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Chicago - August 7-11  - Vic's Drum Shop/The Music Garage

After seven great years in Cleveland, Ohio (and one year in South Orange, NJ), Drum Fantasy Camp made a big move in 2015. The camp took place in Chicago, IL, at the country's largest independent drum store - Vic's Drum Shop!

It all started with a brief encounter at the 2015 NAMM Show. Camp director Steven Orkin had just watched camp instructor Steve Smith perform in the Sonor booth. Also watching Steve's performance was Victor Salazar from Vic's Drum Shop.

Orkin and Salazar started talking and the conversation quickly moved to the camp. Salazar asked "why don't you just do the camp at my store? We have the space, the gear...?" Two months later, Orkin flew to Chicago and a week later, the deal was struck.

2015 was a record year for Drum Fantasy Camp. Every spot in every class was full, something that has never happened before. 25 attendees were from Chicago - more than than all of the combined attendees from Cleveland the previous seven years. The concerts were larger than ever and, as always, attendees came from more than a dozen countries!

It all started on August 7. Attendees arrived at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Greektown throughout the day while our world-class band rehearsed for the evening's opening concert.

Back for his second year was legendary bassist James Genus (Herbie Hancock/Saturday Night Live). He was joined by our Music Director and guitarist Vinny Valentino (Geroge Benson/Vital Information) plus our dynamic singer Chrissi Poland (Bette Midler/Sam Moore). The band also welcomed a newcomer - Stu Mindeman (Fareed Hague/Gloria Estefan) - who played keyboards at the jams and both concerts!

The August 7 show featured performances by DFC instructors Benny Greb, Mike Mangini, and Steve Smith. At the end of the show, the three drummers pulled off an amazing three-way jam. But, that's wasn't really the end.

With the crowd chanting for more, Dave Weckl and Jojo Mayer marched through the crowd playing a cadence on their snare drums. They marched up onto the stage, and sat down in a line with the other three instructors. The band joined in for "When The Saints Go Marching In" and the song ended with a blazing snare jam! It was an incredible night!
Still overpowered by the opening event, attendees arrived the next morning for their first classes. Benny Greb immediately marched his class down to the parking lot for a unique lesson in rhythm. Full-time attendees spent four days with our instructors learning a variety of skills while also soaking up the intangibles you only get in such an intimate setting.

In the evenings, we ran our famous "Jam Nights" in Vics' Showcase Room. Attendees were treated to three private "concerts" with our incredible band - but they got to be the drummers! Of course, the instructors sat in, including a really fun moment with Dave Weckl and Benny Greb performing "Don't Stand So Close So Me" by The Police! And Steve Smith joined Jojo Mayer for Stevie Wonder's "Higher Ground."

On the final day, it was business-as-usual until the afternoon class ended. That's when we rushed Dave Weckl and his gear out to Martyrs' for the closing concert!

Of course, it took forever to get out there, set up, and sound check. This caused a delay that led to a lineup of eager concert-goers all the way down the street! With tensions mounting, Steve Smith and Benny Greb came to the rescue. They went outside with their snare drums and performed "Salt Peanuts" on the sidewalk!

Once the concert began, Jojo and Dave took over - each with their own energy-charged sets. But that would not satisfy the audience. So, they came back out and traded solos over "Higher Ground!" It was the perfect ending to the ninth annual Drum Fantasy Camp!

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"What is Hip"
Concert Rehearsal

Steve Smith and Benny Greb
"Salt Peanuts" Street Performance

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