Bluegrass Academy for Kids

Sponsored by Bluegrass Unlimited and Savannah Acoustic Music Seminar
with support from D’Addario Foundation

July 14-17, 2016

Click for THIS YEAR’S SONGS:
Old Slewfoot / Out on the Ocean / Foggy Mountain Special
Keys / Lyrics / Things to Practice

The Program: The Grey Fox Bluegrass Academy for Kids (BGA), established in 1999, is a free four-day camp-style learning program held each year during Grey Fox. The program teaches children from age 8 to 17 to play, sing and perform bluegrass music. Each day contains sectional instruction with their instrumental teacher; ensemble sessions with the entire group; harmony singing lessons; and guest appearances by musicians who are performing at Grey Fox. The grand finale is a ‘Graduation Gig’ Sunday afternoon on the High Meadow Stage. Approximately 100 kids participate each year. They have fun, learn a lot, grow in confidence and make friends that can last a lifetime.

BGA Class of 2015 after their Sunday Gig at Grey Fox. Photo by Dave Weiland

National & International Recognition

Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival is committed to keeping traditional bluegrass alive by passing it on to youth. Several bluegrass festivals now have learning programs based on the Grey Fox model. BGA has been featured in Bluegrass Unlimited, the IBMA newsletter, bluegrass association publications and Voice of America Radio. Above all, we are most pleased to be connecting kids with bluegrass music.

BGA Staff

BGA Director, guitarist and dobro player, Mark Panfil, is a lifelong music educator from Western New York; a founding member of the Buffalo-based Creek Bend Bluegrass Band; Chairman of the Foundation for Bluegrass Music (Nashville, TN); and a long-time dobro instructor for Augusta Bluegrass Week at Davis and Elkins College in Elkins, WV.

BGA instructors include: FIDDLE: Ellen Carlson, Cathy Goode, Lew Gelfond, Lily Sexton, and Abby Kahler; BANJO: Ira Gitlin; BASS: Louis Kaplan; GUITAR: Mark Panfil, Chris Panfil, Bob Turbanic, and Zoe Young; MANDOLIN: Ben Pearce, CELLO: Juliet McFadden; and VIOLA: Emily Baker. STAFF MUSICIANS: Alex Sens (mandolin, dobro) and Neel Brown (guitar, bass). Our SENIORS PROGRAM is led by Tony Watt and Laura Orshaw.

Classes

We offer instruction in banjo, bass, cello, dobro, fiddle, guitar, mandolin, and viola in classes of approximately ten students each. While singing is part of the program every day, we do not offer classes just for vocalists.

BGA Seniors Program (Selection Process Guidelines)

To ensure that the BGA Seniors Program has the right mix of instruments and is a reasonable size, we are limiting participation based on a number of factors including instrumentation, experience, leadership, and prior participation. Students who wish to participate in the BGA Seniors are required to complete a short questionnaire with the help of their parents.

The questionnaire is due by June 15, and students will be notified regarding their placement by June 30. Students who are not selected for Seniors are strongly encouraged to participate in the greater Kids Academy. Preference in future years will be given to students who have shown leadership in the greater Kids Academy.

If Seniors BGA sounds like a good match for your child, please complete the registration form. We will then send you a short questionnaire to complete which will be used to select this year’s class.

Please feel free to email Tony Watt with any questions about the Seniors program.

TYPICAL SCHEDULE for BGA

Thursday7-8:30 pm:Orientation: Meet instructors, run through tunes, get materials. Bring your instrument. Instructors will make class adjustments as needed.
Friday10-noon:Sectionals, ensembles and harmony singing classes
Noon-1:30:Break for lunch with your family
1:30-3:30:Sectionals, ensembles, singing and guest artist appearances
Saturday10-noon:Sectionals, ensembles and harmony singing classes
Noon-1:30:Break for lunch with your family
1:30-3:30:Sectionals, ensembles, singing and guest artist performance
Sunday11-noon:Concert rehearsal, diplomas and class photos
Noon Break for lunch with family
1:30-2:00 (exact time tba)Meet backstage for BGA High Meadow Stage performance

General Requirements

Before enrolling, please make sure your child can commit to the following:

  1. Attend classes all four days, beginning with orientation on Thursday night and ending with Sunday afternoon’s performance.
  2. Bring his or her instrument to all sessions, including orientation.
  3. Has basic knowledge of his/her instrument. For instance, fiddle students should be able to play an A scale and play a simple tune such as Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. Guitar students should be able to play A, D and E chords and change comfortably between chords.

Recommendations

  1. BGA is designed for kids age 8 and up. However, if your child has not yet turned 8 but has been taking lessons, plays an instrument with basic proficiency AND has an adequate attention span, we will consider accepting him or her if room allows.
  2. We recommend that students bring a tuner to classes with them, either an electronic tuner, tuning fork, or pitch pipe.
  3. Guitar, dobro and banjo students should also bring a capo suitable for their instrument.

Registering Your Child

  1. Registration begins on April 1 each year.
  2. There is no charge to participate in the academy. However, tax deductible donations are accepted and very much appreciated. BGA is part of our 501(c)3 educational designation.
  3. Kids 13 and up need to purchase a ticket to attend the festival! Please visit our TICKET PAGE to purchase tickets. Kids 12 and under are admitted free to Grey Fox with a ticketed parent or guardian.
  4. To register your child for BGA, click the registration link at the top of this page, fill in all questions and click “submit” ONCE.
  5. Many of you will want to know what the BGA tunes will be this year. Please check back here in May for links to the songs.
  6. Remember, BGA Seniors applicants will receive a questionnaire due by June 15. Class will be selected by June 30. Scroll up to review  Seniors Program description.

Thank you!

If you have any questions, please email Mary Burdette or call 603-677-2178.