SongRoots Summer Camp - July 8-12 2019!

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

Registration for SongRoots 2019 will begin Saturday Jan 26th at 10:00 am.

Cost for SongRoots this year will be $710 + $25 Registration Fee + GST

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

Instructors 2019

Adam Jacob Simon

Adam Jacob Simon—born and raised in Cambridge, MA—is an avid folk singer performing frequently with Northern Harmony, traveling throughout Europe, South Africa and the U.S. As co-founder of the folk music duo “Sophie et Adam” alongside his wife, French mezzo-soprano Sophie Michaux, he frequently performs a varied repertoire of European and American folk music. He is an accomplished classical singer as well, recently performing the tenor solos in Mozart’s Mass in c minor with the Onion River Chorus in Montpelier VT. Recent solo highlights have been the tenor Evangalist in Arvo Pärt’s “Passio” and baritone in Duruflé’s Requiem with the Trinity Church Choirs in Boston, where he serves as staff singer. As a composer, Adam has enjoyed many recent performances and commissions from nationally acclaimed ensembles including Lorelei Ensemble, Conspirare, Seraphic Fire, WordSong Boston, Palaver Strings and the Oriana Consort.

Brian Tate is an award-winning Vancouver-born (now living in Victoria) composer/arranger and popular choral clinician and choral director. He is music director of Vancouver’s 100-voice City Soul Choir and taught singing and choir at for 22 years at Studio 58, Langara College's professional theatre school. Brian performs as a jazz vocalist and also performs with Dawn Pemberton and Karla Mundy in the world music a cappella vocal trio “TriVo”. Brian has had a lifelong interest in music of the African Diaspora, and has travelled and studied in Cuba and West Africa. He frequently gives choir workshops and is in demand internationally as a clinician and workshop leader. Brian is a passionate advocate of life-long music-making at all levels.

Coco Love Alcorn

Coco Love Alcorn is the queen of the collaboration, the gel of the jam. Her shows are an invitation to connect, an invitation to sing, and an invitation to be swept away by great melody, catchy lyrics and winning performances. Her career has spanned over 20 years, 10 albums, cross-Canada tours and award nominations. Coco will be teaching songwriting and improv at SongRoots this year. Coco is the ultimate musical spark plug... an electrical connector through which the creative energy flows. In my 30 years of touring around the world, I have never seen another performer able to bring people together like Coco does.” - James Keelaghan - Artistic Director, Summerfolk and renowned Canadian singer/songwriter.

Dawn Pemberton

Vibrant, genuine and soulful, Dawn has deep musical roots that take her powerful voice from gospel and soul to jazz, funk and world music. She has become a staple of the Vancouver music scene and can often be found tearin’ it up as a vocalist, teacher, facilitator, adjudicator, choir director and “go to girl” for live performances and studio sessions. She currently directs Roots ‘N’ Wings Women’s Choir and teaches masterclasses and workshops all over Canada. A passionate educator and performer, Dawn approaches music with a sense of adventure, quirkiness, and serious groove and shapes it into her own unique and dynamic package. Tight, expressive and bold, Dawn will hit you where it counts, funk you up and make you say “Go ‘head!”

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.

Jenny Lester

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.

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 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.  She released her first solo CD called ‘Way Back’ in 2012 and is a Mom!

Lonnie Norwood

Lonnie Norwood, Jr. is a vibrant teaching artist with special interests in the art of the African American spiritual, Black gospel music, and the insurmountable musical traditions of the African Diaspora. Heavily involved in community arts outreach, he serves as a choral conductor with the Chicago Children’s Choir, providing equal access to the choral arts in some of Chicago’s lower income neighborhoods.


Michael Creber

Michael Creber is one of the West Coast’s most sought-after musicians, both onstage and in the recording studio. A Grammy-nominated producer, and a Juno award winner, his career as a keyboardist, composer, teacher and producer embraces many areas of music including jazz, rock, gospel and R&B. He has performed and recorded with kd lang, Raffi, the Rankin Sisters, Petula Clark, David Foster, Shirley Bassey, Powder Blues, John Sebastian, Cyndi Lauper, Dee Daniels, Phil Nimmons and many others. During the last few years, Michael has kept busy writing scores for film and television, producing CDs, teaching, and keeping up a full performance schedule. Michael has three albums of original music which have been featured on CBC Radio’s nationally broadcast JazzBeat, and on Vancouver’s Hot Air.

Sophie Michaux

Sophie Michaux was born in London, raised in the French Alps, and now based in Cambridge MA (USA). Although she focuses on classical music, her versatility and musical curiosity have brought her to be an active performer in many repertoires including French Cabaret songs, English Sea Shanties, as well as a variety of world polyphonies: in 2014 and 2017, she toured the U.S and Europe with Northern Harmony, an ensemble that is renowned for its command of varied world ethnic singing styles from the Balkans, the Republic of Georgia, South Africa and the US. She is the founding member of Sophie et Adam,a folk music duet with guitarist and singer Adam Jacob Simon, and of Culomba, a world music ensemble with Adam Simon (Voice, Guitar, Double Bass), and Lysander Jaffe (Voice, Violin), Sora Harris-Vincent (voice and Shruti box), and Avery Sherman (voice) . She has also explored the Yiddish song repertoire, with performances at the Goethe Institute for the Anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprise and the celebration of musical wealth in the Vilna and Łódź Ghettos during WWII.


