn Bluegrass Camp showed off their week of practice and learning at the creekside behind the Occidental Hotel on Friday. Fourth-year director Karen Blaney proudly announced that all of the teachers who helped with this year’s camp were locals because of COVID-19.

Photojournalist

Jessi Dodge joined the Bulletin as a photojournalist and a Report for America corp member in 2020. If you have ideas or comments, reach out at jessi@buffalobulletin.com.

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