The 2020 Americana Song Academy for Youth will be held in the fall – stay tuned for updates!
Students are invited to join us for three days of classes and mentoring. Young people from three states and six communities gather to learn and share songs and stories from their hearts and minds.
The Academy provides a non-competitive format for high school youth to learn the basics for songwriting, performing, and overall musicianship from professional musicians and one another. The most important values shared are mutual respect, support and nurturing of one another and each person’s creative journey.
Many thanks to the teachers, volunteers, supporting partners and ASAY patron, Cris Converse.
- The Americana Song Academy for Youth (ASAY) brings high school students together in a non-competitive format to cultivate musicianship, songwriting, and creativity.
- From songwriting to forming bands, to developing a community of like-minded individuals, young people get to share and explore their love for music.
- Over one weekend, students learn from local and regional touring artists what it takes to pursue music on a professional level.
- Many instructors are alumni of the Sisters Americana Project, thus helping to model for young people a tangible pursuit when they get out of high school.
- The program in Sisters acts as the hub in a wheel, and our students generously share their experience and the stage with students from throughout Central Oregon and Pagosa Springs, Colorado.
- The weekend will culminate with Celebration of Song at The Belfry on Sunday, March 3rd. Doors open at 6:30 pm and the concert starts at 7 pm. The concert is free to the public, with a suggested donation at the door.
The Song Academy for Youth is made possible by these generous donations:
Doug was a founding member of the first Sisters Folk Festival house band and an advocate for the ASAY program; he believed in its purpose. Each year the Saturday night Open Mic performance is dedicated to the memory of Doug, which inspires everyone involved to give back and be community-minded. We thank Doug’s sister, Cris Converse for continued support of the Americana Song Academy for Youth.
From Instructor & Musician Jeffery Martin
“I just got back from teaching all weekend in Sisters, Oregon at a music camp for high school students. A handful of instructors and myself (including Anna Tivel) hung out with about 30 students who came to the camp hoping to improve their songwriting, guitar playing, singing, etc. I feel too close to it still to really put into words what it meant to me, but I’ll just say this for now: I wish that every adult I know could have somehow been a fly on the wall all weekend. To see the good, good hearts of these young people who are boldly trying to make sense of their worlds through music. The same young people who grew up attached to phones and the internet, to Youtube and social media The same young people who come from record numbers of “broken homes.” The same young people who play ultra-violent video games, and who witness the vapid sex-drenched world of pop culture. —These same young people are just as curious, just as mindful, just as thoughtful, just as courageous, just as creative, just as passionate, just as vulnerable, just as inspired, just as humble, just as kind, just as real, just as fearless, just as smart, just as optimistic, just willing to listen and grow and learn as young people have ever been (if not more so.) Which is to say, with regard to most of these things, they are miles ahead of most of us adults who have forgotten to keep stoking the fires of the things we should truly be giving our attention to. I feel completely humbled and thankful to be a part of Sisters Americana Song Academy for Youth. And by the way— they do this camp each year in Sisters, OR around this time, and it’s open to ANY high school students who are interested in music and songwriting. If you know a crew of young people who might be interested, or you are connected to a school in some way, please contact me and I’ll be happy to put you in touch with folks who can help coordinate rallying a group together for next year. I’ll do my best to be there teaching again next year, and many years after.”