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. 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 Knudson and Ali Romanow help out with many aspects of SongRoots. One of their important roles is that of 'Float Crew' with Bob Romanow! These three people 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 in July!



THE DOO-WOP 'SHOP! (no limit)

Tasty harmonies, catchy melodies, and sweet crooning will be the highlights of this class. We’ll learn even more of the doo-wop classics, the history, the style, and bop-shoo-wop all over Gambier. We will also use these doo-wop standards to hone our small ensemble singing skills, refine our personal style and experience the true magic of doo-wop!

Songwriting w/ Coco Love Alcorn (max 12 singers)

Following and harnessing the spirit of improvisation in songwriting! To me, improvisation is any instance where we allow for something to happen that was not preplanned. We are opening ourselves up to our instincts and our ideas of the moment. We are following our muse. When I write songs, this willingness to be open and playful is always present, especially at the start. Throughout the week we will explore these concepts through different exercises and musical experiments.

Your Voice, Your Song– A Singer’s Masterclass w/ Brian Tate and Michael Creber (max 8 singers)

Discover your authentic voice through working with a song of your choice in a playful and safe environment. Expand your confidence, connect with your audience, and experience the many ways of expressing yourself through song. You’ll receive one-on-one coaching as well as the invaluable experience of learning from each other. Each session brings new and exciting ways of exploring your voice and your song. Singers of all levels and songs of all styles are welcome! You must bring a song that you are ready to perform (memorized words and music); also, bring the piano music (sheet music or lead sheet)

Sing 'Til the Spirit Moves w/ Lonnie Norwood 

Journey with us on a spirit-filled high with songs that will leave you anxious for more! Learn with performance application the essential tools and backgrounds of Black Gospel and it’s influencer, The Traditional African American Spiritual. No experience? Expert? There is room for all to participate!


Madrigals w/ Sophie Michaux and Adam Jacob Simon (no limit)

(Re)Discover some of the exciting contrasts and emotions in 17th century italian and english music! SophieMichaux and Adam Simon will be leading a handful of works by Monteverdi, Purcell, and Weelkes, that shine by their fun rhythms, colorful harmonies, and stunning poetry.
Music reading skills appreciated but not obligatory.

Jazz Blues Summit w/ Jennifer Scott (max 16 singers)

Let’s learn some tunes that are standard (and not so standard!) to the bluesier side of Jazz and Swing. Etta James, Etta Jones, Dinah Washington, Big Joe Turner and even Aretha Franklin explored the songs and styles that made them the queens (and King) of Bluesy Jazz and we will, too! Learn how some simple techniques can direct you to this unique and popular style of singing.
All repertoire will be provided.

Bluegrass Harmony w/ Jenny Lester and Karla Mundy (no limit)

Bluegrass Harmony is a language and process that enable three singers to create a full, lush, three-part sound. Level one of this workshop will give you solid fundamental tools for understanding to craft your harmony parts in relationship to the melody.  Level 2 explores what options the tenor or baritone have for adding tones outside the triad. Learn the tradition and craft new sounds.  This is an excellent class for you to build your discerning ear and knowledge of how to craft harmony lines for songs across different genres.  Strong bluegrass singers are able to hold their parts individually, so we will provide lots of opportunity to practice in trios. Everyone welcome, no experience necessary.





‘The Next Level’ Performance Masterclass w/ Dawn Pemberton and Michael Creber (max 8 singers)

Ready to explore the edges of your artistic boundaries? In a fun, curious and supportive environment we will dig deeper and play with the elements that help create electrifying  performances.This masterclass is open to singers of all levels and styles. We will learn some fantastic tools to enhance your stage presence and delivery, solo chops, free your voice, build your confidence, inspire your musicality and refine your overall performance techniques. All participants must come prepared to sing one song and must bring a leadsheet/chart or sheet music in their key.

Vocal Improv w/ Coco Love Alcorn (max 20 singers)

Following and harnessing the spirit of improvisation in singing and performance! I love to improvise when I sing, it’s one of my very favourite things in the whole world. Vocal improvisation is something I have been exploring for almost 30 years. Together we will peel back layers and share different ideas and concepts surrounding the art and practice. But mostly we will sing!!! We will share a space that is safe for challenging our comfort zones and enjoying a truly connected experience. Playing our way through different approaches and exercises, seeking beauty, raw honesty and break through moments.

Songwriting w/ Jenny Lester (max 10)

This class will offer you some space to spend time on songwriting whether it is your first endeavour or a career goal.  At the beginning of each session we will gather as a group  to talk about concepts, ask questions, offer feedback.  Then each individual will find a place to work on their song privately and I will walk around to offer any support.  For the last 20 minutes of class we will return as a group and share again. Together we will support and strengthen our songwriting art and craft.

