Dates: June 15-17, 2018

Non-credit: $300
One graduate credit: $425


Program Description

Study with the Pros!  You'll perform jazz ensemble big band under the guidance of our nationally recognized teaching artist faculty. This workshop for adults is open to all levels of experience, from beginner to advanced.  Whether you're perfecting your jazz skills or need to polish the dust off your instrument or polish up your jazz vocals, this workshop is for you!

Features of the camp include:
Jazz Improvisation and Theory
Listening: Learning From The Masters
Evening Faculty Performances
Opportunity to immerse yourself in music, nature, quiet woods, a sandy beach, and a pretty good hang with other jazz enthusiasts. 

The Shell Lake Jazz Experience
Some of America's most acclaimed jazz musicians attended the Shell Lake Arts Center.  Check out our alumni:

Ethan Iverson (The Bad Plus)

Geoff Keezer (Art Blakey, David Sanborn)

Lyle Mays (Pat Metheny Group)

Saxophonist Bill Evans (Miles Davis, Randy Brecker)

Trumpeter Byron Stripling

Thousands of great performers and educators studied at Shell Lake.  Join us this summer to make your own jazz history.

Sign Up Now!
Space is limited, so sign up early!

Instruments for this camp include:

About Us

The mission of the Shell Lake Arts Center is to provide creative arts education and enrichment experiences for diverse populations of youth and adult learners.  This year marks our 51st year, and we are home to the oldest continuous jazz music camp in the nation.  Summer programming consists of music and visual art camps for middle and high school students, workshops for adults, and programs for anyone interested in the arts. 

Join us near the beautiful shores of Shell Lake, where you will find no stop lights, no fast food, and not even a strip mall.  Instead, you’ll find a sandy beach, many nature trails, a community of friendly neighbors, and a flurry of artistic fun at the Shell Lake Arts Center.  

Many former SLAC participants have become world-class performers, teachers, and artists. Examples include Grammy-nominated soprano Caroline Worra, Broadway musicians Byron Stripling and Larry Lelli, Kevin Bents (who works with pop singer Jewel); Mark Lewer (worked with Michael Jackson); Tom Luer (with Queen Latifah); Geoff Keezer (with Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers); Carolyn Kafer (with Doc Severinsen); and pianist Ethan Iverson, now part of the trio Bad Plus, one of the hottest touring and recording jazz groups today. 


The Arts Center is located in Shell Lake, a tiny town in rural northwestern Wisconsin (population 1,309). It is just a block from the downtown businesses and a block from the city beach, campground and lakefront pavilion. The quiet woods and clear lakes of Washburn County provide a unique backdrop where master artists from throughout the county share their energy and talents. Over 30,000 visitors from 49 states and 18 countries have participated in programs and activities at the Center. The Center’s motto:  Master Teachers, Magic Setting aptly portrays the rare quality of experiences participants describe having at Shell Lake.

We are located in the heart of Northwest Wisconsin’s lake country just 80 miles north of Eau Claire, 100 miles east of the Twin Cities, 80 miles southeast of Duluth-Superior, and 250 miles from Madison, Wisconsin. 

Nearest Commercial Airport

The Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport (MSP) is located 2 hours west of Shell Lake in the Twin Cities. MSP:

Airport pick-up and drop-off are available through the Shell Lake Arts Center for a fee of $125.00.  Please contact the center to make arrangements. 

If you have access to a private plane, there is a small airport located in Shell Lake.  For information, call Shell Lake City Hall at 715-468-7679.


Meals during the Music Weekend Workshops will be on your own. 

Off-Campus Housing

The Center has a partnership with the following hotels in Spooner that offer discounted rates to workshop participants:

Country House Motel 715-635-8721 (Spooner)  Website:


If you love to camp, the Shell Lake Municipal Campground is right alongside the lake a quarter mile from the Center; reservations can be made by calling 715-468-7846. 


The Red Barn Campground is another campground located 2 miles outside of Shell Lake.


Other Activities to do in the Area

You will be attracted to the relaxed atmosphere and natural beauty of the Center surroundings, to the national reputation of our facilitators, and to the tourism opportunities that are available through events and attractions unique to this area. Washburn County has a growing arts-based economy including five galleries.  Area events that coincide with this Music Series include Jack Pine Savage Days and the Washburn County Fair in Spooner.  Other attractions that are in close proximity to Shell Lake are the Lucius Woods Performing Arts Center in Solon Springs, Hunt Hill Audubon Sanctuary in Sarona, and the many opportunities in the Hayward area.  These many opportunities are available to the families of the Music Series participants, making it possible to put together a vacation package in which every family member can find activities to fit their needs and desires.  

Program Fee

Non-credit participant: $300
One graduate credit: $425

Because we believe that everyone deserves a master teacher, we strive to make our workshops the most affordable around. 

No one can match our quality and price!

Schedule (subject to change per discretion of program director)

Registration and Check-In by 2p
2p Introduction, meet and greet, warm up
3p-5p Big Band Rehearsal 
5p Dinner and Freetime
7p-10p Faculty Concert at the Potter's Shed

8a Breakfast
9a Section Masterclasses
10a Big Band Rehearsal

11a Break

11:15a Big Band Rehearsal
Noon Lunch and Freetime
1:30 Big Band Rehearsal

3p Break

3:15p Improvisation Session
5p Dinner
7p Jazz History Session

 8:30p Reception for workshop participants

8a Breakfast
9a Sectional Masterclass (Brass, Rhythm, Saxophones, Vocal)
10a Final Big Band Rehearsal
11a Check Out of dorms

11 Soundcheck at Lakefront Pavilion

12p Concert at Lakefront Pavilion

1p Workshop concludes

Schedule subject to change based on conductor discretion, instrumentation, or other program needs.

Camp Features

Jazz Improvisation and Theory
Listening: Learning From The Masters
Evening Faculty Performances
Opportunity to immerse yourself in music, nature, quiet woods, a sandy beach, and a pretty good hang with fellow jazz enthusiasts. 

2018 Instructors

Robert Baca

Greg Keel

Keri Johnsrud

Find full instructor bios here

Payments and Refunds

Registrations are accepted on a first-come basis.  Half of the course fee is due with registration, with the balance due upon arrival at the Shell Lake Arts Center.  All cancellations must be made in writing and received 3 weeks in advance of the start of the workshop. A $50.00 processing fee will be deducted from your refund. No other refunds will be provided without 3 weeks notice. All refunds will be processed at the end of the camp season.    


Watch our 2018 General Camp & Workshop Video:

Contact Us

Shell Lake Arts Center
PO Box 315
802 First Street
Shell Lake, WI 54871

Additional Information

Questions? Feel free to contact us for any additional information.

To request disability accommodations, or other special requests, please contact the Center two weeks in advance.  More information about the camp and all of the opportunities available at the Shell Lake Arts Center can be found on our website.

Participants are admitted without regard to race, color, national origin, age, or handicap.  Shell Lake Arts Center is an inclusive organization, and we accept all artists and musicians.