SongRoots Summer Camp - Aug 29th-Sept 2nd, 2022!

Join our incredible line-up of instructors for 5 musical and magical days in late summer!

Registration for SongRoots 2022 will begin February 13th. In order to keep everyone as safe as possible, we have implemented some Covid safety protocols. Please read over the Covid information (found under the tab on the far right). We are planning as if Covid is still a big concern. If the situation changes and we can safely lift protocols, we will revisit our plan. We will be following Provincial Health Orders.

Cost for SongRoots this year will be $840 + $50 Registration Fee 

Cost includes everything - full tuition, accommodations, food and water taxi.

Instructors - Aug 29th-Sept 2nd 2022

Beverly Smith

Beverly Smith is an award-winning musician who travels the world playing and teaching the music of the southern Appalachians. Having been introduced to old time mountain music as a child, she has made a life of it, stitching together traditional old time tunes and songs with her own originals and has been fortunate to have been in some iconic old time bands with musicians such as Bruce Molsky, Tara Nevins, Alice Gerrard, Carl Jones and many others. Highly regarded for her strong rhythm and her plaintive and truthful voice, as well as her extensive repertoire of old fiddle tunes, she is passionate about music as a means of communication, loves to teach and has taught and /or performed at most major music camps and festivals around the globe.

Jennifer Scott

Jennifer Scott is a singer and pianist born in Vancouver, BC, Canada. She specializes in jazz, blues, and world music. She is considered one of the more important jazz artists working in Canada and the United States today. As well as being a performer, she arranges and writes jazz and pop tunes, with several CDs containing a combination of original tunes, tunes she has arranged, and more traditional tunes. She has also appeared on many CBC recordings and has worked with many other musicians both live and in studio.


Kaitlin Foley

Kaitlin Foley, soprano, has “emerged as one of the truly great musicians of this city” (Vocal Arts Chicago). With her “vocal gleam and fiery dramatic involvement” (Chicago Classical Review) and her “absolute technical security” (John von Rhein), Ms. Foley is a versatile performer with an ear for early and new music. She has sung with the Haymarket Opera Company, Grant Park Chorus, Third Coast Baroque, Ensemble Dal Niente, and is a founding member of the genre-bending vocal theater ensemble Artemisia. Foley recently debuted as a soloist with the Grant Park Chorus and Orchestra on Schubert’s Mass in G. Through various cultural exchange programs including Village Harmony and SongRoots, she has studied non-Western vocal traditions in Corsica, Republic of Georgia, Cuba, and Appalachia. She achieved her M.M. in Voice Performance from DePaul University and completed her undergraduate work in music education at the University of Missouri. Ms. Foley equally enjoys teaching and performing, and directs various choirs and teaches voice at People’s Music School, Merit School of Music, The Musical Offering, Women of Note, Evanston Township High School, and Niles West High School.

Karla Mundy

Karla Mundy is a vibrant, soulful and diverse vocalist, pianist, arranger and choir leader. Karla directs Rhythm ‘n’ Roots and Harmony Mountain Singers in Vancouver, the City Soul Choir, the Island Soul Choir on Vancouver Island and EarthSounds on Bowen Island. Karla leads harmony singing workshops throughout BC and organizes many singing camps, workshops and singing study trips abroad. Karla is a founding member of the No Sh!t Shirleys, TriVo, Cleia, Plough,  Tanglewood Trio and Big Whoop! Karla is passionate about teaching harmony singing, getting the music off the page and digging deep into new musical territory.

Kathy Bullock

Dr. Kathy Bullock is a teacher, performer, conductor, arranger, and scholar who specializes in the area of African American Sacred Music.  A Professor Emerita of Music at Berea College, Berea, Kentucky where she taught for almost thirty years, she is also currently a Visiting Professor at Bennington College, Bennington, VT. Dr. Bullock earned the Ph.D. and M.A. in Music Theory from Washington University in St. Louis, MO, and a B.A. in Music from Brandeis University, MA and has taught in a wide variety of musical areas. She continues to perform, conduct workshops, direct choirs, and teaching courses in African American Music throughout the United States, Europe and Africa, sharing hope and joy during these challenging times.

