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August 11-15, 2010
Hyatt Regency Hotel
Cleveland, OH

Drum Fantasy Camp wrapped up its fourth annual event on August 15, 2010.

The 2010 teaching staff included Peter Erskine, Tommy Igoe, Thomas Lang, Jojo Mayer, and Dave Weckl. Additional classes included drummer Joe Goretti's "Career Course" and a valuable class with world-class sound engineer Dennis Moody. Musicians Baron Browne (bass), Chrissi Poland (keys/vocals), and Vinny Valentino (guitar), who ran the nightly jams, also ran a groove workshop.

The first day was a busy one. Beginning at 8:00 a.m., the crew unloaded and unpacked gear from a completely full 16-foot truck. Drums, hardware, cymbals, rugs, and electronics were systematically laid out on the House of Blues stage.

By 9:00 a.m., most of the travel-weary instructors had arrived to help assemble, position, and tune their kits. Meanwhile, sound engineer Dennis Moody directed the House of Blues staff as they set up microphones and fired up the venue's impressive sound system.

By 11:00 a.m., all five drumsets were completely assembled, tuned, and soundchecked. A pretty amazing feat! The instructors took a break for lunch while eager campers and local drummers filed in for the clinic.

At Noon, the clinic began with each drummer walking on stage and playing a short solo. Once all the drummers were on stage, they played together briefly before sitting down to begin the discussion. For the next two and a half hours, the five instructors engaged in a discuss that ran the gamut - from ideas about technique and practice routines to applications in music, education, and careers in the industry.

At the end, the instructors once again played together, closing out a compelling three-hour afternoon session.

While the instructors spent time talking to the attendees and signing autographs, the crew got back to work, setting up for the evening concert. Mike Stern and Tom Kennedy arrived at 3:30 p.m. and began setting up. Shortly thereafter, the drummers returned to the stage to soundcheck with the band and rehearse a bit.

At 6:00 p.m., doors to the House of Blues reopened. Hundreds of eager fans filled the beautiful venue. Then, at 7:00 p.m., the band took the stage to a rousing applause.

Dave Weckl accompanied the band for a 60-minute set. Dave tours with Mike throughout the year, so this set the table for the second set, when each of the other drummers took the stage for a song and solo.

Each drummer was brilliant. With little preparation, their professionalism shined through with relaxed and creative performances and exciting solos. The crowd loved Mike Stern's blend of jazz, funk, rock, and blues. Plus - his enthusiasm for the show was infectious.

At the end, all five drummer played together - trading solos and bringing down the house in a grand finale. An amazing night!

The next four days saw each drummer moving into his own classroom and teaching two three-hour master classes per day. Campers moved from class-to-class, experiencing each instructor throughout the camp. The classes explored a myriad of concepts and were very interactive.

In the evenings, campers gathered for nightly jams, taking turns playing with Baron, Chrissi, and Vinny. The band played a wide repertoire, allowing drummers to choose songs that made them comfortable.

The drumming instructors were generous during the jams - watching the performances and also jumping in to accompany the campers on percussion. Each camper got an encouraging pat-on-the-back after their song.

The instructors also took turns jamming with the band. Some highlights included Peter Erskine playing "The Chicken," Tommy Igoe trading solos with Thomas, Jojo, and Dave, and a fun "duel" with Thomas and Dave with antics that had everyone laughing.

The camp closed out with a concert at Nighttown restaurant in Cleveland Heights. Peter Erskine joined Baron, Chrissi, and Vinny for a night of wide-ranging music. Peter tore it up, while Chrissi showed her stunning and complex vocal range. Baron locked in with Peter for some great moments, and Vinny led the way with his blend of jazz and funk.

The concert closed out another fantastic year at Drum Fantasy Camp. It was one for the ages...

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