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5th Annual Great Lakes Mandolin Camp – Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore edition – October 6-9, 2022

Great Lakes Mandolin Camp

The 5th annual Great Lakes Mandolin Camp is October 6-9, 2022, in Empire, Michigan, located across the street from the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Michigan’s enchanting northwest corner of its lower peninsula. The instructors, chosen for their masterful mandolin playing distinction and exceptional teaching abilities, include Don Stiernberg, Emory Lester and Camp founder Brian Oberlin. During the four days of mandolin immersion, each Camper will experience six – 75-minute workshops from all three teachers, ensemble rehearsals and performance, structured and non-structured jams, faculty and student concerts, master classes, songwriting guidance, meals, and lodging. The maximum student capacity is 25 which makes for smaller classes from some of the best mandolin players and teachers in the world. The Camp will be in[1]person and vaccination or a negative Covid test is required. The cost for Campers and commuters is an affordable $550. Camp sponsor Elderly Instruments will have gift packages for the Campers.

Great Lakes Mandolin Camp


Each student will attend the same number of workshops at the GLMC Camp; totaling six – 75 minute workshops from all three teachers. This makes for a wide variety of learning and is one of the unique aspects of GLMC. However, each student can self-assign to an ensemble of their choice. During the Camp, there will be several rehearsals for the ensembles and the music played is arranged and/or written by the specific teacher. There will be time for short master classes for each student to study with an instructor. Each student is encouraged and will be helped to compose and perform a song while at the Camp either as a soloist or a group. For the student concert, there will be small groups assembled to play what they wish.   The maximum capacity of the Great Lakes Mandolin Camp is 25 students (ages 14 and older). Although the Camp is intended for all levels of mandolinists, absolute beginners (people who have no idea how to play anything on the mandolin) are encouraged to take private lessons before attending the Camp. In other words, an attendee at the Camp is someone who can, at least, play an open G, C, and D chord, keep a rhythm, and have basic knowledge of how to read tablature or music notation. Traditionally, there are about 25% beginners, 50% intermediate, and 25% advanced players attending the Camp. The instructors teach their classes accordingly. Most of the materials and concepts are playable and accessible to any level player, while a small portion is challenging for even the most advanced players. The GLMC Camp philosophy is to ensure that every student is learning and engaged throughout the Camp. This mission is successful because the instructors are primarily excellent teachers, as well as top-notch players.


Click on the PDF registration packet below and all of your questions will be answered about the Camp, including details on how to sign-up.

GLMC 2022 registration packet

How to Pay, Cost, Deposit and Terms

The cost of the Great Lakes Mandolin Camp 2022 for Campers and commuters is $550.
A deposit of $250 AND a submitted application arerequired to hold your spot at the Camp.

The three payment methods are....

  • Venmo - @BrianOberlinMandolin   *(last four digits of phone number are 8673)
  • PayPal - brian(at)mandoberlin(dot)com 
  • Snail mail check payments (payable to Brian Oberlin) mailed to
    Brian Oberlin
    P.O. Box 272
    Rockford, MI 49341

The remaining balance of $300 is due September 8th, 2022.

Cancellations and Covid Policies:

  • Cancellations made on or before August 10, 2022 will receive a refund minus $25
  • Cancellations made August 11 to September 7, 2022 will receive their deposit minus a $100 fee.
  • Cancellations on or after September 8, 2022 will not receive a refund.
  • Should Covid or any other virus render the Camp inoperative for ALL attendees, everyone will receive a full refund.
  • Vaccination is required to attend the GLMC Camp OR a negative test taken within 48 hours.
  • Regarding mask wearing, the GLMC will follow the mask mandates that are in place by the State of Michigan at the time of the Camp.


Elderly Instruments


Elderly Instruments of Lansing, Michigan is sponsoring this year's GLMC Camp.

