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Photo by Illiana Moore

Camp Kiya instructors Max Valentino, Arnon Hurwitz and Brynn Albanese perform.

Ever wanted to play the banjo or accordion? The harp, the dulcimer, the ukulele? Do you just love folk music?

Camp Kiya may be the perfect vacation for you this summer.

Starting July 21 and extending through July 25, Camp Kiya offers instruction for almost a score of instruments, plus folk dancing, for all skill levels and ages. Campers will also learn improvisation skills, participate in group performances and listen to concerts given by the instructors.

Camp director Debbie Hand said the growing folk music scene in Tehachapi, supported by several performing venues in the area, created the demand for a music camp.

"We talked with the (now defunct) Arts Coalition about doing an arts camp for years," Hand said. "That never came to fruition."

Hand said while the coalition disbanded, the interest in a folk music camp continued, and she and several other folk musicians decided to organize some kind of gathering.

"By the time we sorted out what we were going to do and booked Tehachapi Mountain Park, we had about 40 people," Hand said. "The news just kind of spread and we ended up with a real camp."

Hand said this year's camp is much larger in scope than in previous years. The group has added two more days, more instructors and improved food service to the camp. Children can take classes through the camp's "Acorns" program, and novices of all ages can take "from scratch" courses -- the camp will even provide instruments.

"There are instruments available but early registration is recommended," Hand said. "And there is a request for a donation to the camp's scholarship fund."

Hand said participants have the option of staying at home and commuting to the camp each day, although that will not change the fees, and one-day classes are also available.

The camp also boasts an impressive list of instructors, from conservatory- and university-trained performers to self-taught artists, most of whom have an impressive list of credits, even international reputations, including Grammy-winning guitarist William Coulter; Tanglewood Festival Orchestra and Boston Philharmonic principal violinist Brynn Albanese; Scottish Fiddlers of Los Angeles founding member and director Jan Tappan; and many others.

"We just know these people," Hand said.

Hand said in addition to her own acquaintances, her husband, Peter Cutler, is the engineer for the long-running radio program "FolkScene" on KPFK.

"He has everybody coming through that show," Hand said.

Full program fees, including all meals and lodging, run $425 for adults; $375 for students; $375 per person in a family of four. Participants who do not take meals at the camp can get a discount for the price of the meals. There are also day rates available.

Registration is available on the camp website,