Music. Life. Friendship
It is our dream to give children 4th grade through college an opportunity to learn through music, experience nature without distractions, and make lasting friendships.
From our staff to your family,
Thank you to the camper families who return year after year. We are truly blessed to spend an entire week with your wonderful children. We are forever grateful.
Sixty years ago, Gus Noland played trombone and sang in the high school glee club. Peggy Daly (Noland) played the bass violin in her High School Orchestra. For many years Gus sang in Barbershop Quartets. As parents, they embraced & encouraged music in their home & had their own family band, with all 5 children participating. Their oldest son, Michael, played the cello in the orchestra and sang in Ruth Phillip's elite madrigal choir at Bella Vista High School. He also conducted the first youth choir at Fair Oaks Presbyterian Church. He obtained a B.A. & Masters in Music and eventually became a choral director for Christ Community Church, Folsom Lake College, and sang with the renowned San Francisco-based group, "Chanticleer". After they retired - Gus, B.A. Pomona College, L.L.D from U.C.L.A. and M. Div. from San Anselmo, and Peggy (20 years as a Head Start Preschool Teacher), made a spiritual commitment to organize a summertime choral camp. From the beginning, Gus's dream had been to inspire young men and women to sing. With orchestras and choirs often disappearing from the public schools, the inclusion of music in children's education was becoming rarer, and the need for supplemental music program offerings was becoming greater.
The camp began at the Community of the Great Commission at Foresthill. The first camp enrolled 78 campers and staff. The first 2 years of camp offered three choirs. After 2 years of homemade flyers, they formulated a professional brochure & renamed the camp Sierra Mountain Choral Camp. From the very beginning, campers returned to camp year after year--many logging as many as 10+ years of attendance. We are proud of our alumni that have gone on to teaching careers in music.
In our 3rd summer, the addition of a fourth choir, one for junior boys with treble or "unchanged" voices increased interest in camp. Camp activities expanded to accommodate the varied interests of the campers. The capacity of the campground was stretched by adding 2 large tents for housing the senior boys and became the birthplace of our own in-camp rock band, "IN-TENTS" (aka "Amadeus").
In 2000, Sierra Mountain Choral camp became Sierra Mountain Music camp with the addition of an orchestra for all ages. After one year, we added a second orchestra for advanced students. A contract with Mondavi for the 2004 10th anniversary concert came in the fall of 2003. Our 10th-anniversary concert in June 2004 at the Robert and Margrett Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts was spectacular and the pinnacle of our camp's history. Gus was very, very proud of what had been accomplished.
Sadly, 2005 was also a time to say goodbye. Camp founder Augustus "Gus" Noland passed away in March and left a great hole in the hearts of family, staff, and alumni. While camp went on, as usual, Gus was greatly missed, and the campers and staff paid tribute to him during our 11th annual concert. More goodbyes were said at the end of camp 2005 to our host campsite, Sierra Pines, as we realized we had outgrown their capacity and ability to keep up with our program's growth rate.
We moved to a new facility, Diamond Arrow Christian Conference Center near Nevada City with a capacity of 468 campers and staff. Our new facilities, with 350+ acres, offered new resources to explore, including a climbing wall, a zip-fly line, a swimming pool, and beautiful hiking trails near the Yuba River.
Our Board of Directors on our Parent organization, Rancho De Los Amigos. They have been especially supportive, Superior Court Judge Talmadge Jones, Attorney Ron Leachman, Casey Noland, John Henderson, Jim Failor, Peggy Noland, and Jerry Shantz. We are forever grateful for their encouragement and loyalty.
In 2005, a new board was created to allow better efficiency in the operation of the camp's daily needs. The current Board of Directors continues to work on expanding the opportunities for young musicians to gather together each summer.
Throughout our history campers have come from all over the California Region. There have been campers from out of state as well, spanning from Alaska to Texas, even including musicians from Argentina and France. All were seeking excellence in music. With a strong and loyal staff, alumni, and friends, Gus and Peggy's early visions come true summer after summer. In our hearts rings the theme song dedicated to Gus, ‘I Believe in Music'.