To celebrate Enchanted Hills Camp 70th anniversary, talented musicians, both blind and sighted, have been singing and playing their hearts out on Facebook Live in the “Give Back” concert series. This groundbreaking season of performances has been helping us raise money for Chimehenge, an interactive community musical instrument of epic proportions that will be played by future campers.
For our final concert, singer/songwriter Bruce Cockburn will take center stage. Bruce made his first album 1970 and has released 33 albums to date. His music styles range from folk, to jazz, rock and worldbeat. He lives in the San Francisco Bay area and is a human rights and environmental activist. EHC Director Tony Fletcher sat down with Bruce for an exclusive Q & A session.
Q. When did you first hear about Enchanted Hills Camp?
A. I first heard about EHC when I met Bill Simpson [longtime EHC nurse], at Peet’s Coffee. There was a gang of mostly older people who would sit around in front and drink coffee. I joined that group and he came by and said hello to quite a few of the patrons. A couple of days later, I was sitting out in front of Peet’s again and Bill was there drinking his coffee and I invited him over to join me at my table. We realized we had a lot in common and he talked to me about how he spent his summers at EHC.
Q. Have you attended residential camp yourself?
A. Yes. The one that had the biggest impact for me was the Taylor Statten Camps in Canada. Those camps date back to the 1920s. I spent several summers there and learned an appreciation of nature. There were four-week wilderness camps, including two weeks on a canoe trip in Ottawa. It was wonderful for my life skills development.
Q. Why do you think it’s valuable for people to attend camp?
A. One of the greatest things is being out from under the roofs of your parents. You’re obliged to discover things about yourself and you learn how to be a good citizen in an unusual setting. Everyone learns to pull their weight. It’s part of learning to be (part of) a team. At camp, there are activities that are different from what you would learn from school. You learn skills: to sail, ride a horse, improve your swimming.
Q. How did your passion for music develop?
A. I was Interested in music from an early age. I started taking music lessons in fifth or sixth grade and played clarinet and trumpet for three years. I liked those but fell for early rock and roll at the age of 14. I found an old guitar in the attic at my grandmother’s and banged away at it without much success, but my parents saw the value in it and signed me up for guitar lessons.
Q. What practical tips do you have for young musicians pursuing music as a career?
A. That’s hard to answer in a meaningful way. Things have changed so much. The business has changed so much but recording a YouTube video and getting your music watched on social media is one way to get started. I suggest that you learn everything you can from everybody you can. The more you know, the more you can use.
You can watch the concert Friday, August 14 from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at: facebook.com/lighthousesf/live.
Want to join Bruce in supporting EHC? Celebrate our 70th anniversary with your limited edition EHC hoodie or make a donation today.