Moira Smiley

Singer / Composer, Moira Smiley travels the world creating new works for voices and accompanying her performances with her banjo, accordion, piano, and percussive movement. Her recordings feature spare, vocally-driven collections of warped traditional songs and original polyphony. In February, 2021 Moira Smiley & VOCO (with Karla Mundy + Dawn Pemberton!) released vocal album, In Our VoicesMoira also recently appeared on Jimmy Kimmel LiveLive on KEXP At Home, and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert with Tune-Yards for their Sketchy album release.

Pharis Romero

Pharis has been singing and playing music her whole life. An early student of classical and country, she grew up performing with her family's band and learning the songs and stories that made her want to dig deeper. These days she performs mostly with her husband Jason, and is equally at home disappearing into an old-time jam as she is singing on stage or teaching the joy of song and sound. She’s the Artistic Director for VoiceWorks, has won three Juno Awards for hers and Jason’s records, and is a three-time Canadian Folk Music Awards Trad Singer of the Year.


Sarina Partridge

Sarina Partridge is a musician, song-leader and educator in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She feels most alive when learning, creating and sharing songs, and enjoys singing, teaching, and touring with a wide variety of music projects - Eastern European and Yiddish song, old-time music, community song-leading... and everything in between.  Sarina has worked as a classroom teacher for the past ten+ years, weaving music into the everyday work and joy of building and sustaining community - and it works for grown ups, too! Sarina has a passion for connecting people with their own creativity and with community, using singing to help folks develop a sense of wonder for this wild world around us. All of us have a right and a need to make music, stretch ourselves, grow, and play. Let’s sing!

Stella Green Sanderson

Stella’s interest in traditional world folk music has taken them all over the world, learning harmony singing and traditional polyphony from culture bearers and experts. Stella’s travels have fostered a particular interest in music from the Republic of Georgia, Corsica, South Africa, the Balkans, and the United States, specifically Appalachian and Shape Note music. Stella has been singing with Vermont-based music organization Village Harmony since 2006 and has toured and taught with Northern Harmony across Europe and the United States since 2017. Stella plays the clawhammer banjo, guitar, and any stringed folk instrument they can get their hands on.


Admin and SongRoots Team Extraordinaire!

Ali Romanow  

Ali Romanow is a multi-instrumentalist and music educator based in British Columbia. Competent on a variety of instruments Ali also brings her captivating vocals, original writing and arranging to whatever project she is currently focused on. When she is not on the road with Vancouver indie collective the Fugitives, Ali spends her time in Courtenay BC, where she directs the FolkHarmonic Orchestra

Wendy Knudson

Wendy is passionate about all aspects of music – organizing workshops, teaching, collaborating, and playing. From her living room to being onstage to time in the studio, Wendy sings, plays guitar, accordion, upright bass, ukulele and fiddle. She plays a broad variety of genres, ranging from Celtic, folk, gypsy jazz, Brazilian choro, to French café music, and western swing. Wendy has the great pleasure of teaching accordion, guitar, ukulele and fiddle to kids of all ages in Courtenay, BC. **Wendy will also be joining Karla for the Distanced Duets Class!


Wendy Knudson, Ali & Bob Romanow help out with many aspects of SongRoots. One of their important roles is that of 'Float Crew'These two people help get us all on and off of Gambier Island



Karla Mundy started SongRoots in July 2013 and is beyond thrilled at how this dream has taken root and is growing. After going to (and loving) many music camps and workshops, Karla thought it would be wonderful to have an all vocal camp in Western Canada. At most of the camps that Karla went to, there would be large overflowing and happy singing classes and she could imagine that a whole camp dedicated to singing would be wonderful. SongRoots is a chance to dig deeper, expand repertoire and styles and focus solely on the voice with others who love to sing in an intensive setting on a beautiful island away from our busy daily lives!  Karla loves the sense of community that has emerged from SongRoots and is delighted by the musical and personal growth that happens every year during (and beyond) these 5 magical days!


