Portal Irish Music Week 2014. Portal, Arizona. Oct. 9-14, 2014
NOT your average music camp, Portal is a unique combination of intensive, quality time with world-class instructors AND a relaxing retreat in one of the most beautiful and ecologically diverse places on Earth.
Classes emphasize immersion in the music with expert mentoring on technique, style, and musical expression. Small class sizes foster a personal rapport with each instructor. Nightly scheduled sessions and plenty of opportunities for impromptu sessions throughout the week mean you can play as much music as your fingers can stand.
Our staff will be on hand to make sure you have a great experience where all you have to do is play to your heart’s content!
Portal Irish Music Week 2013 was another sweet, intimate success. Easy access to teachers, private lessons, small group classes and the extracurricular activities made for another magic event. Our 2013 Instruction staff has agreed to return for 2014. Stay tuned for the addition of a new instrument.
Check out these testimonials from 2012 and 2013 participants:
From Marilyn, Seattle area advanced fiddler, student of Brian Conway:
- The new schedule was a wonderful idea. Plenty of class time, and then down time to process all that we learned. And the private lesson! No other camp has such a great benefit.
- The informal lectures from the staff were exceptional. I managed to attend most of them, and I really appreciated having the opportunity to get to know the outstanding instructors and to learn more about the culture, the music, the theory, etc. All these things add dimension to the music, context to the enjoyment. The informality was key. I don’t think a formal presentation would have been as successful.
- The evening session playing was such a great opportunity. How often does one ever get to play with such great players? You are surrounded and penetrated by the music. Sometimes I just sat through a tune so that I could hold my fiddle’s body and feel it vibrate to the incredble sound resonating in the room. When I played, my fingers and bow did things I didn’t know I could do, supported by the strength of the group.
- The “slow sessions” were also important to me. It was an opportunity to sit with a smaller group, gain confidence, practice starting tunes, play at a more moderate speed, and offer support to others in return for theirs.
- Finally, I really appreciated having the camp in Portal with it’s great natural beauty and sense of human community. There was everything that Mitch and Loni did to make the week a success. They really worked hard with such a crowd that was going from early in the morning to late at night. Just covering all the extra hours must have been a challenge, but they were there for us. The whole community came together to support the camp in one way or another, with natural history, biodiversity, bug tours, nature hikes, bird and animal sightings, attending the concert, etc.
From Elric, beginner mandolin player and student of Marla Fibish:
This was my first “music camp” but I’m convinced that I got really lucky and fell into a great camp on my first try … and undoubtedly this camp is the one with the most personable and capable directors and instructors! The warm, relaxed, and informal atmosphere of this camp was just a wonderful experience for me. And to paraphrase Brian’s comments Tuesday evening, I can’t imagine a greater place in the country to hold such a camp. It is a truly unique setting.
Listening to so much really good Irish music was the real highlight and motivation for me. It was pretty clear from day one that I was by far the least experienced (as well as oldest!) student there and I obviously wasn’t as well prepared as the others to take full advantage of the morning classes and the afternoon “learning sessions” and evening “slow sessions”, but I did come away with some outstanding one-on-one coaching and some really useful practice tips, and plenty of recorded practice tunes, and several recorded sessions, which I can listen to repeatedly and hopefully I’ll eventually learn some of those tunes by ear. Actively participating in the camp music making and absorbing the instruction was harder for me than I expected (thus I got some needed calibration!) but the informal Portal “camp” atmosphere and all the friendly helpful people and all the great music were actually much more than I anticipated. I was a little deflated and depressed after the first “camp” day last Friday when I felt so inadequate, but at the end of 5 days of inspiring, demanding, but fun “camp” activities I was feeling much better and had gotten back much of my optimism!
Thanks again for the way you two personally “set the tone” for the Portal camp.
Registration for 2014 will be up and running in Spring! Mark your calendar. Class sizes are limited.
The 2013 Tee-Shirts are for sale on our CafePress page HERE