SongRoots Summer Camp - July 8th-12th, 2024!
Join our incredible line-up of instructors for 5 musical and magical days in July!
Registration opens Sunday Jan 14th at 10:00 am PST
Registration for SongRoots 2024 will begin Sunday January 14th, 2024. We are so excited to be hosting SongRoots for our 11th YEAR!!
At this time, it is impossible to predict what the Covid situation could be by next summer. As a result, we are proceeding with flexibility. After two years of running SongRoots during Covid, we know that we can hold all of the classes and eat outdoors if necessary. We will be responsive to the current Covid situation and will proceed with appropriate caution as directed by the Provincial Health orders in the summer of 2024.
Cost for SongRoots this year will be $950 + $100 Registration Fee + GST
Cost includes everything - full tuition, accommodations, all meals and water taxi.
Read below to learn about the Camp 1 Instructors!!
Recently awarded the 2021 Canadian Folk Music Award for Best Contemporary Singer Of The Year, Coco Love Alcorn combines diverse musical influences including jazz, R&B, pop, folk, and Gospel. Her love of improvising, and willingness to engage fearlessly with the audience has made Alcorn an established presence on the Canadian music scene. Alcorn’s career has spanned more than 30 years, 9 solo albums, cross-Canada tours, collaborations, festival appearances, and award nominations. Her original songs have been used widely in TV and film and also sung by choirs around the world. Coco also leads the Wonderland Singers, an online community choir and creative singing workshop series with hundreds of regular members from across Canada, the States and beyond.
David has taught improvisational a cappella across Canada and internationally since 1997 and was the conductor of the improvisational choir House of Song.
His musical experience ranges from street performance to off-Broadway, from fully choreographed to fully improvised.
His work as a leadership consultant and facilitator focused on expression, communication, group dynamics, and conflict facilitation.
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.
Jenny Lester is a dynamic Bluegrass performer and recording artist who has established herself as an important singer/songwriter and multi instrumentalist.
Her original songs are carefully crafted in the bluegrass convention while displaying a contemporary freshness and that breathes new life into the fabled “high lonesome” sound.
She studied at South Plains College in Texas and has three Golden Reel awards.
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 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 and the Island Soul Choir on Vancouver 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.
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.
MICHAEL CREBER is a Grammy-nominated and Juno Award-winning artist who was dubbed “a cross between Floyd Cramer and Thelonius Monk” by one LA reviewer. As one of the West Coast’s most sought-after musicians, Michael pursues a wide-ranging career as a pianist, film composer, arranger and producer; embracing many genres of music such as jazz, Latin, R&B, rock, pop, musical theatre, country, folk and classical. He has performed as a featured guest with many symphony orchestras across North America and has recorded and toured internationally with k.d. lang (including performances on Saturday Night Live, the Grammy Awards, Arsenio Hall, Vicki Gabereau, Austin City Limits and six appearances on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson), the Irish Rovers (including 36 television specials) and world-renowned family entertainer Raffi (including performances on Broadway and at President Clinton’s first inauguration). Other luminaries Michael has worked with include Andrea Bocelli, Martin Short, Joan Rivers, Bob Newhart, Regis Philbin, The Rankin Sisters, Shirley Bassey, Powder Blues, Charlotte Diamond, Charo, Jim Byrnes, Dee Daniels, Valdy, Lee Aaron and David Foster. Michael has released four albums of original music: Brand New Smile, Dancers of the Spheres, Smooth Sailing and Songs For My Baby.
Sarina Partridge is a musician, song-leader, educator and activist in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She feels most alive when learning, creating and sharing songs -- especially songs that grow out of time spent in wild places. Sarina sings with a wide variety of music projects: community song-leading; harmony-rich original music with folk trio Heartwood; and performing and teaching of Eastern European and Yiddish song - her own musical lineage. Sarina has a passion for connecting people with their own creativity and with community, and uses harmony singing as a modality to help folks develop a sense of wonder and belonging in this wild world around us.
Admin and SongRoots Team Extraordinaire!
Ali Romanow is a non-binary music educator located in the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island in Canada. Music has been part of their life since childhood, it has taken them over the world as both a performer and an educator. It is how they connect with others and has been a constant companion supporting them through life's ups and downs.
Ali’s main mission as a musical educator is to help build diverse, supportive and safe musical communities for people of all ages and levels of experience. We all deserve to play music together, regardless of your level of experience or skill. Together we will build the skills and confidence necessary to feel comfortable and confident making music with others.
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.
Counsellor by day and harmony nerd by, well, also by day, Erinn has been singing harmonies for as long as they can remember.
When they’re not being a trauma therapist or belting out a third harmony along with whatever folk duo is playing on the radio, Erinn co-directs Fieramente (a choir for the 2SLBGTQIA+ community in the Comox Valley), sings back-up vocals, and teaches workshops on music and mental wellness.
Wendy Knudson, Ali & Bob Romanow help out with many aspects of SongRoots. One of their important roles is that of 'Float Crew'! These three people help get us all on and off of Gambier Island
Karla Mundy started SongRoots in July 2014 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!
