Home > Events, General > Phil Dwyer’s Qualicum Beach Jazz Camp Growing By Leaps and Bounds

Phil Dwyer’s Qualicum Beach Jazz Camp Growing By Leaps and Bounds

June 11, 2009

The Phil Dwyer Academy of Music and Culinary Arts (PDAMCA) in Qualicum Beach offers a tremendous

Jazz students blowing at Phil Dwyer's 2008 Jazz Camp in Qualicum Beach

Jazz students blowing at Phil Dwyer's 2008 Jazz Camp in Qualicum Beach

opportunity for aspiring and accomplished players alike not only to develop their soloing chops by studying with some of the best players in the business, but also to learn to cook in a more literal sense, since the camp also teaches the culinary arts with a focus on local foods.

Students take breaks from playing by visiting some of the local food producers in the area and learning to do a little cooking themselves as they help prepare meals for the group.

Dwyer says the camp, now in its fifth year, has been growing rapidly. Last year, his Week 1 offering, aimed at 14-21 year olds, doubled in size.

This year, he’s added an adult program and some special workshops/events that will appeal to a wide range of players and jazz fans alike.

The instructors include Ingrid and Christine Jensen, Don Thompson, Ken Lister, Jon Wikan, Seamus Blake, Michel Donato, PJ Perry, Alan Jones, Amanda Tosoff with her quartet, Ted Quinlan, and, of course, the man himself – Phil Dwyer.

Here’s a quick rundown of the opportunities:

July 20-24 PDAMCA Week 1

Aimed at the 14-21 year-old crowd, this camp is intended for musicians of all levels (and all instruments) who “want to experience music in a fun, focused and creative way.” Dwyer also includes a culinary component with a local foods focus that teaches participants some valuable life skills. As well, the program takes advantage of the many recreational opportunities available in Qualicum Beach. Dwyer says there is still space available depending on the instrument. Cost is $600.

July 20 -24 Workshops

Guitar Masterclass with Humber College Guitar Head Ted Quinlan

Aimed at guitarists of different backgrounds and abilities, this class, which will run from 9-12 each morning, will explore “new concepts in technique, soloing and accompaniment” and is open to all ages. There’s still room and the cost is $300.

Brass Workshop with Jon Challoner

Much like the guitar workshop, this is open to all brass students and will be led by Humber College grad Jon Challoner, who, says Dwyer, has already established himself as one of the finest trumpet players in Canada. Like the guitar workshop, this program has space available and will run in the mornings. Cost: $300

August 3- 7 PDAMCA Adult Camp

For a few years now, Dwyer has been asked to organize an adult camp for experienced players and this year it’s finally happening. Many of the players in this group play at or close to a professional level and so the camp assumes considerable reading ability and familiarity with the jazz idiom. It’s nearly full, although they do have room for a sax player and a pianist. Cost $600.

August 10-16 PDAMCA College Week

This one is aimed at highly motivated college and university players, with a good knowledge of theory and jazz styles/history, who desire intensive coaching in ensemble playing, arranging, rehearsal techniques, and the music business. The student/teacher ratio is 4:1. There is still room depending on the instrument. Cost is $ 70o.

August 14/15 Bass Workshop with Michel Donato

This is an opportunity to study with one of Canada’s foremost bassists, Montreal’s Michel Donato, who was a member of the Oscar Peterson Trio for a time and played with Bill Evans. This one is open to all bass players and has a cost of $200.

August 15 Special Events

Piano Masterclass with Don Thompson

Pianists (or even non-players) are invited to join jazz great Don Thompson for a few hours and learn more about his approach to jazz piano. Open to all ages. Cost TBA

“A Life in Music” – Conversation with PJ Perry

An opportunity for jazz fans of all denominations to learn more about the career of one of Canada’s all-time greats, saxophonist PJ Perry. This will be an informal session in the comfortable environs of the The Old School House (TOSH) in Qualicum Beach.

August 16 Jazz in the Garden at Milner Gardens

The lineup this year includes the Marc Atkinson Trio, the Seamus Blake Quartet, Amanda Tosoff, and Canadian Jazz All-Stars with Phil Dwyer, Don Thompson, PJ Perry, Michel Donato and special guest vocalist Joani Taylor. More details to follow in a subsequent article.

For more information on the camps and workshops, visit Phil Dwyer’s site at http://www.phildwyer.com/

Jazz in the Garden info can be found at


– Rick Gibbs

© 2009 Rick Gibbs and Island Jazz. Please see the copyright info in the sidebar for permitted uses.
Categories: Events, General
  1. janice gougeon
    December 17, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    Mr. Dwyer,
    I used to play sax in high school(and some afterwards), was chef and owner of a restaurant in Renfrew Ontario called The Taste Emporium and since selling it have now returned to school (at the age of 49) to study Law. Sitting here listening to you on CBC Radio and heard about your Culinary/Music school and thought, “how cool” (and that rhymed – so yay for me) Would love to be a part of that if you are looking for someone to do some volunteering in that area – the area being, “the kitchen!”

  2. paul woodyard
    August 9, 2010 at 8:28 pm

    Very interesred in Don Thompson event on august 15; more details available?
    time on the 15th?; cost?; format?

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