I arrived at Craig Ciola’s house Friday at 4pm where the Chikuzen RO Camp was being held. It is located in beautiful LaRue, OH where there is abundant fresh air and beautiful rolling plains. Upon arriving I met Craig in his zen garden where he and another student Clinton were working on building a grill. He showed me around and we got to work setting up tents and getting ready for the weekend. Michael Chikuzen Gould showed up soon after and the fun began. We played from about 6pm until about 10pm the first night. The group I participated in covered tone production and a small selection of songs. Perry Yung led a jinashi flute making class and the advanced group worked on Honkyoku pieces. Afterwards we all sat around swapping stories, playing flutes and having a great time.

For pics, see: http://www.harpgear.com/rocamp/

The next day began at 8am with a hearty breakfast followed by 30 minutes of blowing RO. From there we split into groups of beginner intermediate and advanced. We all worked in our appropriate groups throughout the day and coming together at meal times to share thoughts, tips and advice. That evening we had a small concert where we played duet pieces followed by all of us playing Honshirabe. Like the night before we sat around at the end of the day sharing stories of how we began and just getting to know each other. We woke up the next day to repeat it all again. I really enjoyed the fact that there were so many students there who were not only humble and friendly but also willing to share and help fellow students. In the end I walked away feeling I had a much better grasp on the techniques and music, but most of all I felt I walked away with some new friends and a great life long memory.

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