Vinterton in Sundsvall

For the last long-weekend of my Xmas break, I took the train up to Sundsvall to join in a short 3-day music camp for “youth” (and whoever-all else wants to come). Thanks to Amy Parker for the idea, and for introducing me to a veritable flock of friendly folk musician friends. It was quite entertaining to discover what felt like an entire town where everyone knows Amy; she has spent considerable time there ever since meeting up with Gun-Britt during their year in the fiddle course at the Malung folk school in the ’90s.

Gun-Britt is the able organizer of Vinterton — and evidently of much of the rest of the folk scene in Sundsvall — and her prompt reply to my initial inquiry had said, yes, you should come! but BTW the camp doesn’t include housing or anything so you should come stay with me! By the time I got there, she’d also said yes to several rounds of visiting family, and things were getting a little complicated over there. She kept me for the first night anyway so that we would still get to hang out together, and I met the set of family that was already there. Then the next morning when we drove into town — the day’s programming sensibly starts at noon — we shifted me over to stay right in town with Lasse and Eva. So I was adopted by two households in only 4 days, and felt very well taken care of indeed.

I’d missed the first day of an only three-day camp, but things went fine all the same. My schedule for each afternoon included a singing session with everyone, a fiddle group class with Emma Ahlberg, a fika break, an ensemble class (mine had fiddles, guitars, drums, recorder, oboes, bassoon, a bass) with Magnus Andersson and Emma, a dinner break, another fiddle group class (only my first day, with Camilla Andersson), and a playing session with everyone. The first evening there was a dance, and the second evening there was a final concert. I missed a large percentage of the dance because that turned out to be my only chance to get to play some tunes with Agneta (despite the fact that she lives in Sundsvall and we’d both been in Göteborg for Jul), and I didn’t want to miss that.

The final concert was quite a production, with the entire camp crammed onto the stage for much of the time, but things came together remarkably well for such a brief preparation time. It was an energetic program and the audience clearly enjoyed it. I was quite impressed with each of the course leaders — they have a lot of great musicians and teachers up in that part of the world!

Plus, I found Sundsvall quite charming. And I loved being able to make new connections and talk with all my new friends entirely in Swedish. So I will certainly be heading back that-a-way again.

I’m afraid I don’t have any photos from my group classes, because I already felt like enough of an imposition showing up late and not knowing people (a lot of the kids have been going to camp together for years) and whatnot, so I didn’t want to be even weirder by waving a camera around.

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