Meet the 2020 Camp O Staff!

We have yet another great line-up at Camp Oo-Koo-Lay-Lay this year, June 3 – 6 at Lake Berryessa. And the best part is, they’re all coming because they want to help make your camp experience the best they possibly can….and have a little fun for themselves, as well.

And so, without  further ado, here is the 2020 Camp Oo-Koo-Lay-lay cast of characters:

You better bring your harmonica, because Catfish Jack Chauvin is coming back! He will be on hand to not only work with beginning ukulele players, but to also encourage anyone hoping to expand their instrumental repertoire, without breaking the bank, with an instrument you can carry in your pocket. Catfish joined us at the Kernville ‘Ukulele Blues and Harp Fest and Camp O a few years back and we all agreed that his encouragement and generosity gave all who chose to venture into the world of harmonica, a safe place to try sound like a train!

“I hear that train a coming…’s coming ’round the bend……”

Speaking of trains. . . . .Gary Peare caught the ‘ukulele bug when he was 20-years-old, living on a train, traveling and performing as a clown with the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus! He started teaching ‘ukulele in 2009 and has since received certification as a Level 3 James Hill Ukulele Initiative (JHUI) ukulele instructor and has taught there, as well. ”  Gary embraces the practice of “stealth teaching,” that is teaching his students basic music literacy and its relationship to the ‘ukulele without the students even knowing it. And, who can forget “Elmer Fudd Plays the Ukulele at last year’s camp?

Rhan Wilson is an award-winning teacher and performer and author of All in Good Time: A Book About Playing Music for the Aspiring Ukulele Musician. He also brings nearly 50 years of music study and passion along with him and he was recently voted “Best Music Instructor” in Santa Cruz County. In addition to teaching privately, Rhan has conducted workshops at the West Coast ‘Ukulele Retreat, UC Santa Cruz, the Sebastopol Uke Festival, Bend’s Uke U., Burning Uke, and Carmel’s Smoldering Uke.  Rhan will be bringing this and much, much more to Camp Oo-Koo-Lay-Lay once again.

Rick Zeek is a man of so many talents, we lost count! (Not the least of which, he helps us get our vocal chords in shape each morning!) Rick, along with Rhan Wilson, leads the “Matthew, Mark, UKE and John” gospel sing-along – a loosely structured workshop/gathering that sings and plays a variety of old and new gospel/inspirational music on Sunday morning, a favorite among all our campers.. And, besides being a song-leader extraordinaire, Rick is a professional stage manager and adds just the right amount of pizzazz to everything he touches, including our camp-fire sing-a-longs. Not only will Rick be helping folks get ready for our Grammy-worthy Open Mic,  we may get him to help us unleash our inner muse’ with a couple of song-writing workshops, as well.

And what would any of these events be without our beloved Dave Egan, who consistently comes out on top in the eyes of his students at the West Coast ‘Ukulele Retreat, Hawai’i Island ‘Ukulele Retreat, and other Ukulele Adventures. (Plus, it turns out he makes a pretty mean pot of chili, as well!) Dave is known as one of the best sound men on the West Coast, but what he really loves to do is teach ‘ukulele, from rank beginners to the hot shots. He has achieved “faith healer” status among those who have taken his workshop on “ukulele ergonomics” and is always paying attention in class and figuring out what he needs to teach his students next. And, even if you’ve had a workshop with Dave in the past, you can count on him always bringing something new to the table.

And I’ll be back, too! I’m Elaine de Man, the one who answers your emails, takes your money, pays the piper, and tries to keep everyone happy. This will be our sixth Camp Oo-Koo-Lay-Lay  I also orchestrated the Wine Country ‘Ukulele Festival, West Coast ‘Ukulele Retreat, Hawai’i Island ‘Ukulele Retreat,  La Semana de Uke-Culinary Fiesta, the New Uke-Culinary Fiesta in Santa Fe, the Kernville Ukulele Blues and Harp Fest and the Yankee Ukulele Invasion of Great Britain. Most recently we’ve taken our Ukulele Adventures to Europe with our extremely fun Ukein’, Bike, & Barge experiences in France, Italy, and the Netherlands. And sometime this Fall, we’ll be going to Cuba to study Cuban ‘Ukulele Rhythms.

My goal is to make wonderful memories for people. I am happiest when working with this crew and seeing people smiling, stepping out of their comfort zones, and realizing their potential.

(I also have a Master’s degree in animal behavior, which comes in handy when herding a large group of itinerant ukulele players. I hope you decide to be one of them.)

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