PDAMCA is back!

In 2005 my wife Theresa and I started holding summer music workshops in my home in Qualicum Beach, on Vancouver Island. The first year we had a variety of different types of workshops, but the one that got the most attention was the jazz ensemble workshop at which I also introduced the students to some basic cooking skills. That first year, if I remember correctly, we made a chicken curry, omelettes, a basic red sauce for pasta, risotto, and one day we went for sushi, where the chef made a special roll for us: the “jazz roll”. In 2006 I held the camp again for a slightly bigger group, and in 2007 it grew even more.

By 2008 the Phil Dwyer Academy of Musical and Culinary Arts had turned into quite a production. We were offering workshops for high-school, university, and adult musicians. I started bringing more faculty on board and I hired a great chef, Trevor Hooper, to take over the culinary program. In 2009 we had over a hundred students, spread out over the course of a month, and had added a vocal component headed up by the inimitable Dee Daniels. Other teachers that took part over the years were Don Thompson, Seamus Blake, Ingrid and Christine Jensen, Alan Jones, Michel Donato, Jon Wikan, Ian McDougall, Ted Quinlan, Amanda Tosoff, Ken Lister, Darrell Jones, Tom Wakeling…there are more that I’m probably not remembering right now, but you get the idea: great teachers! We also had visits from some amazing chefs along the way, like Peter Zambri.

From 2011-2014 we pulled back from running the full-scale operation because the administration was becoming far too time-consuming (Theresa and I both had lots of other things going on) but we kept running the adult workshops out of our house and had a lot of fun doing so. Then in 2014 I decided to go to law school and was away until last year. But this summer, thanks to some prompting and considerable assistance from my friends at the McMillan Arts Centre in Parksville, I am pleased to say that PDAMCA is back!

We look forward to seeing some old friends back at the camp, and lots of new faces as well. For the first week several of the previous years’ faculty are returning, including Ingrid, Christine, Neil Swainson, and Jon. We have some teachers joining us for the first time, like Chris Andrew. Ken Lister, Hans Verhoeven, and special guests TBA will be joining me in the second week to coach the adult ensembles and accompany the vocal students, who will be studying with the fabulous Shannon Gunn.

More info is available here, and you can always send me an email if you have any questions. Hope to see you this summer!

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