Nestled in the heart of the historic Little Belt silver mining valley is a “Treasure State” treasure. The friendly community of Monarch is home to the Montana Fiddle Camp. During the first two weeks in June, this picturesque setting rings with laughter and the sweet sound of fiddle music, blended with big blue skies, crystal clear water, and the fresh aroma of mountain spruce. Montana Fiddle Camp brings together a dazzling array of instructors who offer classes and workshops in an intimate and beautiful setting. We offer fiddle, guitar, mandolin, banjo, bass, cello, and contra dancing. Nightly concerts, given by our instructors, are the highlight of the fiddle camp experience.
Montana Fiddle Camp is a division of Montana State Oldtime Fiddlers Association, a 501 (c) 3 non-
Camp is held during the first two weeks in June.
Week 1: June 5-
Week 2: June 12-
Check out the information below for answers to some frequently asked questions.
MONTANA FIDDLE CAMP
Welcome to the Montana Fiddle Camp family! We have compiled this handbook from students’ survey responses and frequently asked questions. We hope that you find some valuable tips to help you navigate the week. We want to help you make the most of your camp experience. Most of all, we want you to have fun!
Montana Fiddle Camp is held in the Little Belt Mountains at St Thomas Church Camp, 4806 Highway 89, mile marker 48. It is between Great Falls and White Sulphur Springs.
Local services include:
• Bob’s Motel and Restaurant (Neihart-
• Inconvenience Store – small grocery, gifts, camping supplies (Neihart)
• Cougar Canyon Lodge and Restaurant (Monarch-
For most services, including gas, you will need to travel to Belt, Great Falls, or White Sulphur Springs.
You can begin arriving any time after 1:00 pm on Saturday. We do understand that you might have a favorite camping spot and want to grab it, but please don’t arrive early! We are very busy getting the camp ready for you.
Saturday meals are not provided, but there are some very good local options. See them under “Location”. Breakfast begins Sunday at 8:00 am.
If you’re coming in on Sunday morning, plan to be in the lodge by 9:30 am for orientation. If you are flying into Great Falls, we can provide you with transportation to and from camp. There will be a round-
You will find the check-
If you are eating meals in the lodge, you will need to check in before breakfast on Sunday morning. You will need your badge to go through the food line.
If you have ANY questions, please ask a staff member. We are designated by a yellow badge.
When arriving with your RV, wait by the flag near the entrance. Our caretaker, Jim Hoxter will have the camping information you provided upon registration. He will guide you to an appropriate spot. Campsites are not pre-
Hookups include power and water only, no sewer. 30-
When arriving, wait by the flag near the entrance. Our caretaker, Jim Hoxter will help you find an appropriate location. There are many sites available for tents, and you will be sure to find one that appeals to you.
You may use the bathroom and shower facilities in the dorms.
If you are using your vehicle as part of your campsite, (food storage, sleeping, etc.) it may remain parked next to your tent.
You may find your dorm before you check in, but please select the dorm for which you registered. We keep a careful head count in each dorm.
• Men’s dorm – Egan Hall
• Women’s dorm – Schuster Hall
• Family dorm – Murphy Hall
Each dorm consists of one large room with bunkbeds, bathroom facilities, and private shower stalls. Bring your own bedding, towels, and toiletries. Because we use all the space available to us, dorms double as classroom space. Please keep your area tidy.
Once you have settled into your space, park your vehicle in the meadow. For your safety, we ask that you comply if you are able-
While we highly encourage campground jamming, some of our students prefer a quieter atmosphere at night. If late-
NAVIGATING THROUGH THE WEEK
• Camp begins on Sunday morning with orientation at 9:30 am in the lodge.
• Classes will begin at 1:30 pm Sunday.
• Camp will conclude with the student concert on Thursday evening.
• Friday morning is simply breakfast and goodbyes.
You can make your class selection once you have heard the instructors’ introductions on Sunday morning. Choose carefully based on your interest and ability. You will have two group classes each day with your chosen instructor. If you find that your first choice is not a good fit, there is a brief ten-
Class locations will be posted on the white board in the lodge on Sunday by 1:00 pm. You can coordinate class locations with the facility map, available at check in.
