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NORTH AMERICAN FOLK MUSIC AND DANCE ALLIANCE INC
May 10, 2012

SUMMERSONGS -- I first heard about Summersongs, by word-of-mouth, from a friend I had met while serving as a band videographer years back. She said that this songwriting camp was the perfect vehicle to get out from behind my camera and start writing and performing like I had always wanted. Up until then, I didn't know how to even get started writing songs or performing in front of other people. In fact, I wasn't sure I had the "right stuff" to even do this, figuring that musicians were born, not made. But I wanted to learn, and from what I was told, Summersongs was a warm, nurturing community to start learning, making some mistakes in a non-judging environment, and growing step-by-step. With a little healthy skepticism, I signed-up for a camp, fully expecting that it couldn't be as perfect as billed. But I figured it was better than just sitting around wishing I could change. What i found, at my first camp in the summer of 2008, was an eye-opener -- a beautiful camp setting in the NY Catskills, and even more important, beautiful people who loved music and loved sharing their knowledge about it. That week, I learned how to approach writing songs and, just as importantly, how to break my writer's block (which often struck me at the time). I learned to accept my own musical vision and my own style as worthwhile while bringing it out from my heart and mind to my voice and guitar. I learned that I COULD change and even progress at my own pace, all the while having a blast! I have been a regular at camp ever since, treasuring it as much as a learning time as a social reunion with kindred spirits. More than that, I have started taking my music and performing it outside of camp for others who now look at me and say, "I wish I could do that, but...." I can honestly and open-heartedly recommend Summersongs to them and anyone else looking for a change to do just as I did -- live my dreams, grow, have fun, and pass the helping hand to others.

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Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

MY ROLE:
General Member of the Public

NORTH AMERICAN FOLK MUSIC AND DANCE ALLIANCE INC
February 3, 2010

My experience with Summersongs only goes back two years, but what's now more important is that this experience will be continued for many more years in the future. I'm a middle-aged techie who has loved music all my life. Long ago, I decided to pursue a mostly non-music career based on a skewed perception that creating music was the province of the few and the gifted. But I always wondered what it could be like for me. A couple years back, at the urging of a friend, I attended my first Summersongs camp. It was like a revelation! This diverse of community of kindred spirits showed me how accessible my dream of becoming more musically creative really was. Even though we are united by our love of music, we also share compassion, knowledge and true friendship while helping each other realize our aspirations. For me, this transcendance allows me to reshape my vision of my future in a decidedly more musically-active direction. Thanks to Summersongs, I'm writing, performing and learning more every day. The community of Summersongs friendship keeps me going all year round, even when not in camp, but returning to this newfound world is always anticipated. Penny Nichols epitomizes the Summersongs experience, and attracts, nurtures, and binds us all in our creative journeys. My life has been immensely richer for this experience!

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I have taken both the spirit and the skills I have developed at Summersongs and put it to use outside this community. I guess you could say this has been a breeding ground for even more outreach and impact.

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How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

MY ROLE:
Volunteer & I shared music with others, and both learned and taught as I went.