By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News
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As many as 75 young musicians from all over the Pacific Northwest hone their talents with the help of top instrumentalists at the annual jazz camp, and camp coordinator Bud Critchfield encouraged the public to check out the young hepcats while the camp is swinging.
Named after a Louis Armstrong song, Camp Heebie Jeebies runs from Sunday through July 12 this year, with faculty concerts planned each evening at about 6 p.m. or 6:30 p.m.
The students will perform a big band evening concert Friday, July 12.
Admission to the performances are free, but Critchfield advised early arrival as parking at Camp David Jr. is very limited.
“It's a great deal for people who love to hear good music, but it's an even better deal for the kids,” Critchfield said. “It's a tremendous thing for them.”
The students break out into seven smaller Dixieland-style bands, Critchfield said, and join to form two big bands for the big show.
“It is just incredible, I tell you,” Critchield said. “You can come out at any time and hear music.”
Instructor Craig Buhler said he is “thrilled to see young people grow in confidence, communication skills, organizational ability and spontaneity.
“Anyone attending Camp Heebie Jeebies will come away from the five days richer for the experience.”
But it may be able to serve fewer of those kids, as an endowment from the Jazz in the Olympics Society that paid the $575 camp price for some of the 40 students from the North Olympic Peninsula who attended the camp has run out of funds.
Donations from several other organizations filled the gap this year for the local students.
The out-of-town students, Critchfield said, are all sponsored by their local jazz societies. The Jazz in the Olympics Society dissolved three years ago.
A typical day at Camp Heebie Jeebies begins with a full breakfast at 7:45 a.m. and continues with a 50-minute theory class at 8:45 a.m.
At 9:45 a.m. is a two-hour traditional band rehearsal, followed by lunch with entertainment from noon to 12:45 p.m., sectionals at 1 p.m. and improvisation for front-line players at 1:40 p.m.
Big-band rehearsals are scheduled one after another from 2:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.
After dinner at 8:30 p.m., the students have jam sessions.
Donations to the camp are tax-deductible.
For more information, call Critchfield at 360-582-3082 or see campheebiejeebies.us or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at email@example.com.