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Basic Level Bluegrass Jam Camp

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Taught by Harry Gambrill using the Wernick Method*

Silver Bay, NY at the Silver Bay YMCA Conference Center

87 Silver Bay Road, Silver Bay NY 12874

August 21-26, 2022

Assisted by Tom Behan

Tuition: $460

$10 off through April 21. $100 deposit holds your spot; 50% refundable for cancellations more than one month in advance.

Though Silver Bay now has online booking options, if booking for Bluegrass Camp please instead call Silver Bay’s Reservations Team at 518-543-8415 for the favorable group rate. Rates include all meals. Call anytime and get a call back during business hours.

All participants and their guests must provide same-day negative test results.

Until further notice, all Wernick Method classes will be conducted either outdoors or in very well-ventilated indoor spaces.

In 2022 we will have two concurrent camps:

Basic Camp (this camp)Level 2 (directed by Pete Wernick)
QualificationsAbility to change chords smoothly between G, C, D, A (or the notes that work on bass and fiddle)Experience with bluegrass jamming; able to play in more than one key; able to follow guitar chord changes; willing/able to lead songs; know basic chord number system and jam etiquette
Tempos60-95 beats/minuteRanging over 100 beats/minute
SingingPlease try!Ability to sing melodies accurately is expected; harmony singing taught to those who can learn and “hold” a harmony part most of the time
SoloingMinimal “placeholder” soloing taught, and acceptable; more advanced soloing taught but not requiredWilling/able to fake passable solos (exceptions: bass players and rhythm-only guitar players). Melody-based solos are the standard, so we try for that; ability to find melody notes by ear is expected
PerformingNo performing expectedPerformance opportunity (expected but optional); some performance coaching; extra coaching available for bands
Night ActivitiesAttendance welcome at all nighttime activitiesOpen to participate in open mic and karaoke
If you’re not sure if you qualify, write Pete regarding your skills in these areas.

Both camps will have the same hours. Sunday evening following dinner is an informal kickoff get-together for all. Classes and coached jamming run Monday-Friday 9-5 daily, in separate but close-by locations at Silver Bay.

The Level 1 camp (this camp) is lower challenge than the Level 2 camp in levels of skill and speed, allowing an experienced player to take a more prominent role in the Level 1 jam groups. Experienced jammers are sometimes grouped together. We accept students for the Level 1 camp while on a waitlist for Level 2. If a Level 2 slot opens, they can switch camps.


Stately 700-acre Y Camp on the shores of Lake George, est. 1902

For accommodations reservations, call 518-543-8415 or email reservations@silverbay.org.

Call any time… Your message left will get a callback during the next business hours. The Silver Bay reservations team will help you with housing choices and all info.


We are sometimes able to grant scholarships for some or all of tuition and possible housing A scholarship is available for a bass player for the Level 2 camp, or for any instrument in the Level 1 camp. It covers full tuition and about half of housing/meal expense. People under 25 and service veterans are especially encouraged to apply. To donate or apply, write to Pete.

Applicants should give their age, instrument(s) played, and experience and goals in bluegrass, and a short statement of their financial need. Applications must be received by June 22 and applicants will be notified by June 27.

Harry Gambrill was bit by the bluegrass bug early and began playing the banjo at age twelve. He plays banjo with regional bluegrass band The Jersey Corn Pickers. Harry also plays the bass, dobro, and guitar, and has been giving lessons for over 20 years.

Harry’s students say:

“You can see the passion that he has for both teaching and playing music. Very friendly, very welcoming and very knowledgeable.”
“Great class…very challenging, but fun!”
“Harry was a helpful and encouraging teacher, even though I am a rank beginner.”
“A wonderful experience. I would highly recommend Harry’s class to anyone trying to learn the basics of bluegrass jamming.”

Tom Behan teaches and performs in the Capital District area of Upstate NY and has been playing the guitar and banjo for over 40 years. He currently holds down the guitar and lead vocal spot with the High Peaks Bluegrass Band based in Saratoga Springs. Tom has been successfully teaching guitar and banjo to children and adults for over 20 years, including a Beginning Bluegrass Guitar Workshop at the Saratoga Library.

Tom’s students say:

“A welcoming and enthusiastic person with a positive teaching style. His infectious passion for interesting music leaves me with handfuls of material to analyze and be inspired by.”
“Tom was friendly and flexible and provided a welcoming environment.”
“Tom was great. I have months worth of great material to work on, well fitted to my level.”
“I really liked Tom as a teacher. He’s a great guitar player and singer as well.”
“I like Tom’s positive upbeat attitude.”

Click any photo to enlarge.

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