Big Island of Hawaii — Island Digital Arts, Inc is very pleased to announce the Big Island 2012 Summer Music Camp  being held at the Bamboo Oasis in Pahoa, Hawaii from July 8th through July 21st.
The camp includes 6-nights lodging, 3 healthy fresh meals per day plus snack, a yoga class in the morning, a hip array of music classes, workshops and jams headed by working professional artists… plus… outings to hot ponds, tide pools and other natural wonders located near The Bamboo Oasis.
The program was kick-started by Elena Welch, wife, mother, graphic designer and jazz singer.
By Elena Welch
I did not set out to start a kids summer music program. I have a stepson who is now 21 that I have annually sent to summer music programs in Northern California starting from the time he was age 8. I have seen the transformative powers of music that become amplified in this immersion-style retreat setting.
The camps my stepson attended, both the Cazadero Performing Arts Camp and the La Honda Jazz Camp, always included great artist mentors as a key ingredient. The week sabbatical each summer helped him “come into his own” with confidence during the awkward journey to adulthood.
I committed to gift my two younger daughters with this experience. We moved to Hawaii in 2007 and I searched the state for any type of music camp offered for the pre-teen age group. I found nothing. I have been sending my daughters to both Cazadero Music Camp and Jam Camp West with the help of my cousin shuttling the kids from the San Francisco Airport for the last couple years from the Big Island. It has been quite an orchestration. Last year I even rallied the neighbors to include their daughter who is a gifted pianist and songwriter. Last year I also called the California camps, spoke to the founders, and pleaded with them to open a Big Island branch of their program. I offered my assistance to them. No takers.
I then sat back and said, “Well… do I have to be hit over the head with a hammer? I guess I’m supposed to do this thing for the Big Island.”
At that time, I had already been working on setting up a Graphic Design workshop. I had the non-profit started for arts education, and I immediately switched gears and put the Summer Music Camp project on the front burner.
My neighbor and good friend, Jill Osborn who runs a secretarial services business has really helped me weed through the red tape of the 501c planning and set up. Jill is also on my board of directors for Island Digital Arts along with real estate guru Kimi White and the retired educational administrator and educator, Nora Blanco.
Location was the big question… I reached out to my incredibly talented drummer, Bruce David, who had just relocated to a property on a coffee farm where he had set up a killer recording studio. The property was just right for a workshop, maybe 6 students, but not quite large enough for a camp. I did inspire Bruce to hop aboard the project as the drum instructor but still needed to find the right location. Then I remembered that right at my fingertips were my dear friends, Star Townshend and Hayward Coleman who run the beautiful Yoga Oasis on Pohiki Road. I had done a retreat there a couple years ago and they tell me I still am the only Hawaii resident to do a retreat at the Yoga Oasis. This is so hard to believe. People fly in from all over the world to stay there. I did my retreat with attendees from Finland, Germany and Budapest. It was a wonderful 5 days and just a couple miles down the road from my home. When “Yoga Oasis” leases their facilities to outside programs they call the center, “The Bamboo Oasis”. My inquiry came at just the right moment in time… An organization that had rented summers for the last 5 years had just cancelled their Hawaii program. Green light! Without the partnership of Star and Hayward this whole idea would be dead in the water.
Next I needed corner-stone instructors. I had Bruce aboard who is a great teacher for all levels and ages and excels in every style of music. I have done voice coaching and attended many camps and workshops myself but I felt I also needed a few instructors who had experience organizing material for music camps. Just then I received an email from my friend, Kelly Park announcing his popular Jazz Theory Workshop at the Berkeley School of Jazz. Kelly Park is one San Francisco’s great pianists. Even more he loves singers and has mastered the art of accompaniment… and he has headed workshops for many kids programs and summer camps in both Michigan and Boston. I had the pleasure of working with Kelly when living in the Bay Area. Kelly currently heads up a singers showcase at the glitzy Rrazz Room at Hotel Nikko on Union Square in San Francisco. I made the call and he was on board! I now felt we had the cornerstone. I am a jazz and blues artist and it was going to be easy for me to reach out to my rich local resources for training in this style of music, but I also wanted to make sure I covered what has turned out to be a popular category of Rock-N-Roll, Rock Ensemble and Songwriting. I next secured rock bassist, guitarist, songwriter and recording engineer David Landon who leads a very popular San Francisco band and founded Whip Records in Berkeley California.