Singing Skills w/ Pharis Romero (no limit)

Build up your singing skills in tone, breathing, projection, and range, and find new freedom and confidence to explore and develop your own voice. We’ll do some exceptionally fun exercises and we’ll learn some beautiful old songs and maybe harmonies to practice our new found skills on. This is a class for all levels of singers, and the content will vary depending on what folks most desire to work on.

Sweet Sounds w/ Sarina Partridge & Stella Sanderson (no limit)

Learn sweet, satisfying harmony songs great for ensemble singing! Stella will bring fun, accessible 3-part songs -- lullabies, Appalachian, and more. Sarina will bring her original songs - simple 2- and 3-part songs celebrating the wild world without and within.

Early Music for Everyone w/ Kaitlin Foley (no limit)

Come learn some Renaissance-era choral music in an inviting environment! Focusing on music for 3-5 voices, we will sing the soaring lines and intricate rhythms of Byrd, Guerrero, Palestrina, Di Lasso, and contemporaries. Get a brain workout from polyphony and madrigals alike and make some sweet harmonies!

Old Time Country Singing w/ Beverly Smith (no limit)

From plaintive unaccompanied Appalachian ballads, hymns to honky tonk, bluegrass, blues, and country, the southern mountains have made an indelible mark on American music.  We will be looking into this deep repertoire, learning both solo and harmony parts and mostly singing! The Carter Family, Blue Sky Boys, Stanley Brothers, Almeda Riddle, Lily May Ledford are just a few of the folks we'll be listening to and learning songs from.   Bring your big ears and your real voice and be ready for three chords and the truth.

Making It Your Own w/ Karla Mundy (max 12 singers)

This class is going to be all about PLAY and exploration. Over the week - learn 3-4 songs and we are going to play with movement, improvisation, phrasing and emotion. We are going to dissect these songs and put them back together again, getting out of our comfort zones and diving deep into discovery. We will work with practical exercises that will shift our patterns and we are going to fully embrace making ‘mistakes’ ! We will take turns singing so come ready to sing on your own, in a completely safe, fun and nurturing environment.  All are welcome and no need to prepare anything in advance. 


Your Own Wild Voice w/ Moira Smiley (no limit)

The human voice has astonishing range, and, like our lungs & our brains, we may not use it to its full glory! Here’s a class to explore the far reaches of our vocal color palettes. We’ll spend time listening to and discussing recordings of truly ‘wild' singing that ‘wow’ us, from many genres. We’ll break down and try out elements of singing that define ‘style’ and ‘expressivity’ and what kind of singing feels unbridled and wild. We’ll write mini-songs to explore singing contexts. We’ll learn about the contexts for singing that bring unique, expressive singing forward. We’ll learn a few unusual traditional folk songs primarily from Eastern European and Appalachian traditions to enjoy creating different vocal colors together. Moira playfully draws out techniques, timbres, ornaments, laments and laughter you always knew were in you as a singer or writer of songs, but maybe hadn’t felt you could bring out!

African and Caribbean Songs w/ Kathy Bullock (no limit)

In this session we'll sing songs from South Africa, Ghana and other countries in West Africa as well as songs from Jamaica in the West Indies.  The content will include sacred songs, protest and folk tunes, and children’s songs/games; we will celebrate all with infectious joy.  

Performance Masterclass for Singers, Songwriters & Others w/ Jennifer Scott (max 8 singers)

We’ll explore expanded breathing techniques, vocalises to expand the range and timbre of the voice, and stagecraft exercises. We’ll also explore polishing up your performances, working with your natural positives to create an onstage persona that is natural, polished & and vocally healthy. All styles of music welcome. Singers should be prepared to bring 2-3 solo pieces to class. Challenge yourself to take it to a new level!

