The name Calvin Vollrath is synonymous with Canadian fiddle music. He taught at the 1st fiddle camp in Canada from it’s inception sponsored by the 'Saskatchewan Cultural Exchange Society' at Emma Lake Saskatchewan and when that fiddle camp ceased to exist, Calvin felt it was time to host his own camp.
2007 saw the inaugural “Calvin Vollrath Fiddle Camp” in the hamlet of St. Edouard Alberta. A very small community about 200 kms northeast of Edmonton. Population around 100.
In 2011, for the 5th Annual Camp, the name was changed to ‘Camp Calvin’. The atmosphere was magical & electric. In 2012, the camp was extended to 2 weeks; 2 separate weeks and quite a number of students stayed for both.
2016 saw the 10th anniversary of Camp Calvin and we look forward to another 10 wonderful years. In 2017, the camp began a new decade in St. Paul Alberta at the Portage College and we hoped to make that our home for the next 10 years. However in 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic threw a wrench in our plans but that didn't stop us, we simply went virtual on the Zoom platform. We had so much in July 2020, for the first time a winter camp in January of 2021 was offered.
With the ongoing pandemic, the summer camp of July 2021 was once again held virtually since restrictions still did not allow for gatherings. With the success of those three virtual camps, a 4th virtual camp was held in January 2022. It was our hope that the summer camp of 2022 would be held in person back at Portage College in St. Paul with the option of a virtual component. But with restrictions lifted, students were busy with other events and catching up on 2 years of missed opportunities and registration numbers didn't warrant that the camp be held therefore it was cancelled. A 5th virtual camp was held in January 2023.
Quality instruction is offered in fiddle, piano and guitar. We hold a variety of workshops throughout the week, all with high caliber, award winning instructors & musicians from across Canada. Students from the age of 8 - 80 take part each year at various levels.
Browse around the site. You'll find lots of information, pictures, videos, registration forms, testimonials from past participants, a guest book, & all kinds of things fiddle related.
It's a Wrap!
Well the 2020 edition of Camp Calvin is in the books! What almost ended up being a cancelled event, turned out to be a modified event and for the first time, went virtual. Students who always aspired to attend Camp Calvin finally could, all from the comfort of their own homes from across Canada, the USA and Scotland, thanks to technology and the ZOOM platform.
As a result of the online format, the schedule was modified due to the fact that only one class was able to happen at a time, thereby giving the students the opportunity to participate in ALL the classes, and many did! In a physical camp, fiddlers hang with fiddlers and accompanists hang with their own. In a virtual setting, students could hang with everyone.
The schedule was made up so fiddle classes happened in the mornings (for those living in the west) and accompanists classes in the afternoon, giving students a half day of instructions if they were only participating in one class. In between, we held an instructor led jam session for all. Two levels of instructions were given in fiddle, piano, guitar which were Nov/Int & Int/Adv and all classes were 45 mins with a 15 min break between.
Our roster of instructors included our camp alumni's Calvin, Mark Sullivan, Daniel Gervais, Craig MacGregor, Kimberley Holmes and returning after several years Patti Kusturok.
The one bonus of this virtual camp is that all lessons were recorded and have been shared with the students. A lasting effect. So much so, that new students are still registering and you can too. Once we receive your registration and fee, we will send you the links to the video lessons. Go to the REGISTRATION tab above.
We are extremely pleased on the results of this year's camp and the positive comments we have received in the Evaluations. We suspect we will look at doing another virtual camp again. Perhaps a mid-winter camp? Perhaps this will be the new normal of Camp Calvin?
Thanks to Covid-19, we were forced to be creative and find new solutions and we hit it out of the park on this one. Who knew going virtual could be so much fun. Thanks to all the students who participated and made it what what it was. We thoroughly enjoyed hanging with you for the week. We'll look forward to 2021 and see what that has in store for us.
Until then Stay Safe everyone and we hope to see YOU in 2021!
Calvin & Rhea
For the 2nd time, Camp Calvin was held virtually in July 2021 due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic for the 15th annual music camp. And once again, proved to be a huge success despite the online aspect. Students from around the world were able to participate on the Zoom platform.
The online format remained the same with only one class being offered at a time giving all students the opportunity to participate in ALL classes. Thanks to our instructors Calvin, Mark Sullivan, Daniel Gervais & April Verch on fiddle, Kimberley Holmes on piano and for this camp, guitar classes were handled by Calvin & Mark sharing the duties. However, a shoulder injury after the first day rendered Calvin unable to complete his 2nd class, therefore Mark handled the guitar class for the next three days. For the first time in CC history, a dedicated mandolin class was held with Mike Sanyshyn teaching.
With the success of those two virtual summer camps, it was decided to host a winter camp and so in January 2021 & 2022, another group of dedicated Camp Calvinators from around the world joined in for another four days of musical fun & lots of learning. And to accommodate students in school, these camps were held from Saturday - Tuesday to allow weekend learning, with an option to sign up for 2-days or 4 days.
For these winter camps, fiddle was handled by Calvin, Daniel, April and we invited Brian Hebert to the virtual format. Our favorite piano instructor Kimberley Holmes was back. In January 2021, Craig McGregor handled the guitar class but in January 2022, we were pleased to welcome for the first time at camp, Skip Holmes.
We hope to see you IN PERSON in summer 2022, it's been too long!!
Calvin & Rhea
Update: Unfortunately, the summer camp of 2022 was not held as registration numbers didn't warrant it. With Covid-19 restrictions now lifted, students had two years of summer events to catch up on and other activities to do and we completely understood that.
For the 5th virtual time, Camp Calvin was held in January 2023 and again, we had a great time hanging online with Camp Calvinators.
For this 5th virtual camp, only instruction in fiddle & piano were offered with Calvin, Brian Hebert, April Verch & for the first time Ivonne Hernandez on fiddle and Kimberley Holmes on piano. For the first time in the history of Camp Calvin, we did not offer a guitar class.
Calvin & Rhea
End of an Era
In 2023, the difficult decision was made to end the ‘physical’ summer Camp Calvin as it was known. While it was always intended to last 20 years, until 2026, a change in venue after 10 years and the Covid pandemic changed those plans. However, it's been a great 15 year run!
Other activities are being explored as it is not the end of Camp Calvin, only a change in direction. The Virtual ‘Winter’ Camp Calvin in January and the CV TOW throughout the year will continue. Stay tuned as new learning opportunities are developed.
Thank you to all our instructors for sharing your time & talent with us. Thank you to all the participants/students that attended, we couldn't of done it without you. We will meet again… not sure where, not sure when! In the meantime, keep on fiddlin'!