On the Big Island 2012 Summer Music Camp Registration Form  there are blanks for first instrument, second instrument, voice, songwriting, and a chance to list individual special interests… where there is musical interest listed, iDigArt.org  is trying to cover it.
We have sax, clarinet and flute players signed up who will be mentored by monster local performer and instructor, Mr. Bill Nobel who has played with the likes of Temptations, Ray Charles, Gladys Knight, Fifth Dimension and local artists which include Loyal Garner, Dick Jensen and Carole Kai.
Vocalists will be mentored in performance, technique, phasing and interpretation, execution and improvisation by Elena Welch who has been performing for over 29 years in the blues, jazz and R+B traditions and Kaui’lani Trainer who tops the charts in classical, jazz and contemporary styles.
Ukelele jams are available to all and headed up by powerhouse instructor and performer Andy Andrews who has a unique gift for teaching and make all things infectiously fun.
We have no trumpet players officially signed up, but please sign up quick, and revel in the wisdom of trumpet master, Jr. Volcano Choy.
Stand up bassists, we have not heard from you…. please fill out the form and be mentored by Brian McCree, the island’s gifted instructor and rich performer in jazz, classical, and blues traditions as well the master of an amazing range in innovative contemporary forms.
I was very impressed by the songwriting workshop offered by Sherri Thal at Shady Grove school which is one of the satellite campuses in HPP for HAAS schools. Sherri will come and offer workshops at the camp for songwriting and if we have violin players attending she will also cover mentoring and training for the violin. As mentioned above, Kelly Park will head up sessions for piano.
David Landon will instruct both guitar and electric bass and Bruce David is Percussion King of the camp.
Performance opportunities are a key focus of the camp. Mornings will center around sectional instruction for individual instruments and afternoons will open up and ensure an opportunity to experience applying those newly developed techniques in real time ensemble situations. A final performance which is open to parents and the public is scheduled for Group One on Saturday July 14th at noon and for Group Two on Saturday July 21st at noon. We will announce the location as soon as arrangements are finalized.
The Bamboo Oasis offers the perfect setting. Lush tropical acreage and beautiful open screened cabins. It is an easy camping situation. Kids will need to bring their sleeping bag, flat sheet and a foam or cushion sleeping roll but they will have a cozy space in a charming cabin with nice bathrooms and showers. Upstairs in the main lodge there is a 1,400 square foot multi purpose hall with 18 foot high ceilings. Two walls are open screen to the tree tops. Downstairs there is a beautiful kitchen, lounge area and spectacular deck for outdoor dining and gatherings. There are 5 cabins, 4 Hawaiian rooms in the main house as well as 3 yurt style “jungelows”. Bamboo Oasis is a solar powered eco retreat. Our host, Connie will head up a garden tour where the campers will pick their afternoon snack from the bountiful surrounding rain forest. Connie will also head up a daily morning yoga class so both campers and faculty can recharge.
Session One (Ages 10-13)
Sunday July 8th – 4pm
Saturday July 14th – 1pm
Session Two (Ages 14-18)
Sunday July 15th – 4pm
Saturday July 21st – 1pm
The cost of the program is $650 for all Hawaiian islands kama’aina camper and $850 for mainland visitor camper. Receive an early enrollment discount of $50 by paying your tuition in full by May 15th. Enrollment is limited. Go online to get more information and to download your registration forms: http://www.iDigArt.org  or call 808-982-8418 and ask to have the forms mailed to you.
Scholarships are available. Please get your application in as soon as possible. The scholarships are awarded on a first-come-first-serve basis. The scholarships are gifted based on financial need rather than aptitude. If you think you may qualify, visit iDigArt.org and learn about the easy application process or call 808-982-8418 for more information.
Mahalo to our generous sponsors: Aloha Hills Kona Coffee co-owners Randy and Gail Bohannon; The Big Island Jazz and Blues Society; Dr. Christopher Linden, M.D. and Rosemary Linden of Linden Family Medicine Clinic
Hawaii 2012 Summer Music Camp is committed to making this program available to all interested students. We need more sponsors and scholarships. Please consider gifting a scholarship so all interested students may attend.
Contact 808-982-8418 or send an email to info@iDigArt.org 
Island Digital Arts is a non-profit corporation founded for arts education. The goal of the corporation is to create programs in all mediums of art where courses are structured as vocational workshops guided by working professional artists. Also on the burner is a program being developed for Digital Media and Graphic Design workshops for both children as well as adults, targeting different levels from novice to master-level skills for working professionals.