Camp Woodland was founded in 1939 by a group of idealists inspired by the New Deal who put American democracy into practice by creating an inclusive summer camp for city kids in the Catskills near Phoenicia, NY.
Although detractors would refer to it as “Camp Red” during the McCarthy era, they helped to incubate the folk music movement in America, influenced music in Woodstock, and brought together city and rural communities through the collection and preservation of Catskills folklore and folk music.
Author and civil rights attorney Bill Horne is set to give an illustrated talk based on his book, The Improbable Community: Camp Woodland and the American Democratic Ideal on Saturday, August 24 from noon to 1 pm at Eames House Museum, 20 Comeau Drive, in Woodstock.
Special tribute will be paid to Woodstock musicologists Eric Weissberg and Herbert Haufrecht, who were deeply involved with the camp. Former campers Pat Lamanna and Mickey Vandow will be on hand to lead singalongs of camp songs. Horne’s book will be on sale and available for autographing. Light refreshments will be available. Admission is free.
Bill Horne practiced trade regulation law in Washington, D.C., and health care, public construction and civil rights law in Boston. He grew up in Queens, NY, and was a camper at Camp Woodland from 1950 through 1960.
Pat Lamanna learned to play guitar and wrote her first songs at Camp Woodland from 1955-1961 and is featured on Pete Seeger’s album, “The Storm King.”
As a Camp Woodlander for many summers, Mickey Vandow learned Catskills history, folklore and folk songs collected from singers in the region. He learned banjo from Pete Seeger and has taught theater and video production at SUNY Cobleskill.
The event, sponsored by the Historical Society of Woodstock, complements the on-going summer exhibit, Woodstock Music: In Tune with the Times 1600-Present. More information is available online.
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