You will need to bring a chair to your classroom. You may use one from the lodge, but please bring it back at the end of each class. We need them for meals and concerts. You might find it more convenient to bring your own and leave it in your classroom. Label it with your name!
The open workshops are held twice a day and are available to all registered students. They will give you an opportunity to study with different instructors throughout the week.
The back of your schedule coordinates with the workshop white board in the lodge and gives you space for notes. Fiddle instructors are assigned workshop times and locations. Guitar, mandolin, banjo, and cello instructors may choose the additional open spots for workshops. Instructors are asked to post the subject matter before breakfast each day.
Workshop subject matter is widely variable. Instructors often wait until they assess the needs of the camp before deciding on subject matter. Some workshops are based on student requests. Some are non-
Can I get sheet music?
Many of you have requested that instructors provide tab or sheet music in their classes. The use of written music is up to each individual instructor. Many of our instructors teach only in the aural tradition and don’t use a written form. It is not easy to make the transition if you are dependent on written music, but we encourage you to give it a try. For some of us, it has been a process over several years. We find that adding this new skill to our learning process is invaluable. Bring a recorder!
The fire pit is designated as the community jam location. At this venue, everyone is welcome, regardless of ability. We hope to have a designated jam leader each week.
If you’re ready to elevate your jam skills, invite a few like-
The evening dances are held in the lodge each evening after the concert. All are welcome. You don’t need to be a registered student to participate. Our dance caller will teach each dance. No experience required. This is one of our most popular activities at MFC.
If you prefer, you can sit in with the dance band. The tunes are often commonly played tunes. Each tune is repeated many times, so it might be possible to learn on the fly. If you’re a bit unsure of yourself, take a seat in the back and give it a try!
MFC is supported by our in-
The live auction is held on Wednesday night each week, and the silent auction concludes on Thursday night after the student concert.
People often ask for guidelines on auction donations. Our auction coordinator takes any and everything. We never know what will turn up, but it’s always entertaining! And remember, there are no friends in the auction ;) Check with Teri for more information, 406-
We have a good selection of t-
Instructor recordings and instructional materials are also available in the gift shop. Pay the instructors directly. We don’t handle the money for their merchandise.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What about Wi-
There is open Wi-
Cell phone coverage is very sparse. If you have the option of turning on Wi-
Do you take electronic payments?
Yes, we can take electronic payments for remaining balances, gift shop, and auction purchases. You may need cash for instructors’ merchandise or the espresso bar.
Do I get a refund if I cancel?
We will refund your deposit if you cancel before April 1st. Any time after that, we thank you for your donation. If you paid your balance in full, you will receive a refund minus your deposit after April 1st.
Can I bring adult beverages?
MFC is not an alcohol-
I NEED MY COFFEE!
Where can I find it?
Regular coffee is available in the lodge in the morning. Espresso is available, but it is not included with your meal pass.
Can I bring my dog?
If you are staying in an RV or tent, you may bring a dog. Dogs are not allowed if you are staying in the dorms. If your dog is aggressive or unpredictable, we ask that you make other arrangements. You must leash and clean up after your dog.
Can I sell stuff in the gift shop or my own campsite?
No sale of goods and services is allowed except for vendors expressly invited by the MFC staff. If you wish to donate goods or services, please do so through the auction, our in-
See Fred :)
For more information:
Jill – firstname.lastname@example.org
Fred – email@example.com or 406-
The camp rules exist for the safety of all camp residents. Please make sure that all campers in your party are familiar with the rules. If you are chaperoning a minor, you are responsible for enforcing the camp rules.
• Do not climb on the tower.
• Do not cross or stand on the swinging bridge without an adult present.
• Do not walk along the highway without an adult present.
• In case of emergency all dorm residents should meet on the basketball court.
• Wear your badge at all times.
• All vehicles should be parked in the meadow after unloading.
• If you use the fire pit, you may only burn firewood, paper, or cardboard. No trash. Douse the fire completely before leaving the firepit.
• If there is a class or workshop in session in the lodge, take your conversation outside.
• The sound booth area and all sound equipment are off limits to students.
• Stow your personal property in your own space, not in the lodge.
• Our caretaker asks that you do not throw rocks in the pond.
• Be on time for classes and workshops.
• Tune your instrument before class starts.
• NO NOODLING in class.