The Instructors

Don Stiernberg
Don Stiernberg

Brian Oberlin
Brian Oberlin

Emory Lester
Emory Lester

Chicago's own Don Stiernberg learned to play the mandolin from the influential and innovative virtuoso Jethro Burns. Jethro referred to Don as his "graduate student", hired him to play in his band, and guided him into a lifelong career in music. A leading exponent of jazz mandolin style, Don has eight recording projects of his own and appears on many others by a variety of artists in all styles. In addition to touring from coast to coast and abroad with his own trio, he stays busy with freelance performing and recording session work in and around his native Chicago. This is Don's third year at the Great Lakes Mandolin Camp, and he is a regular staff member at the Mandolin Symposium, Kaufman Kamp, Swannanoa, Mando Camp North, Cape Cod Mandolin Camp, Ashokan Swing Week, Accademia Internazionale di Mandolino, European Mandoline Akademy, Momento Rio Bandolim.

Michigan's Brian Oberlin, the creator and director of the Great Lakes Mandolin Camp and the River of the West Mandolin Camp, has been performing and teaching mandolin for 20 years. As an educator, Brian teaches nearly one hundred mandolin workshops each year at festivals, arts centers, and academies around the world. In addition to his own Mandolin Camps, Brian teaches at music music camps around the US, Holland and Germany and was a faculty member in 2012, 2013 and 2017 Accademia Internazionale di Mandolino in Savona, Italy.   As a performer, Brian is a solo mandolinist playing swing, bluegrass, Italian classical originals and crooning all the while.  His most recent,  and 20th studio album is Troubadour which features his original, award winning music.  In 2016 he was inducted into his hometown High School’s Hall of Fame in Rockford, Michigan. Brian is the founder and music director emeritus of the Oregon Mandolin Orchestra and performs as a soloist with other orchestras.  He also plays with Michigan based bluegrass bands, Full Cord and the Journeymen.

Teaching his 2nd GLMC, Emory Lester has been a notable fixture in the acoustic mandolin world for the past four decades, and is an innovator of mandolin technique and a renowned creative artist, multi-instrumentalist, and instructor. His large body of recorded work has placed him among the elite mandolinist of our time. He has inspired and influenced many of our current generation's mandolin players, and pointed the way with his clean, clear, fast and efficient mandolin technique. Emory has performed across the U.S., Canada, Europe, U.K. and Czech Republic, with Clawgrass banjoist Mark Johnson, Wayne Taylor and Appaloosa, and his own Emory Lester Set, as well as a roster of famous notables such as Del McCoury, Tony Rice, Steve Martin (on The David Letterman Show), Babik Reinhardt (son of Django), and Jim Hurst, to name a few. He has a long and impressive body of recordings including nine solo albums, all of which showcase Emory's skills as a composer, arranger and creative multi-instrumentalist. A sought-after instructor of mandolin, banjo and guitar, he has a world-wide roster of online students and has taught at many prestigious music camps and workshops in the U.S., Canada, Europe and the U.K. for the past 25 years.

Great Lakes Mandoberlin Camp
Brian Oberlin, Don Stiernberg and the students of the 2017 Great Lakes Mandolin Camp.

Testimonial on Brian Oberlin’s teaching style

Brian met, and vastly exceeded my musical expectations. I really like him, and his casual teaching style that does not single out the confused players, although he teaches to them. Further, he encourages the good players, with ideas for them to arrange and grow musically . . . all the while being a spot-on musician as a role model for us all. I have consumed a lot of classes over the past few years, and there is a lighter attitude in this adult education field, that some really great musicians haven't cultivated yet. They put in their 10,000 hours on that instrument to get on the first rung of the fame ladder, and you should put in that work, too, before they will waste any time with you. A good teacher realizes that you are here because you want more, and haven't gotten there yet . . . maybe need someone to encourage you along a few of those hours, and say what you could do to make it easier, or more fun. Brian Oberlin has both the compassion and expertise to make it work.”
Karen Leis, Anchorage, Alaska
November 2014