Country Duets w/ Pharis Romero & Beverly Smith (no limit)

Learn the big picture and the small details of duets in the style of the early country masters: Maybelle & Sara Carter, Bill & Charlie Monroe, Carter & Ralph Stanley, and many more. This will be both a repertoire and skills class, where we learn some of the songs along with the whys and hows of the duets they sang.

Polyphony Platter w/ Sarina Partridge, Kaitlin Foley & Stella Sanderson (no limit)

Join us for this feast of harmony songs from traditions around the world - Georgian, Balkan, Yiddish, American Shapenote... and more! Stella, Kaitlin and Sarina will teach songs they have learned through travel and study with folk tradition masters and culture bearers.



Creativity in the Round w/ Jennifer Scott & Moira Smiley

Jennifer Scott and Moira Smiley will co-lead these playful and exploratory sessions based on vocal improvisation, percussive sound & movement and an element of 'wild' expressive singing. The group will journey from improvising on the fly to spontaneous composition to possibly building some arrangements from scratch!

All are welcome - bring your ears, hearts and a willingness to jump in!

Songs from Women's Suffrage Movement w/ Kathy Bullock (no limit)

We will take a journey through song exploring the Women’s Suffrage Movement in the U.S. Our songs will include those from pre- civil war period, the 1900-1920s suffragist protests, the Civil Rights marches in 1960s and the present day, spreading the timeless message of voting rights and equity for all. 

Roots Vocal Ensemble w/ Kaitlin Foley, Stella Sanderson, Sarina Partridge & Karla Mundy

Drawing on roots traditions from around the world, Sarina, Stella, Kaitlin and Karla will lead the full group in learning beautiful and exciting repertoire that can work in ensembles of various sizes. We will focus on developing ensemble singing skills - attentive listening, communication, dynamics and expression. We will learn explore the balance of a receptive yet assertive ensemble singer. Once we feel comfortable with the songs, we can explore the music in smaller groups with those who volunteer to try it! Everyone is welcome in this skill building class!

Schedule for 2021 (2022 Schedule Coming Soon!)

Monday August 30th-Friday Sept 3rd 2021

Monday August 30th - Water taxis will begin taking people from Horseshoe Bay to Gambier Island at 10:30 am. Please arrive at 9:50 am for registration and to have your bag tagged and loaded.

Friday Sept 3rd - Water taxis will begin leaving Gambier Island at 1:00 pm. The last water taxi will likely leave around 2:30. You can safely plan to be back at Horseshoe Bay between 2:00 and 3:00.

Here is a full view of the week's schedule!


SongRoots – Summer Camp Accommodations

There are various options for accommodations at Camp Fircom.

1. Tenting! You have the option of bringing your own tent and setting up your home for the week in some of the gorgeous camp sites at Camp Fircom.  There are communal washrooms for tenters and cabin sleepers. 




2. Canvas Tents - Camp Fircom provides 4 large Canvas tents. These can be shared by 3-4 people and mattresses are provided  - all you need to bring is your own sleeping bag and pillow. This option is available at no extra cost.



3. Cabin/Bunkhouse – will sleep up to 6-8 in a room - everyone will get a lower bunk and can keep their gear on the top bunk. There are shared communal bathrooms and everyone brings their own bedding. There are electrical outlets in the cabins. This option is available at no extra cost.



4. Craigcroft – there is a choice of shared or single rooms (limited) in Craigcroft. Craigcroft is a 2 storey dorm-style residence with 12 rooms and a large common room. We will have 4 double rooms and 8 single rooms. There are two bathrooms with additional washrooms located in the dining hall which is right next door. You can bring your own bedding or you can pay an extra $20 to have it supplied for you. There is an additional cost to stay in Craigcroft of $100 for a double room and $200 for a single room.

5.  Farmhouse - this is the most luxurious accommodation available! There are two bedrooms (each with a queen sized bed), a fully equipped kitchen, a large patio (with a view of the water) and a beautiful living room. All linens are provided. There is an addiontal cost of $300 per room at the Farmhouse.



