Every day was chock-a-block with music and food. Afternoon time set aside for private lessons gave the rest of us time to practice, take excursions, or catch up on much-needed sleep.


Daily sessions were of three types:

  • The entire group, as pictured here, to play tunes or hear lectures on music theory, Scottish culture, history, etc.
  • Smaller self-selected groups of "slower" or "faster" players (I'm in the slow group) to introduce tunes either by ear or by sight-reading.
  • Individual lessons. Each student had a half-hour lesson with David and with Melinda. How to approach these sessions varied with the student, but I always came with a specific question about something we had covered in the group lessons, e.g., techniques to make the fiddle sound more like a bagpipe or how to pick the most effective phrasing for an air.

Dan Perttu

Dan gets a half-hour each year (FAR too little!) to discuss aspects of music theory. This year he reviewed devising accompaniments for tunes. This is valuable information for those of us who may not be able to play as fast as others. Even if a slower player, such as myself, can't keep up with lightening-fast reels, we can add musically by playing a compatible accompaniment.


As mentioned above eating is a major feature of the week. The cafeteria provides a varied and tasty menu. There are several groups on campus during the week (Strathgheny, swim camp, pole-vaulting camp, science camp, etc.) and each group is assigned a time to come in. If you arrive promptly with your group time, you probably won't have long to wait. If you are late and get mixed in with another group....

These two ladies are long-time friends from upstate New York, both named Mo! They belong to a Scottish fiddling group near their homes.


We were the first group scheduled this year and always grab the three long tables in the middle. By the time all the various groups have arrived, the cafeteria is pretty crowded.

Strathgheny Bothy

Strathgheny always has a bothy. In our case it is a dsignated townhouse where we can gather for music jams or for communal events such as the Burns night described below.

The bothy is always an end-unit and the adjacent house is kept empty so late-night jammers can be as enthusiastic as they want without worrying about disturbing others.

Snacks are always available.


Each evening has a special event. A favorite is the Burns night with David's special haggis. Although some Burns celebrations can be formal, ours is always characterized by hilarity.

David makes a good veggie haggis as well.

Another traditional event is movie night. This year we saw The Water Horse -- a charming tale about a Nessie type of crypto-creature and the boy who befriends it.

Address to a Haggis

But back to the Burns night.

David does an enthusiastic rendition of Burns' Address to a Haggis. Using a plastic knife for slicing the haggis takes away a bit o' the drama, but adds to the jollity.

Haggis is traditionally served with Scotch whisky, or "gravy" as it is called by one of our number. Since our school is on a college campus and since the students include minors, there is a limitation on libation.


After the haggis is shared around, Melinda engages us in various silly riffs on Burns' poetry. I'm sure traditionalists would be horrified, but we have more fun than they do -- and without the "gravy" as lubricant.

Just about every night there will be a jam in the bothy after whatever group event is scheduled. Many people come to play and some come to listen. This year we even had group lessons on how to best participate in a jam! They were very useful.

Fireside jam

The tradition of the last night is to jam at Melinda and Dan's home. Melinda warns the neighbors and we sit out by the fire pit and have a good time.

We were happy that Meredith could come to our final concert and then join us for the jam. She recently received her masters in Scottish traditional fiddling at Glasgow and is now teaching in (I think) Michigan. She and Melinda are laying one down for us here.

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