Top of the Pops! w/ Jennifer Scott (no limit)

Some pop tunes are so satisfyingly singable, they have become classics!
Burt Bacharach, James Taylor, Stevie & more - lets delve into these beauties, learning melodies, harmonies and grooves.
Just show up & sing!


Sing 'Til the Spirit Moves w/ Lonnie Norwood 

Journey with us on a spirit-filled high with songs that will leave you anxious for more! Learn with performance application the essential tools and backgrounds of Black Gospel and it’s influencer, The Traditional African American Spiritual. No experience? Expert? There is room for all to participate!

Polyphony Platter w/ Sophie Michaux, Adam Jacob Simon and Karla Mundy (no limit)

Polyphony Platter will explore the stunning, surprising, and beautiful harmonies of several polyphonic choral traditions, including music from the Republic of Georgia, Corsica, and American Sacred Harp singing. Karla Mundy, Sophie Michaux and Adam Simon lead this class which is sure to get you hooked on all of these styles.

How Music Works - A Holistic (and fun) approach to music theory w/ Brian Tate (no limit)

What is music? What makes a great song? How do chords work and how can I learn to identify them? How does melody, rhythm, and harmony fit together? These and other questions will be magically answered in an overview of the inner workings of music. All levels welcome - no experience or reading ability required. We will pull back the curtain to reveal the structure of popular songs, the role of expectation and surprise in music, similarities and differences in various music styles, and other very cool topics.


Gospel Goodness w/ Dawn Pemberton and Brian Tate (no limit)

Join Brian and Dawn for your daily dose of Gospel Goodness! This hour long ensemble will be full of great gospel music, invigorating harmonies, and soul stirring melodies. Learn how to do riffs and licks, explore soloing, and leave with a deep appreciation for this powerful and expressive style of music.

Balkan Ensemble w/ Sophie Michaux and Adam Jacob Simon (no limit)

Dancing tunes, irregular rhythms, buzzing harmonies, sunny vocal color: these are some of the ways to describe music from the Balkans. In Intro to Balkan Music, Sophie Michaux and Adam Simon will lead some of their favorite songs from Croatia, Bulgaria, Macedonia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Sing 'Til the Spirit Moves w/ Lonnie Norwood 

Journey with us on a spirit-filled high with songs that will leave you anxious for more! Learn with performance application the essential tools and backgrounds of Black Gospel and it’s influencer, The Traditional African American Spiritual. No experience? Expert? There is room for all to participate!


Layering Voices w/ Coco Love Alcorn (no limit)

Following and harnessing the spirit of improvisation in a group setting.  Ensemble singing is a beautiful practice. All our voices rise to be heard while also leaving room for each other. It’s a careful balance of blend, dynamics, and locking in our rhythm, pitch and vocal inflections... oh yes, and listening. Choral arrangements already have the parts written in, who sings what where to create the perfect balance. But when we are improvising, we are creating group arrangements on the fly. I have many ideas and concepts I’m excited to share about improvisation in a group setting but this paragraph has run out of room so I guess you’ll have to sign up to hear them! 🙂

Bluegrass A Cappella w/ Jenny Lester (no limit)

When do bass singers get to shine in Bluegrass? When bluegrass goes a cappella.  Bluegrass a cappella has a tradition of three part harmony with a beautifully crafted bass part... four voices. In this ensemble class I will place people in parts that suite their voice for the genre.  Together we will learn a repertoire of songs sung in the tradition of bluegrass.













Monday July 8-Friday July 12 2019

Monday July 8th - Water taxis will begin taking people from Horseshoe Bay to Gambier Island at 10:00 am. Please arrive at 9:30 am for registration and to have your bag tagged and loaded. Bowen Islanders will have their own water taxi that will leave at 9:30.

Friday July 12th - Water taxis will begin leaving Gambier Island at 1:30 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. By bringing your own tent you save $20 off the total cost of camp. 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. Teepees - Camp Fircom also has 2 large teepees that can be shared by 3-4 people as well. There is a raised wooden platform and mattresses are provided. You need to bring your own sleeping bag and pillow. This option is available at no extra cost.



4. Cabin/Bunkhouse – 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.



5. 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. 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 $75 for a double room and $150 for a single room.

6.  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 between 9:30 am-10:00 am to register on Monday July 9th. 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, Ali 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? Teepees can accommodate 4-5 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?

You can send Karla post-dated cheques spread out between Jan 6th- June 1st. You must send Karla $100 initially to reserve your spot and all other post dated cheques by the end of January. Camp costs $710 + $25 Registration + GST. There are several accommodation upgrades that cost extra.

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

– Bluegrass Singing (with Jenny Lester and Karla), Doo Wop Shop (Dawn Pemberton), South African Choral Singing (Bongani), Improv (Coco Love Alcorn), Top of the Pops (Jennifer), A Cappella Bluegrass (Jenny Lester), Gospel Goodness (Dawn and Brian)

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 all around have gone up a little – just keeping up with increased costs! I have also expanded the teaching team and brought in some teachers from further away!

15) I’m broke. 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.