SongRoots Summer Camp - Aug 30th-Sept 3rd 2021!

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

Registration for SongRoots 2021 will begin July 7th. This year, registration will run differently. I will accept applications on July 7th and 8th and go through a lottery process to determine accommodations and the limited class spots. On July 9th, I will let everyone know their accommodations and class choices (based on the lottery). From July 9th onwards, it will be first come, first served for all remaining spots! 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).

Cost for SongRoots this year will be $775 + $25 Registration Fee + GST

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

Instructors 2021

Brian Tate

Brian Tate is an award-winning Vancouver-born (now living in Victoria) composer/arranger and popular choral clinician and choral director. He was the founding music director of Vancouver’s 100-voice City Soul Choir (2009-2019) and taught singing and choir at Langara College 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.

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

Michael Creber

MICHAEL CREBER is a Grammy-nominated and Juno Award-winning artist with a wide-ranging multi-genre career as a pianist, film composer, arranger and producer. He 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); he also co-produced and co-wrote Raffi's 1994 hit CD, Bananaphone. Other luminaries Michael has worked with include Andrea Bocelli, Patti LaBelle, Bryan Adams, Jordin Sparks, Martin Short, Joan Rivers, Bob Newhart, Cyndi Lauper, Regis Philbin, The Rankin Sisters, Shirley Bassey, Powder Blues, Charo, Dee Daniels, and David Foster. Michael has released four albums of original music.

Susan Ellenton

Singer-songwriter Susan Ellenton has deep roots in Canadiana (thirteen generations!) and the participatory songs of summer camp.  She won her first songwriting contest at twelve, studied piano, flute and guitar as a teenager, then moved to the Yukon and began a life of performing in the early 1980’s. Following studies at Capilano College, she toured widely and was twice commissioned to write the songs for full-length touring musicals. Hand injuries changed her direction in her early forties. She opened a small music school in Victoria BC (Authentic Voices), intensively explored improvisational painting for several years, then began developing her current specialty, a unique blend of acapella songwriting and storytelling. She leads a small, non-performing acapella ensemble.

Susan also enjoys making silver jewelry, cooking, gardening, spending time with her grandkids, and playing folk clubs and house concerts with her songwriting husband Robert. She is in the process of writing a book investigating the nature of Practice as it relates to songwriting. Music camp has been the highlight of Susan’s summers for nearly thirty years, both as camper and instructor and she is thrilled to be joining the team for Songroots 2020!


Admin and SongRoots Team Extraordinaire!

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 and 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!


Three’s Company: The Joy of Vocal Trios w/ Brian Tate (no limit)

Do you love the sound of singers in harmony? You can do it! Learning to sing harmonies will sharpen your ear, extended your range, and expand your vocal abilities. We will learn and sing three-part harmony in a variety of styles, including R&B, gospel, pop, and folk music. You’ll have a fun time in a safe and supportive environment!

Come Fly With Me w/ Jennifer Scott (max 8 singers)

Discover some great music - jazz, Brazilian, Blues and genre-less songs through listening and recreating, arranging and harmonizing. This will be a community of singers taking how we learn new tunes to a new level, understanding the melody, harmony and groove with depth and joy!

Bluegrass Harmony w/ Jenny Lester (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.

Songwriters Masterclass w/ Susan Ellenton (max 8 singers)

Come and sing us a song of your own making! We’ll listen generously. We’ll share what beguiles us and what stays with us in each others’ songs. We'll ask questions, listen some more, and let the songs be our teachers. Come prepared with two original songs you’d like to sing and/or play for us. My goal: we’ll all go home eager to keep on keeping on!

Polyphony w/ Karla Mundy (no limit)

Let's sing together! In this class, we will explore multi-part singing from different traditions and we will delight in blending our voices together again! Karla will specially select music depending on how many people and what voice types register for the class. With this curated song list, she will prepare some music for some pre-study so we can arrive with some familiarity and background knowledge of the music in store. Be prepared to sing in other languages but due to our short time together, it won't be overly challenging linguistically!



