VIRTUAL 2021 Americana Song Academy for Youth

Friday, April 23- 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Saturday, April 24 – 10:00 AM to 9:00 PM
Sunday, April 25 – 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM

The Americana Song Academy for Youth provides a non-competitive format for youth ages 14-18 to learn the basics of songwriting, performing, and overall musicianship from professional musicians and one another.

We will begin on a Friday night with blank notebooks. On Sunday we will end as musicians with new tunes stuck in our heads, surprising notebook scribbles, and the feeling of time spent making music together. This is an introduction to songwriting for those who have never written a song before, and a dive into the art form for practiced writers. It will be a supportive environment for anyone looking to share original music, and a moment in our day to really listen. All musical styles and levels welcome. Each registrant will be mailed a copy of Victor Wooten’s book, The Music Lesson.

The most important values shared are mutual respect, support and nurturing of one another, and each person’s creative journey.

Thanks to our Americana Project Arts Outreach Scholarship (APAOS) contributors, this program is available as a ‘pay what you can’ model. You decide the payment level that works for you, no questions asked.

About the Instructors

Camp director/instructor Jenner Fox is a folk singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, international river guide, and music teacher. He’s toured all over the US and internationally on three studio records, founded a songwriting camp for high schoolers in Washington D.C., and now calls Sisters, Oregon home.

“Jenner combines the lyricism of Joni Mitchell and the commentary of Neil Young to represent the next generation of singer-songwriters.”

— Grammy nominated producer, Cookie Marenco

It was just another day in the small town of Camp Sherman, Oregon when 8-year-old Megan Rose Ellsworth picked up her dad’s guitar. She stretched her pudgy, kid fingers across the neck, and gleefully plucked the strings. ELLSWORTH is a lyrical storyteller and an infectious performer. Her melancholic slant to the folk genre has been compared to likes of anti-folk greats such as Regina Spektor and Angus & Julia Stone. She is an alumni of Sisters High School and a proud member of the Sisters Americana Project family. Now a graduate from two of the University of Colorado Denver’s award-winning programs, Music Business and Songwriting, she is living her passion as a touring folk singer-songwriter under her last name, ELLSWORTH.

Asha Santee is a percussionist, producer, songwriter, fashion designer, painter, and educator. Simply put, she’s an artist.

Her passion for music and art have taken her all over the world as she has been asset to several bands across her home DC Metro Area, including Grammy Nominee Carolyn Malachi, and Grammy Award Winning, Mya. She has three solo projects on all streaming platforms including her latest release, GINKGO. Additionally she runs her own t-shirt design brand (Note 2 Self), and an art gallery with more than 150 pieces of her original art.

Music education is central to Asha. She grew up learning the drums from her dad who played in church when she was 6, and now she offers affordable private and group drum lessons to kids and adults of all ages, and a beat making program to black girls battling depression.

Asha is infectious in her message, music, and joy. It’s powerful, true, and inspiring.

Natalie Akers is a pianist and an educator. She discovered camps in 2016, and has since worked on bringing interdisciplinary and music programs to life for middle and high school students in the US and Japan. Natalie came to Sisters to teach at Camp Tamarack’s Outdoor School, and for the last three years she’s toured the US playing keyboard in Jenner Fox’s band. She is the kind of musician who plays for the simple reason that it makes her really happy. She grew up beside a grand piano, and developed a special love for the sound of the instrument, and the spaces that grooves live in. It’s a rare person who gets to hear Natalie play and doesn’t find themselves wishing they played piano, or falling a little more deeply for music.

Victor Wooten is a unique human being. Born the youngest of five boys, he began learning to play music at the tender age of two. He started performing in nightclubs and theaters as the bassist with the family band at age five, and at age six, was on tour with his brothers opening shows for legendary soul artist Curtis Mayfield. Soon after, he was affectionately known as the 8-year-old Bass Ace, and before graduating high school, he and his brothers had shared the stage with artists such as Stephanie Mills, War, Ramsey Lewis, Frankie Beverly and Maze, Dexter Wansel, and The Temptations. But, this only begins to tell the tale of this Tennessee titan.

Wooten, now a five-time Grammy winner, hit the worldwide scene in 1990 as a founding member of the super-group Bela Fleck and the Flecktones. Continuing to blaze a musical trail with the band, Victor has also become widely known for his own Grammy nominated solo recordings and tours.

Among other things, he is a loving husband and father of four, a skilled naturalist and teacher, a published author, a magician and acrobat, and has won every major award given to a bass guitarist including being voted Bassist of the Year in Bass Player Magazine’s readers poll three times (the only person to win it more than once.) In 2011, Rolling Stone Magazine voted Victor one of the Top Ten Bassist of ALL TIME.


Friday Evening (6-9 pm):

6-6:30 Gather. Introductions. Grounding & Tone Setting with Brad.

6:30-7 “Bad” poem writing.

7-7:30 Workshop #1 Beginning a Song & Songwriting Sprint #1.

7:30-8:15 Compassionate song critique & song sharing in breakout rooms.

8:15-8:45 Mini concert. Meet your instructors.

8:45-9:00 Wrap Up

Saturday (10am- 8:30pm):

10-10:30 Gather. “Bad” Poem writing.

10:30-10:45 Songwriting Sprint #2.

10:45-11:15 How to record from home basics & advanced (breakout rooms).

11:15-11:30 –Break–

11:30-12:45 Masterclass with Victor Wooten.

12:45-2 –Lunch Break–

2-2:30 Gather. Listening to our favorite songs. Breakout rooms.

2:30-3 Writing/Recording Time.

3-3:30 –Break–

3:30-4:00 Workshop #3 A Career in Music with Megan Ellsworth.

4:00-4:30 Song Sharing & Compassionate Critique.

4:30 – 6:45 Dinner break/free time

6:45-7 pm Social time/hang

7:00-8:30 Song Share Celebration #1

8:30-9 pm Wrap up

Sunday (10 am-3 pm)

10-10:30 Gather. “Bad” Poem writing.

10:30-11 Producing with the sounds around your room with Asha Santee

11-11:30 Songwriting Sprint #3.

11:30-12:30 Lunch Break & Final Writing/Recording Time. Open hours with instructors.

12:30-1 pm Closing Ceremony

1:00-2:30 Song Share Celebration #2

2:30-3 pm Wrap up