Local fiddle master hosts four-day music camp

By HANNAH JOHNSON – Stillwater Gazette

St. Croix Valley musicians will learn from some of the top musicians in the country next week.

Children and adults attending the June 19-22 Fiddle Pal Camp will learn bluegrass, Canadian, jazz, Appalachian, Irish and blues for fiddle, mandolin, guitar and bass during the camp.

Brian Wicklund, widely regarded as one of the top fiddle teachers in the country hosts the camp. He is sought after as an instructor for fiddle camps and workshops and is the author of the best-selling American Fiddle Method published by Mel Bay. Wicklund is well versed in multiple instruments in addition to the fiddle, including mandolin and guitar.

Wicklund has toured internationally in bands with Stoney Lonesome, Judith Edelman, Kathy Kallick, Lorie Line, the Chris Stuart Band, Brother Mule and currently fronts The Barley Jacks.

The camp is in its fourth year and continues to grow. In the past three years, the camp was in Marine on St. Croix, where Wicklund currently lives, but this year the camp moved to Stillwater to accommodate the growing number of students. More than 100 students have signed up to attend the four-day camp.

"Something that’s unusual about my camp, or makes it really great, is that I’ve taught in so many different camps and I’ve seen a lot of different formats so I think I’ve gleaned kind of the best from all of these different camps and been able to put it into my camp," Wicklund said.

Through working in other festivals Wicklund has built connections with some of the best musicians in the country, whom he features in his own camps.

"We have just absolutely amazing staff. I’ve taught all over the country in lots of different settings and gotten to know a lot of the best players and teachers," he said. "I’ve seen these folks teach and perform in the past so I know who is going to be a good fit for the camp. These are teachers who are super skilled performers and teachers and who just exude fun."

This year’s instructors include fiddlers Lissa Scheckenburger, Megan Gregory and Trevor Krieger, mandolinist Matt Flinner, guitarist Jeff Troxel and bassist Kevin Rowe.

At the end of the four-day camp the instructors will perform in a Fiddle Masters Concert at 8 p.m. Friday at Trinity Lutheran Church, 115 Fourth St. North in Stillwater. Tickets are $18 in advance and $20 at the door. To purchase tickets online visit www.fiddlemastersconcert.eventbrite.com

The Fiddle Pal Camp runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 19-22 and at St. Paul Lutheran Church, 609 Fifth St. South in Stillwater. During the camp students will also be able to participate in a barn dance at the Washington County Historic Courthouse in Stillwater, jams, a beach swim and a soccer game. For pricing information or to register visit www.fidllepal.com/midwest_camp.html