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August 4-8 - Vic's Drum Shop/The Music Garage
The 11th annual Drum Fantasy Camp featured the
return of one of our founding drummers - and four
new additions to the Drum Fantasy Camp family!
Steve Smith, who rejoined the
legendary Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Band Journey in
2015, returned to Drum Fantasy Camp after playing
more than 60 summer dates! Steve is a natural
teacher and the camp allows him to get personal in
our small classes of just 15. It was amazing to have
Joining Steve were three drummers
who Drum Fantasy Camp has been chasing for several
Will Calhoun fit the camp into his
neverending schedule of dates with the iconic band,
Living Colour. Simon Phillips
joined us during some very rare downtime in his
schedule (we asked him for at least five years!) And
Todd Sucherman took time away from
his family in between segments of the Styx tour!
On the band side of things, the camp welcomed
legendary bassist Jimmy Haslip for
the very first time! Jimmy's incredible playing and
warm demeanor made him an instant hit at the camp.
He was joined by Music Director Vinny
Chicago native Stu Mindeman (keys),
Chrissi Poland (vocals).
Camp preparations always start months in advance.
Camp director Steven Orkin arrived in Chicago to get
things going on August 1. After a stop at Chicago's
famed restaurant, "The Mean Wiener," it was all
business putting the final touches on Drum Fantasy
On August 2,
Orkin picked up gear from SIR (Studio Instrument
Rentals) and paid a visit to Vic's Drum Shop. He met
Vic's manager Kevin Jensen and John Maloney, who had
been coordinating drum gear for all four drummers.
The guys reviewed the gear to make sure everything
was in place.
On August 3, the musicians
began arriving in Chicago. Weather conditions in the
Midwest diverted some flights and made things
challenging! But the guys eventually arrived. Todd
Sucherman took some time meet the team at Vic's and
being the process of tuning his drums (while telling
hilarious stories and doing drumming "impressions").
With Todd's touch, his Pearl kit sounded amazing.
Later that evening, everyone met at Athena
restaurant down the street from the hotel in
Greektown. The top of the restaurant, which opens on
nice summer nights, was abruptly closed when storms
rolled in. The group was having too much fun to
notice. Great stories were exchanged, followed by a
late-night hang among the drum instructors!
On the 4th, Todd and Will joined "Hamilton" Chicago
drummer Tom Hipskind at the Sabian Education Network
event hosted by Vic's. Joe Bergamini, a top Broadway
drummer and writer/educator with Hudson Music who
runs the Sabian network, moderated an amazing
discussion! When the event ended at Noon, Orkin
picked up Sucherman and drove him, Steve Smith, and
the band over to Martyrs' music club to set up for
the opening concert.
As always, the opening
concert delivered a mindblowing performance to a
full house. The first set
opened with all four instructors joining the band on
snare drums only for "Hey Pocky Way." Plenty of
shenanigans followed (see the videos on the right
side of this page). Todd and Steve both did
individual sets after that, followed by an
incredible duet at the end!
The next four
days were the main days of the camp. Full-time
attendees ranged in age from 9 to 70 and they came
from 12 countries, including: China, Japan, Germany,
Switzerland, England, Australia, New Zealand,
Panama, Mexico, Argentina, Canada, and the U.S.!
attendees had the choice of working with four
drumming instructors over four days, or substituting
one instructor for an all-new "Groove/Swing Class"
with Vinny and Jimmy as the teachers! Many of the
attendees opted for the that class - and they were
not disappointed! Vinny and Jimmy got everyone up
and playing with them all day. The attendees walked
out with great input!
During the evenings of
the first three nights, we ran our famous "Jam
Nights." Hosted in the Vic's Drum Shop Showcase
Room, attendees were called up to perform with
Jimmy, Stu, Chrissi, and Vinny! Tunes ranged from
classic rock to straight-ahead jazz, Indian fusion,
and more. There was no pressure - but several
attendees found themselves being accompanies by one
or more of our drumming instructors! Only at Drum
On the final night, we ran a
closing concert at Martyrs' featuring our incredible
Calhoun, and Simon Phillips. Will opened the show
with an amazing set that blended Elvin Jones with
Jimi Hendrix! He also performed a solo piece on his
Korg Wave Drum. Meanwhile, Simon delivered an iconic
tune that he wrote with Jeff Beck entitled "The
Pump," which was made famous in the movie "Risky
Business." He then delivered a blistering version of
Beck's "Space Boogie" before joining Will for a duet
that also included audience participation!
All in all, the 11th annual Drum Fantasy Camp was
packed with thrills, learning, and unforgettable
moments that will never be forgotten!
here to see more photos
on our Facebook page!