July 3-7 2023 Classes
Songs that Build Community w/ Sarina Partridge (no limit)
In this class we will learn harmony songs that build community: for choirs, community groups, protests, around the table, at the park... songs that get any group singing in harmony together before you know it! Sarina writes and teaches simple, satisfying songs touching on big themes like the cycles of the seasons, showing up for each other and ourselves and the planet, how to embody and use our powerful voices. All songs will be taught by ear and all voices are welcome!
Blues and Gospel w/ Yolanda Robinson (no limit)
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!
Vocal Training Techniques from Jazz and Hindustani w/ Shruti Ramani (no limit)
Vocal regimen to enhance malleability of the voice and improvisational skills using techniques borrowing from both Jazz and Indian classical traditions.
This is open to anyone!
Intro to Music Theory w/ Jenny Lester (no limit)
Creativity in the Round w/ Jennifer Scott & Moira Smiley (no limit)
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!
I Got A Right to the Tree of Life - Music of 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.
Music of the Jewish Diaspora w/ Sarina Partridge (no limit)
In this class, we will sing music in Yiddish, Russian, Ladino, and more, exploring the rich cultural heritage of Jewish music from many parts of the world. We will sing songs of memory, love, longing, struggle, connection... Sarina will teach her original arrangements of this folk music that she has learned from master teachers and tradition bearers in her studies of her own musical ancestral lineage.
Hindustani Classical Music & Jazz - Concept of Fusion (no limit)
Join Shruti Ramani in this exploration of the differences and similarities to Hindustani Classical Music and Jazz.
We will also look at how to approach fusion music of various cultures. This class is open to anyone interested!
Traditional New Orleans Jazz w/ Yolanda Robinson (no limit)
Come, sing and learn some of the richest and most vibrant music indigenous to New Orleans.
Traditional New Orleans music has been in existence for over a century. People come from all over the world to Preservation Hall to hear and feel the magic of this exciting music.
Broadway, Baby! w/ Kaitlin Foley (no limit)
Ever wanted to try your hand at musical theater but never had the right opportunity?
Join us for this scenes class and brave the limelight in a supportive and caring environment. You’ll learn duets, trios, and short scenes from Broadway favorites like Fiddler on the Roof, Little Shop of Horrors, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Kiss Me Kate, and more. Embrace your inner ham!
Bluegrass Harmony Singing w/ Jenny Lester & Karla Mundy (no limit)
Pop R&B Sing Fest w/ Jennifer Scott (no limit)
Let’s sing a mixture of great singalong and arrangeable tunes by Earth, Wind & Fire, James Taylor, Sam Cooke and much much more!
Delicious Harmonies and group singing emphasized, (but with solo options, too!) so bring your voice and we’ll joyfully raise them together!
Songs & Movement (Not Scary, Just Fun!) w/ Moira Smiley (no limit)
Body percussion, games and exercises to connect your body and how YOU move into your singing.
Gospel Ensemble w/ Kathy Bullock (no limit)
Description coming soon...
Monday July 3rd-Friday July 7th 2023
Monday July 3rd - 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 July 7th - 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 LAST YEAR's SCHEDULE! This year's schedule will be very similar but will come out in November 2022.
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. (Tenters get a $20 discount)
2. Canvas Tents - Camp Fircom provides 6 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 if there are 3-4 people in one.
3. Cabin/Bunkhouse 1-4 – will sleep up to 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. These Cabins are the newer ones that were built in the last few years.
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 8 double rooms and 4 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 $35 to have it supplied for you. There is an additional cost to stay in Craigcroft of $120 for a double room and $240 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 additional cost of $400 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 3rd. 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 Ali Romanow, Wendy Knudson and Bob Romanow. They have a wonderful system to get you all sorted, 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 at the park in Horseshoe Bay right on the water. 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 new condos. 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. http://www.tiddlycovelions.com/?page_id=11 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 (sibleys) 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 $890 + $100 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?
Songs that Build Community, Blues & Gospel, Intro to Music Theory, Creativity in the Round, I Got A Right to the Tree of Life, Traditional New Orleans Music, Bluegrass, Broadway, Baby!, Songs and Movement, Pop R&B Singfest and Gospel Ensemble.
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?
Costs for absolutely everything involved with camp have gone up. In addition to that, we also 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)
- We will operate with reduced numbers, approx 90 participants, 10 instructors and 4 assistants (typically SongRoots has 110 participants, 12 instructors and 3 assistants)
- At this point, the plan is for all classes to be held outdoors in covered areas to ensure that we have excellent air flow. We will re-assess closer to the time.
- At this time, our plan is that all meals will be eaten outside in covered areas.
- Accommodations will be Cabins (8 people), Craigcroft (4 single rooms, 8 double rooms), Farmhouse (2 single rooms (or couples)), Bring your own Tent & Shared Sibley Tents (suggested for 3-4 people)
- 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 and on the water taxis.
- 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.