Judy Fjell Newsletter <$today>
April 28, 2017 
Greetings, friends! 
It's springtime in Montana, and I'm sending my love to all of you. Even though in these political times it's often hard to keep our chins up and our heads above water, I'm sure you will agree that there are also plenty of moments to celebrate. 

The Montana hills and mountains are bursting with new flowers and the returning birds are certainly making merry. The house finches are nesting in our juniper and the robins have returned to the front porch. It's always exciting to hear the first ruby-crowned kinglets of the year! Last month Katie and I even saw a "FOL" (first of lifetime) Eurasian widgeon on the Helena Holding Reservoir. What a rare sight he was with his beautiful rufous head and golden stripe! 
IMG_5039 (1)

And on the subject of challenges . . . Not long ago I found out that I needed to change the location of Summersing from Camp Mimanagish due to a major construction project on the infamous gravel road south of Big Timber. This could have meant that camp would not happen this year, but a silver lining has presented itself. 

Music Empowerment and I will be able to host Summersing at Boulder Hot Springs (just 30 miles south of Helena) on June 10-16, 2017. I have updated the flyers, postcards and registration forms and posted them on the website. Please check it out at www.judyfjell.com. Final camp registration date is June 3 but I'd love to hear from you ASAP if you are considering attending Summersing this year. 

Nurturing and guiding women's community through the arts, especially music, continues to be a central calling for me. I truly love all of you women who sing in the choruses, attend camps, teach workshops, host song circles, serve on boards, write songs, lead songs at political rallies, drive hours to support a performance by a community member . . . it makes a difference in our lives, and in the world. This year it is especially clear what a blessing our women's communities are. And what a relief it is to express ourselves through music. 

Here are a bunch of us singing Copperwimmin's song "Kinder" at Summersing 2010.Singing KInder

This year I am celebrating THIRTY-ONE years of dedication to music empowerment! What was once my small dream for a healthy way to share music has grown into to a far flung community of several hundred women whose lives have been changed by singing together and gathering in an environment of honesty and support. We are literally woven together in song! I look forward to exploring this new retreat facility for us on June 10-16. Boulder Hot Springs in the Peace Valley is a clean and sober facility which has been a place of healing for centuries. 

2017 Summersing postcard.1 42217

Returning Summersing staff this year includes Beth Youngblood (violin/mandolin), Stormi Oshun (African drumming), Fargo Olsen(C/W dancing), and Tami Pallingston (bass/cajon). Ginny Watts will again join Stormi to lead African rhythms and dances, and Janet Haarvig will teach some ukulele and lend her beautiful cello lines to Beth's violin at song circles. It's very exciting to bring Wendy Franklin on staff to teach plein air painting in watercolor and gouache (I'll be taking that class!). The landscape at Boulder Hot Springs will be perfect for those who want to express their creativity in this visual realm. Maybe we'll even take a field trip to the nearby ghost town of Elkhorn. http://stateparks.mt.gov/elkhorn/. 

Boulder Hot Springs' clean and sober environment with soaking pools and outdoor swimming pool will guarantee relaxing times in between our workshops, hikes, birding trips. Serving great food at camp continues to be a priority. Our cook this year is Kathleen Johnson, a local banjo player (!!) who comes to us with expertise, excellent recommendations, and a lot of cooking experience. She is a renowned pie baker and was also a Summersing camper in 2010! Of course we will miss Kim Kolstad and Kelly Nelson, but Kim has generously shared recipes with Kathleen and we will undoubtedly conjure up memories of Kim's wild and crazy stories in song circles. 

I'm heading to Ireland with my friend Doodle, May 16-June 1. She assures me that I will be able to get my email a few times when I'm across "the pond" which means that we should be able to communicate about camp. But if you are thinking about attending Summersing, please call, text or email ASAP before May 16, the date of my flight (on United - wish me luck!). Absolute deadline for registering will be June 3. Please be in touch if I can be of help in making Summersing a reality for you this year. J 

P.S. I have more news about new songs I've written and great songs I've been collecting to help us through these challenging times in our nation and world, but I'll save those for another newsletter. In the meantime, hope to see some of you women at camp. And I know I'll see all of you - women, men, and children at concerts, marches, or UU worship services. I love being in touch with many of you through that crazy fixture in our lives - Facebook. Just for the heck of it, here's a link to the song I wrote in January "Are We Running Around Like Chickens." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DvIYNVgslzk