To think back that in 2012, the Monroe Mandolin Camp didn’t exist. Now in our 11th year, and our 12th camp (don’t forget the mini-camp in 2020!) it has been a joy to bring together so many artists, luthiers, presenters, and people active the bluegrass world…and the living legend Blue Grass Boys! Iconic instructor concerts that last almost 4 hours, reunions of BGBoys who hadn’t seen each other for years…the memories and the smiles and the hallways filled with music are forever seared in our minds. Strangers who met for the first time at MMC, whether seasoned players or eager new learners, people who didn’t necessarily speak the same language from around the world, but people who spoke the language of bluegrass…the idiomatic musical expressions, the notes that made up those searing melodies, the hard driving rhythmic patterns… those quintessential ingredients that are forever associated with the music that Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys co-created…Instantaneously, these people became strangers no more…everyone became part of this community and family, and part of this amazing coterie.
That is the power of this music, that is the power of this camp, that is the power of this world-wide community that circles back year after year, to sit down together, for the learning and the music, to break bread together, and to enjoy being in the company of like-minded music enthusiasts. Oh, and the never ending coffee and snacks to help fuel the late night “just one more!” jams that sometimes continue to the sunrise!
While we are definitely ‘preserving’ this legacy, this music, the stories and the culture that all became a part of this music…I would affirm that it is more than that…it is more than the preservation or education of new generations of player…it is about honoring this music from a place of it truly being a ‘living language and a living culture’ that it has always been, and continues to be. This hard-driving, lonesome sounding music perseveres in thriving and attracting new enthusiasts because it so beautifully adapts to the times while also staying grounded in it’s origins with the roots, the trunk, the branches, and the leaves. We at the MonManCamp are stewards of this music, of the stories, of honoring the players who put in their time and miles…we get to serve and celebrate both the music and the musicians who created it, and to ‘play it forward’ to each new generation and each camp gathering.
We look forward to creating new memories, for accelerating everyone’s understanding of this incredibly moving collection of music, and for deepening our connections and friendships with folks from around the world. Watching the individual growth and understanding of how the instrument works within one’s own hands, hearing the progress and creativity flowing forth from players covering an entire floor of nooks and classrooms, watching the smiles of pure joy spontaneously erupt during jams, and hearing about the bonds created between folks who visit and stay connected throughout the year. Just one of those things is enough reason for putting together this gathering year after year…and when I add them all together-my spirit and soul are fed and expanded. I am a better person because of the magic and generosity that each camper brings, and the courage and vulnerability you reveal on your own musical journey. So, change your strings, try to keep your instruments tuned, and listen to the classic tunes and instrumentals, so that it fuses into your very dna.
With my fondness and appreciation for everything everyone brings to these events. You have changed my life. And I can hardly wait to be a part of what happens this year!
Welcome one and all,
Heidi Herzog, Executive Director