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August 9-13, 2012
Hyatt Regency Hotel
Cleveland, OH

2012 was another great year for Drum Fantasy Camp! Campers came from 15 countries, including India, Australia, Brazil, the UK, and many more! We also welcomed several new faces to our lineup of instructors and performers!

The camp opened on August 9, 2013, with an afternoon clinic. This followed several hours of setup and sound checking. More than a dozen campers came early to help with the load-in and to also get an inside view of how a large concert comes together. Event coordinator Paul Kelly did an amazing job of pulling everyone together - setting up in record time!

At Noon, Keith Carlock, Peter Erskine, Will Kennedy, Steve Smith, and Dave Weckl walked on-stage and performed individual solos followed by a group piece, and then a roundtable discussion. Keith and Will were new to the camp - and they added so much to the conversation and performance!

Will is a very inspiring person. He puts so much passion into everything he does! Everyone in the audience responded to his enthusiasm and sage advice!

Keith's unique style was especially compelling to the audience. His groove and dynamics are amazing. When asked about his dedication to healthy eating and exercise, Keith touched the audience by explaining how being a new father has been such an inspiration. The camp crew can vouch for that; we caught him coming out of the hotel gym shortly after arriving, despite a hectic trip by way of Japan!

One highlight of the day: an appearance from the legendary Vic Firth! Vic attended the whole first day and also some classes and the jam on our second day.

Accompanied by Joe Testa, director of artist relations, Vic inspired everyone with wisdom, humor, and class. Thanks so much to Vic for attending!

The three-hour clinic ended with an incredible drum piece performed by all five instructors.

At 7:30 p.m., guitarist and music director Vinny Valentino brought out an all-star band featurnig John Benitez (bass), Josh Dion (vocals/keys/drums), and Oli Rockberger (keys/vocals). The band proceeded to put on an amazing and diverse concert for a nearly-full House of Blues, right across from the hotel.

Each drummer took a turn jamming with the band and also soloing for the enthusiastic crowd. A highlight of the evening: the closing piece, Steely Dan's "Aja," featuring the duo of Steely Dan Alumni Keith Carlock and Peter Erskine! The band didn't miss a hit, and neither did these drummers - trading drum fills and bringing the audience to its feet! A video of the song will appear on this page soon.

The next four days featured two master classes per day with the drumming instructors. With 15 attendees to a room, topics and discussions were intimate and interactive. Most classes included lecturing, playing, and plenty of intense discussion.

Retired percussionist Bill Platt (the Cincinnati Symphony) joined Peter Erskine's class, focusing on hand technique. As always, he and Peter made a great team!

Will Kennedy kept spirits high - getting each of his students grooving and focusing on serious dynamics! He also kept everyone laughing! When an attendee did something he liked, he would run to the door of his room, push it open, and yell into the hallway: "IT'S GETTIN' FUNKY IN HERE!!"

Of course, Will's class was right next to Dave Weckl's class. So, after Will ran back into his room, Dave would emerge from his room trying to figure out what happened! Will eventually took his class down to Dave's room, opened the door, and yelled this for Dave in person! It was one of the funnier moments we've seen at the camp!

During three of the evenings, campers attended our legendary jam nights! Bassist John Benitez, singer/keyboardist/drummer Josh Dion, and guitarist Vinny Valentino formed the jam night band. Armed with dozens of rock, jazz, and funk tunes, the band and our attendees jammed for hours!

Each night, campers were called to the stage by MC William Wolkoff. Each of our instructors took turns playing with the band either on drums and percussion. Some highlights of the jams included an ambient Indian piece that featured Will Kennedy, Arun Kumar, and Steve Smith (right). Dave Weckl did duets with Will, Peter Erskine, Keith Carlock, and Steve Smith!

Campers had an amazing time playing with pro musicians and also watching their instructors take the stage!

On the last night, campers went to Cleveland's Nighttown restaurant for a very special performance of the Jeff Coffin band. The band featured drummer "Futureman" Roy Wooten (Bela Fleck) and Felix Pastorius (The Yellowjackets).

Everyone had a great time and Felix was kind enought to pose for a photo with our campers! A great closing to another amazing week at Drum Fantasy Camp...

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More Information

drumFantasy.12 Videos
Peter Erskine and Keith Carlock
Perform Steely Dan's "Aja"
featuring John Benitez, Josh Dion, Oli Rockberger,
and Vinny Valentino

Duet: Dave Weckl and Keith Carlock
featuring John Benitez, Josh Dion,
and Vinny Valentino

Konnakol Morsing Drumset Jam
Featuring Arun Kumar, Steve Smith, Will Kennedy, Vinny Valentino, John Benitez, and Dave Weckl