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3rd Annual Great Lakes Mandolin Camp – Chicago Edition – October 18 – 19, 2019

Great Lakes Mandolin Camp

The 3rd annual Great Lakes Mandolin Camp - Chicago Edition - is October 18-19, 2019 at the DoubleTree/Hilton Chicago North Shore in Skokie, Illinois. The instructors are Camp founder Brian Oberlin (teaching swing, bluegrass and classical) and Don Stiernberg (teaching swing and jazz.)  At this two day event of mandolin immersion, each Camper will experience seven - 75 minute workshops from Brian and Don, structured and non-structured jams and the faculty concert featuring performances by the Don Stiernberg Trio and Brian Oberlin's, Michigan based bluegrass and beyond band, Full Cord.   The maximum student capacity is 25.  The cost is an affordable $200.   Sponsor, Elderly Instruments will be giving every Camper a gift package while the first 10 to sign-up will receive a special gift package.

The Workshops and Level of Instruction

Students will attend six-75 minute workshops (three with Don and three with Brian) and an additional 75 minute Q&A workshop with Don and Brian where students will be able to ask questions while the two are playing and discussing their musical thoughts and ideas.  The primary focus of the teaching materials will be swing, jazz, bluegrass, Italian classical and technique for the beginner/intermediate to advanced mandolin player.  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. All of the educational materials will be in standard notation and mandolin tablature.   The maximum capacity of the Great Lakes Mandolin Camp is 25 students (ages 12 and older).  All mandolin family instruments are welcome but the instruction will be for standard mandolin.  The workshops will be in the Barcelona room on the ground level of the hotel.

How to Sign-up

Participants must RSVP to GLMC III by sending Brian Oberlin an email to brian(at)mandoberlin(dot)com detailing these 6 points....
1. Students name
2. Email address
3. Phone number
4. Mandolin playing ability (1 being beginner and 10 being advanced – Don't be shy!!)
5. If the Camper is staying at the hotel or commuting.
6. How the deposit (or payment in full) will be made.
An email receipt will be sent to each Camper upon receiving registration and payment

How to Pay

A deposit of $50 is required to hold your spot at the Camp.  Payments can be made via PayPal to brian(at)mandoberlin(dot)com or check payments (payable to Brian Oberlin) can be mailed to
Brian OberlinElderly Instruments
P.O. Box 272
Rockford, MI  49341

Sponsor - Elderly Instruments Gift Package

Elderly Instruments of Lansing, Michigan is sponsoring this year's GLMC Camp.  Every Camper will receive a gift package while the first 10 to sign-up will receive a special gift package!!!

Hotel Reservations or Commuting

There is a special GLMC room rate of $179 per night at the DoubleTree/Hilton Chicago North Shore. To experience the Camp to its fullest, it is advisable to stay at the hotel as there will be structured and non-structured jamming on Friday and Saturday nights.  Upon registration, Campers will be sent an email detailing how they can reserve guest rooms at the special rate.  Guest room reservations must be made before September 17, 2019. Commuters are very welcome and encouraged to join the Camp.  Parking is free. 

Commuters are very welcome and encouraged to join the Camp.  Parking is free

Basic Schedule

The Camp will begin promptly at 5:30 pm at the hotel on Friday, October 18.  Workshops and jams will commence until 10:00 or 11:00 PM.  Saturday's events will start at 9:00 am with the faculty concert starting at 7:30 pm.  Campers will receive detailed instructions, schedules and Camp materials upon registration.

What to Bring

Campers are welcome to bring any instrument, but all instruction will be focused on mandolin.  The necessities are a portable music stand and writing utensils.  Optional items include snacks, beverages and small recording devices.  If you intend on buying merchandise that the instructors will be selling, please bring cash or check. 


GLMC Camper are responsible for bringing and/or buying their own food.

The Faculty Concert

The Faculty Concert will include the amazing Don Stiernberg Trio and Brian Oberlin's, Michigan based bluegrass and beyond band Full Cord featuring the young and talented Grant Flick on fiddle.   The concert is free for all registered GLMC Campers and is open to the public for a suggested donation.   This concert, starting around 7:30 pm, will take place in the Barcelona room on the ground level of the hotel.

Cancellation Policy

Cancellations made before September 17, 2019 will receive a full refund minus a $25 charge.
Cancellations made September 18, 2019 and after will not receive a refund.

The Instructors

Don and Brian

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.


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