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Young musicians enjoy OMMA Bluegrass Camp

Another Ozark Mountain Music Association Youth Bluegrass Camp is in the books, and it was a great one, with at least 89 youth in attendance along with supportive parents, friends and of course, some amazing locally and nationally recognized instructors. The Michel family’s scenic Weddings at the Homestead location again provided the host venue.

From June 11 to 15, campers participated in daily group and individual lessons on fiddle, mandolin, guitar, banjo and bass, plus vocal instruction. There was also plenty of time for fun, socialization and jamming with other musicians, along with evening square dances and daily awards given for enthusiasm and diligence as well as awards for fun things like “championship snacker,” a testimony to the tasty meals included in the camp fees and the selection of healthy snacks available throughout the day.

For the closing performance on a beautiful Ozarks Saturday evening, campers were grouped into bands with their instructors to showcase their newly-acquired or improved skills in front of an appreciative audience. Some of those bands provide a foundation for performing together in the future, and friendships made at camp continue throughout the year. 

Instructors seemed to be enjoying camp as much as their students; Branson vocalist Kari Garrison said in a social media post she was “living my best life” teaching at camp; and guitarist Matt Tomlinson from Harrison, Arkansas, said the OMMA camps are some of his favorite events of the year. Parents were equally appreciative; one dad said that after his two oldest children had such a great experience at the recent Youth in Bluegrass competition sponsored by OMMA, it was an easy decision to make a family trip to camp, so his other children could benefit as well.

“It’s not always easy for my kids to find friends in our hometown who enjoy playing this traditional music,” said another parent. “They keep in touch online with other youth they meet here, and they look forward to coming back!”

See more great camp photos on the Facebook page, and visit to stay informed about future events, including the annual Old-Time Music and Dance Camp planned for July 17–20 in Mountain View, Arkansas. Like Bluegrass Camp, this camp features group workshops, individual lessons and jam sessions, including an opportunity to play music on the historic Mountain View courthouse square—worth the drive to watch and listen even if you’re not a camper! Your support for these camps helps continue an Ozarks legacy. 

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