AlgomaTrad 2020 Virtual Camp – It Worked!
Thanks to AlgomaTrad Board Members and a stellar committee, the AlgomaTrad 2020 Virtual Camp was a roaring success! The Virtual Camp was able to create the sense of community and connection that is at the root of all things AlgomaTrad through the hard work and commitment of many amazing volunteers and a group of talented and passionate artists! While nothing can replace the intense experience and magic of the the annual Family Camp at the AlgomaTrad Centre, registrants and learners were able to connect to a warm and joyful community online in the comfort of their own pandemic hideout.
A special AlgomaTrad 2020 Camp website was set up so registrants could connect to their classes on Zoom through a page of visual images of the AlgomaTrad Centre. There was a community chat room as well so folks could connect with artists and other learners. An online auction and one-of-a-kind t-shirt sales were available to all AlgomaTrad supporters through several public pages on the website.
Over 4 days, the AlgomaTrad 2020 Camp offered classes and electives in: fiddle, tin whistle, guitar, cello, bass, clawhammer banjo, uilleann pipes, highland pipes, ukulele, singing, English concertina, Québécois and Ottawa Valley step dance, music production, calling contras and squares, growing your own food, fibre arts, community arts, plant-based cooking, pyrography (woodburning), blacksmithing demos, intro to birding, stitchin’ in the kitchen, and a daily children’s songs and stories period. Recordings of all classes were available to all registrants at the end of camp. A huge shout out goes to this year’s heritage arts and community arts instructors and workshop leaders, Miranda Bouchard, Tuija Hanson, Denis Frechette, and Ruth Howard and Jumblies Theatre; to young children singers/storytellers Shifra Cooper and her sidekick Dad, Stephen; to other workshop leaders who gave of their time – Stephen Biggs (grow your own food), Carter Dorscht, Kensington Conservancy (birding), Zach Lefebvre (woodburning), Maria Theresa Gregory (Yoga); and to volunteer music workshop leaders Cate Sandstrom (Irish Fiddle) and Paul McClelland(pipes and whistle).
Each day started out with Yoga and a Gathering featuring piping, announcements, tunes, and learning the Camp song. A camp song video was premiered on YouTube during camp. It was produced by 2020 Camp Committee leader and Camp director Sarah Fleming, with music by Ian Bell, Kyle Burghout and James Stephens, lyrics by Ian and AlgomaTrad Staff and Alumni, sound mixing by James Stephens, and featured a huge cast of singers and musicians, It was nothing short of tear-inducingly beautiful and joyful!! You can still see it HERE.
Concerts by staff members were premiered on YouTube over 3 evenings. Artists featured were:Kyle Burghout, Ian Robb and James Stephens, Sophie Lavoie and Fiachra O’Regan, Martha Cooper and Sam Allison, Ian Bell, Kerry Fitzgerald and Alanna Jenish Louis Schryer and Andy Webster, Martine Billette, Joseph Phillips and Shane Cook, and The O’Schraves (Julie Schryer, Pat O’Gorman, Zach Lefebvre, Benoit Lefebvre, Áine Schryer O’Gorman). Concerts are still available on the AlgomaTrad YouTube channel…Click HERE.
Other evening offerings included a live session broadcast on Zoom from the AlgomaTrad Centre Dining Hall. Session leaders were able to see attendees projected on a large screen and requests were taken. A variety night (which the Camp production crew at the Centre watched on a big screen in the Pavilion!) and an online euchre tournament filled out the evening programs…FUN!!
The online auction raised an amazing $5700, proceeds of which were split between the Nicholas Missere Bursary Fund, a needs-based fund to help families and individuals take part in programs and events, and the AlgomaTrad Centre Building & Maintenance Fund. T-shirt sales were brisk and also helped out the bottom line…and they look super cool as well!!
Artistic Directors Julie Schryer and Pat O’Gorman and all the Board would like to thank: all the wonderful Virtual Campers who supported the camp this year (despite your misgivings about online learning…); all the amazing donors who supported artist fees and the auction – your giving was a big part of the Camp’s financial success; all the artists who gave so much of themselves; our chefs Jane Wildman and Hannah Lee Lawrence and their crews for their care and tasty support; and, especially, Sarah Fleming and her voluntolds, Vince and Lucas Candelino, and the members of the Committee: Barb Willougby, Mary Schneider, Sylvie Tremblay, Joyce Ervin, Kyle Burghout, James Stephens, and Karen Spector and Gary Bloch. YOU ALL MADE IT HAPPEN!