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Take 80 high school age boys, a top notch team of instructors, a dedicated group of counselors and support staff, a weekend at a camp site in the Sierra Foothills and throw them all together with the best music on the face of the earth, Barbershop Harmony, and stand back - it's late September and time for the Northern California Youth Harmony Camp!

Harmony Camp 2018 will be Friday, Sept. 21 to Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018
at the Sly Park Educational Center, 5600 Sly Park Road, Pollock Pines, CA

photo camp 01aDean Gabe Caretto

2018 Harmony Camp will feature Artistic License and Capitol Ring along with clinicians Gabe Caretto (Dean), Ron Black, Chris Lewis, and James Estes. We’re really looking forward to this year; and with your help we’ll have one hundred plus young men at Harmony Camp 2018 in Pollock Pines.

With top level quartets, four top level clinicians, and a hundred young men mixed together for a weekend of barbershop harmony, truly magical things happen during the weekend. And there is so much more that needs communicating about this incredible experience. At Harmony Camp we focus on fundamentals: the fundamentals of vocal singing, proper breathing, and basic posture. Over the weekend the boys experience living in the wonderful world of barbershop harmony Through their learning of four or five songs, learning and singing tags, and participation in the totally positive culture that is barbershop.

An increased emphasis in the Society on musical excellence is fine. We all enjoy and appreciate the fantastic performances of Westminster, Vocal Majority, Masters of Harmony and Ambassadors of Harmony. However, at Harmony Camp, we believe other things are important as well. There are ways of teaching, ways of performing, and ways of approaching barbershop (and all of the arts) that are not based on just that “gold medal” or “first place”. The philosophical underpinnings of Harmony Camp are exhibit #1 for this kind of approach.

“Dean” Gabe Caretto having fun with a “selfie” of him and the boys chorus.“Dean” Gabe Caretto having fun with a “selfie” of him and the boys chorus.


At Harmony Camp we do not focus on the Sunday morning show. Let me repeat that: we do not put a lot of our energies into preparation for the Sunday morning show. We do present a one-hour show on Sunday morning for “friends and family”. We do not use costumes or props. The boys simply sing and have fun showing their parents and friends what they have experienced and learned during this intensive weekend immersion into barbershop harmony and barbershop culture. We liken it to being “hot dipped” in barbershop!

What we have found after some fifteen years of running this camp is that many of these boys will eventually become barbershoppers for life.

<em>Practicing one of the group moves for the show on Sunday.  One of the rare “choreo” moves incorporated for the show.</em>Practicing one of the group moves for the show on Sunday. One of the rare “choreo” moves incorporated for the show.

We also feel that it is very important to expose the boys to the very best talent in the world of barbershop. So our quartet alumni include gold medal champions: Realtime (twice – they asked to come back), OC Times (twice), Vocal Spectrum, Storm Front, Forefront, and Instant Classic.

We also feature four top clinicians instead of just one, as all other camps do, in order to show the boys many different approaches to teaching, directing, and motivating singers on the risers to give their best in singing the songs that they have just learned for the weekend.

It truly is a magical weekend. Why not join us!

Richard Lund
FWD Harmony Camp Director 


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