FOOD at Fircom!

Fircom focuses on healthy, delicious homemade meals to ensure that you are satisfied and feeling great during your time at camp. Our chef and farmer work together to grow beautiful, abundant harvests in our 1.5 acres organic garden. Much of the produce from the Farm ends up in beautiful meals or in the delicious and colorful salad bar served at each lunch and dinner.


Camp Fircom is endeavouring to be as sustainable as possible and tread lightly on the earth. One of the ways they are doing this is by trying to cut back on food waste. The main thought is 'take what you need, and eat what you take' - there is going to be plenty of food for second helpings so please don't be shy if you didn't get enough food the first time. 2nd helpings are available!

Everyone arrive at Horseshoe Bay around 10:00 am to register on Monday July 5th. For those people coming from Vancouver Island, you can take the 8:30 am boat and come straight over to register., We will be going over in many different water taxis - we can only load one at a time, so it does take a while to get the whole group over there. Be patient and it should all run smoothly - enjoy the beautiful ride!

You will be registered by Wendy Knudson and Bob Romanow. They have a wonderful system to get you all registered, loaded on the boat and sent over. You must check in with them first before heading down to the dock!!

We have to make special arrangements for the water taxis on Monday morning and those costs are included in your ticket. If you miss the water taxi, you will be responsible for getting yourself to the island (through Cormorant Marine Water Taxi) and will have to cover that cost. Some people have been asking about special water taxi departure times - I am unable to organize anything extra outside of our scheduled times.

Where to meet? Where to park?

 Meet on the lawn by the (former) Boathouse Restaurant. There you will receive your welcome package and be organized into different water taxis. The Water Taxi Loading area is at the end of the Government Dock in Horseshoe Bay, which is to the East of the Boathouse Restaurant. Please do not go to the Water Taxi office, as they are not responsible for the check-in of our campers.

Parking! - there are various lots at Horseshoe Bay. I would suggest carpooling. The lots closest to the terminal cost about $20/day. There is a cheaper lot up the hill. The best option is getting dropped off if possible!

LIONS OVERFLOW PARKING Located at 6318 Marine drive, West Vancouver Across from the 2nd hole of Geneagles Golf Club, just south of Geneagles Elementary School

**We will be arriving and leaving at low tide which means that the ramp to get to the boat is kind of steep!  The trip to and from Fircom is a little arduous. It does include carrying your luggage, walking up and down steep loading ramps and then walking up a hill on Gambier up to Camp Fircom. There is a truck that will take our luggage and could drive people with mobility problems. We will have designated helpers and lifters are all there to help each other.

3. Leaving on Friday

The boats start leaving Fircom at 1:30 on Friday. We can only load one water taxi at a time so I am unable to tell anyone exactly when they will get back to HSB. It could be as early at 2:15 or you could be on the last water taxi and not get back until about 3:30 or so.

See below for important info and helpful tips!

1) How do the canvas tents and teepees work? Canvas Tents can accommodate 3-4 people– Fircom provides mattresses and you bring your own sleeping bag and pillow. Think sleep over/slumber party! You will be close and cozy. If you have a group of 3-4 people, there would be no extra cost.

2) How can I pay in instalments? How much is camp?

Camp costs $840 + $50 Registration + GST. There are several accommodation upgrades that cost extra. You can pay in instalments - just get in touch with Karla to sort out a schedule.

3) I'm really new to singing and nervous about coming.. what classes are best suited for beginners/less experienced singers?

– Singing Skills (with Pharis Romero), Old Time Singing (Beverly Smith), Sweet Sounds (Stella and Sarina), Your Own Wild Voice (Moira Smiley), African and Caribbean Songs (Kathy Bullock) , Songs from Women's Suffrage (Kathy Bullock)

4) Are there any Bed & Breakfasts available near Fircom? No,

Fircom is on the south eastern corner of Gambier and there is no road access to New Brighton or most of the rest of the island. There are no accommodation rentals in the near vicinity.

