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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Camps, Education, Elementary & Secondary Schools, Literacy, Music, Sports





Cazadero Music Camp brings the love of music and learning to youth. We provide a nurturing, inspirational environment for young musicians ages 10-18. For 50 years, Cazadero has offered a dynamic music education program that strikes a thoughtful balance between in-depth music education and summer camp fun.


Cazadero inspires over 1100 youth each year through two complementary music programs, Summer Music Camp, and JumpStart in Music. Our Summer Music Camp brings together a diverse and talented student body from across the Bay Area and beyond. Campers work closely with skilled Conductors, talented Music Faculty, and a devoted Camp Staff. They discover their love of music, develop their musicianship, gain confidence in their playing, and make lasting friendships.



JumpStart in Music is a low-cost, high-impact version of our Summer Music Camp. JumpStart brings Bay Area public school students, their music teachers and high school mentors together for a three day, condensed immersion program at camp during the school year, which produces some remarkable results.



Results: We now serve over 1300 youth each year, through our Summer Music Camp program, and our school year JumpStart in Music program. At Cazadero, we work to bring the love of music and learning to youth, to light a spark of musical inspiration in each and every child we serve. This spark, once lit, provides kids with not only a powerful venue for creative self expression, but also helps them conect a new passion to learning in general. Our program also builds self esteem, teaches essential life skills (teamwork, leadership, the power of hard work and the satisfaction of achieving a goal). At Caz we also build community - students from all backgrounds and experiences come together to learn and share their love of music. In the process, they discover a common bond, which transcends race, class, gender, religion and more. It's these simple but profound experiences that Cazadero Performing Arts Camp has to offer the youth we serve, lessons which help them grow as musicians and as young people.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 1300

Geographic areas served: San Francisco Bay Area, California, USA

Programs: Cazadero Performing Arts Camp is one of Northern California's most respected and influential youth music programs. Each summer, in a spectacular forest of old-growth redwoods near the Russian River, students are inspired by a professional musical curriculum, passionate instructors, and the singular sense of community that summer camp creates. Cazadero is unlike other summer music programs, both in its scope and its reach in the community. The core performance curriculum is extraordinarily broad, including orchestra, symphonic band, and jazz ensemble. In addition, there are electives in chorus, music theory, chamber music, and piano ensembles. Few camps in the U.S. can offer such a comprehensive curriculum for students of all levels and artistic abilities. Cazadero iscommunity-based, providing an opportunity for students from all socio-economic levels to participate through a need-based financial assistance program.

Community Stories

1 Story from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters


Client Served

Rating: 5

My son, a middle school clarinetist, completed his second summer session at Cazadero Performing Arts Camp in July 2009, and he is still trying to prolong the magic by sleeping outside under the stars here at home. He loves Caz with a passion, and so do his parents. Here are some of the reasons why: • Camp accreditation, meaning all the safety and cleanliness features are in place • Super well-organized administrative office, with accurate and clear billings, a stable office staff, and excellent communications • Amazingly beautiful camp site nestled near the Russian River, under a canopy of giant redwoods. • The camp is well run, with an all-musician structure of deans, nurses, kitchen staff, utility crew, counselors, and music educators who make the two-week experience run smoothly and safely • A true summer-camp experience for the children, complete with camp songs, traditions, stories, and games that create affiliation and belongingness among campers • So much fun that when parents take their kids out for dinner in town after the mid-session concert, the kids’ main concern is getting back to camp in time for evening activities! • First-rate music instruction, one of the top music camps nationally • Guest conductors and others who have dedicated themselves to music education • A culture of fun that makes six hours of daily practice “cool” • Amazing results– campers seem to progress musically at the rate of one year per week of camp • Kids have some chores around their meals, cleaning and resetting tables (good reinforcement!) • The food is great – home-cooked, balanced, healthful and incredibly popular with the campers • The kitchen is super clean, well run and environmentally sensitive – no Styrofoam or plastic, only wash-and-re-use items and some biodegradable potato-ware. • Counselors and CITs who are great role models • Diversity of incomes and skin colors, united in music (where those differences don’t matter); no vibe of privilege or entitlement • Commitment to music education through a scholarship program • Bonding opportunities during the year between summers • A sense of family, through the founders, Mr. and Mrs. Lutt, as well as through the Mazzaferro family who provide a multitude of services and a guiding spirit to Caz I could certainly go on and on! Caz is a wonderful place. Our child and, by extension, our family, have been enriched by the Caz experience.