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)t the class, several music theory concepts, improvisation tools (including sound painting) and extended techniques will be introduced. We will also develop improvised pieces together that involve the voice, stories and mythologies, and our bodies. This will be a chance to take risks and play!


Distanced Duets w/ Karla Mundy & Wendy Knudson

Duets - dynamic, flexible, intimate and joyous! We will explore how to meld our voices with another singer, how to sing in a way that is responsive, attentive and playful. With appropriate distance between us we will reacquaint ourselves with singing together after a year of singing solo and have a great time doing it! Repertoire will be in English and based on folky/traditional styles.


Collaborative Song Making w/ Susan Ellenton (no limit)


How can we work together to create a song neither of us could have made alone?How can we make it more fulfilling, more fun, more fabulous? Each day we’ll experiment with a different approach! Invite someone from your cohort to be your collaborator all this week, or partner up with someone different every day - your choice. Let’s do this!

Roots Ensemble w/ Jenny Lester (no limit)

Bring your instruments and/or voices!  Its more than a jam... lets be a band.  We will work from a songbook, pick our favorites, create arrangements as a band. Intro, verses, choruses, solos, bridges, outros, dynamics, tempo, key, harmony..  Arranging roots music for a band enables the song to have a deeper level of dynamics. You can sing, play or both...all voices and instruments welcome.

Improvisation in Motion w/ Jennifer Scott (no limit)

Free your voice in a variety of ways! We’ll use structured songs in a smorgasbord of styles, playing with the sounds our voices can make. We can also use movement (qigong) and our surroundings: the sounds we hear in nature, the emotions we feel, music we want to share with each other and just getting down and creating beautiful vocalizations from nothing!



We are trying something new this year! As this will be the first intensive musical experience that we have taught and participated in for over a year, we thought we could use a bit more space and put a little less demand on ourselves to soak up tons of new material. For our late afternoon sessions, we have decided to offer a combination of faculty led 'Curated Music Listening Sessions' and Online Camp Follow Up classes! These classes will be drop in so no need to sign up for them...come and join in or take a break and go for a walk, a swim, practice some music, work on your songwriting etc!

Monday Evening

Music Listening Session 7:30 pm-... (led by Jennifer Scott & Michael Creber)

Jenny Lester Campfire Songs 8:30-...

Tuesday 4:15-5:30

Musical Journaling & Discussions with Karla Mundy

Musical Journey with Brian Tate (online class follow up)


Music Listening Session (led by Jenny Lester & Susan Ellenton)

Wednesday Afternoon (time TBA)

'Piano Play' for Michael's Piano students

'Songwriters Circle' from Susan's class

Thursday 4:15-5:30

Jazz & Improv Play - Jennifer Scott Online Class Follow Up

Music Listening Session (led by Brian Tate & Karla Mundy)














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 $75 for a double room and $150 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?

Since we are on such a tight schedule this year, camp payment will be needed in full after acceptance into camp!  Camp costs $775 + $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), Improvisation in Motion (Jennifer Scott), Roots Jam (Jenny Lester)

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!

  •  All Songroots Participants must have two doses of a Covid Vaccine. They must receive their 2nd vaccine by Aug 16th 2021.
  • 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 60 participants, 6 instructors and 2 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 (6-8 people), Craigcroft (4 double rooms, 8 single rooms), Farmhouse (2 single rooms), Bring your own Tent & Shared Sibley Tents (suggested for 3-4 people already in a 'bubble')
  • We will have cohorts of 8 people with whom we can share our dining tables with and sit more closely with during classes.
  • Our accommdation/eating cohorts will be based on 6-8 people from the following accommodations - bottom floor Craigcroft, top floor Craigcroft, each cabin will be it's own cohort, campers will be grouped into cohorts and Farmhouse people will be included in one of those cohorts. Some people may already have people that have been in their bubble who they would like to have in their accommodations/eating cohort. I will do my best to put those people together!
  • 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 in late August.
  • 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.