5) Can I bring my own boat to Fircom? You can, but there is no mooring on the government dock. You can anchor in Fircom Bay or Halkett Bay, however you will have to bring a dinghy and paddle in.

6) Where can I tent? There are several lovely tenting areas in the forest and in more open areas.

7) Can I come for part of the camp? This event is all or nothing. We will have additional boats in emergency circumstances but otherwise we expect participants to stay for the duration of the program.

8) Can I bring my dog? Unless you have an assistance/service animal, animals are not permitted.

9) Is the accommodation wheelchair accessible? Please contact Karla for more information on the accessibility of the site and facilities. There are many gravel roads and a fair bit of walking between class - Karla could try to accommodate accessibility as much as possible with accommodation choice and class location.

10) I own a cabin on Gambier. Can I just come for the days?

Yes that would be fine. Contact Karla and we would sort out your cost for the camp.

11) I’d like to bring my baby, is that ok?

That could be possible and it might be a little tricky. We could try to sort out an accommodation that would work for you. Please contact Karla and talk through what the days are like and how you could try to make it work for you and your baby.

12) I’d like to bring my 8 year old, is that ok?

At the moment, this camp is geared towards adults and we don’t currently have it set up to work for kids as well (we are working on that for the future)

13) I’d like to know more about what emergency services are available on Gambier. Can you tell me about that?

Fircom is an isolated site however emergency services can be dispatched to site. In case of an emergency medical situation, the patient will be evacuated either by boat or by helicopter.

14) This year seems more expensive than last year. Why is that?

We need to operate camp with reduced capacity this year because of Covid. As a result, we have had to slightly increase costs.

15) Finances are tight. Is there any way I can barter my fee?

There could be some limited possibilities of helping out with camp and reducing some of the fee. Please contact Karla if you have some ideas. There are some bursary funds available!

It is still too early for us to know exactly what our Covid protocols will need to be. As it is a constantly evolving situation, we will create our final Covid plan closer to the time. Our plan will be based on PHO Health Orders and many other factors (Covid case numbers, variants, access to testing, etc) We are currently operating under the Covid safety plan that we have in place for 2021. If it is still necessary, we will follow this same plan - if things have improved significantly, we can alter the plan accordingly.

  •  All Songroots Participants must have two doses of a Covid Vaccine. Due to the nature of the event (multi day & singing) and the early days of restarting with us trying to get back to "normal", having vaccinated participants will give us a much needed extra level of protection.
  •  We will operate with reduced numbers, approx 80 participants, 9 instructors and 3 assistants (typically SongRoots has 110 participants, 12 instructors and 3 assistants)
  •  All classes will be held outdoors in covered areas to ensure that we have excellent air flow.
  • All meals will be eaten outside in covered areas. When eating at the tables, we will seat grouped according to our accommodation cohort.
  • Accommodations will be Cabins (8 people), Craigcroft (4 double rooms, 8 single rooms), Farmhouse (2 single rooms), Bring your own Tent & Shared Sibley Tents (suggested for 3-4 people)
  • We will have cohorts of 8 people with whom we can share our dining tables with and sit more closely with during classes.
  • All interactions with Fircom staff will be distanced, masks will be worn by staff when serving food during meal times.
  • Camp concerts will be unamplified for participants so as not to share sound equipment. Instructors will have their own microphones to be heard while teaching (if necessary)
  • For masking & physical distancing, we will follow the current PHO rules.
  • Masking (at this point) is not considered necessary outside. Anyone who feels more comfortable wearing a mask is completely welcome to. We may be required to wear masks inside buildings, we will follow Fircom's rules.
  • Water taxis will operate at half capacity and masks must be worn during your trip.
  • As Covid is an ongoing and shifting situation, we will follow all PHO rules and guidelines and stay up to date with the latest advice.
  • We will be sending out a Covid symptoms checklist prior to camp. Anyone experiencing any symptoms leading up to camp need to get tested for Covid.