News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

SFF to host creativity camps

Registration is open for Sisters Folk Festival’s (SFF) in-person music and creativity camps for middle and high school-aged students taking place this summer at the Sisters Art Works building.

The day camps will be held outdoors and are an expansion of the successful camps that took place in 2020 during the pandemic. This year, SFF is doubling their offerings from two to four week-long camps and working with local/regional teaching artists to create these stand-alone, fun-filled sessions of creativity, music, and self-expression.

Seed to Sprout Camp, July 19-23, is for players with minimal previous music experience on their chosen acoustic instrument. Instructors will provide songs that can be played with the most basic common chords and short, easy-to-learn melodies to memorize. There will be opportunities to try other instruments as well, providing real-life experience of what each different “noise machine” can offer. Most of the jamming will be in one large group, with each player providing the basic role of their unique instrument to a particular song.

Joe Schulte, mandolin player and band leader from Moon Mountain Ramblers, Cascade School of Music, and String Theory Music School in Bend, will teach the course, with support from multi-instrumentalist Conner Bennett. This session is open to students going into grades 6-10.

Build A Band, August 2-6, is a five-day immersion into arranging favorite songs, forming ensembles, and jamming together. Designed for students entering grades 8-12 who are instrumentalists, singers, or songwriters in all musical genres, this experience will offer an inclusive opportunity for musicians to get together to collaborate, learn, and share with one another while making music together.

Each day, professional musicians Jenner Fox, Cuchulain Kelly, and Natalie Akers will guide and play along as campers mix, match, and arrange songs. All instruments (voice included) and all genres are welcome.

The Nature of Expression: A Creativity Camp, August 16-20, will explore art, music, creative writing and nature. Led by songwriter-poet Beth Wood and teaching artist Judy Fuentes, campers will investigate animals and nature through sounds and color. Students will explore storytelling and self-expression through art, creative writing, and music. Campers will create stories, melodies, songs, and poems, and use colors, forms, and words to create book art, rain sticks, and a unique talisman/power animal.

Each day will include immersion into both visual arts and creative writing, as well as time for reflection and making new friends. The goal is to have fun with many forms of creative expression through awareness, discovery, and play. This camp is open to students going into grades 5-8.

Branch to Fruit Camp, August 23-27, is for players who are comfortable on their acoustic instrument and relatively fluid in the common major and minor chords found in popular music. In addition to playing together as a large group, this camp will break out into some small group ensemble sessions in which two to four players will work out tunes that may include custom song arrangement, individual solos, harmonies, and improvisation. Branch to Fruit is open to students going into grades 8-12.

Class size is limited to 20 students per camp, and registration fees are based on a “pay what you can afford” model, with scholarship support available through SFF. For registration, visit or call 541-549-4979.


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