A Few Changes to Membership

change in membership rhythm

If you’re a detail-oriented person (as many of us are!), you have already noticed a few changes in our membership program this year. We want to keep you in the loop, so you understand what prompted these decisions.

First increase since 2009

First, the cost of a core membership is now $75. This is the first rate increase since 2009. Camp tuition payments do not cover all the costs of putting on our workshops, and the cost of renting the Mendocino and Iroquois Springs facilities, by far the largest item in our budget, has gone up over the past several years. The discount rate for students, low-income, and working artists remains at $35.

A different kind of thank-you

Second, we have removed the thank-you gift options for higher levels of giving. We looked at whether offering EEFC bottles, totebags and earplugs encouraged people to donate more. Overall, it did not. We also looked at what other organizations do and professional fundraisers advise. And we realized that your thank-you gift really is ensuring that we can keep creating excellent programs for you to enjoy. (Oh, and the totes, bottles, and t-shirts won’t go to waste. We’ll still have them available for purchase online and at the summer workshops.)

Memberships run January-December

Finally, after much consideration, we have returned to memberships that run January through December. Last year we tried an annual, by-month schedule, which needed much more effort than we could capably implement. We also concluded that a calendar-year model helps us more effectively manage finances and measure how we meet annual fundraising goals. So, what does this mean for you? If you became a member between October and December 2015, your membership will be counted through the end of December 2016. If you became a member midway through 2015, we will keep your name on the website through 2016 to make sure we’re being fair. If you always become a member when you register for camp, you may certainly continue to do that. However, we encourage you to consider changing your pattern and become a member now, not only because it will ensure you are acknowledged for a full year of support, but also because your donation will help us plan more effectively for the 2016 season.

To join or renew your membership use the online form.

2015-2016 Fundraising Appeal


“Camp community is year-round and lifelong.”

“When my life is stressful, I actually dream about being at Balkan Camp, and wake up feeling more at peace.”

“I hope that I can continue to attend, and if I have a family someday, it will be at the top of my list for summer vacation options.”

“Balkan Camp has influenced who I am. Openness, inclusiveness, generosity and fun spirit, love of incredible music and wonderful friendships.”

“It is my annual recharging. It fuels my creative side for the entire year.”

“It was a week full of fun, listening, dancing, getting to know new people, making music with everyone. It was a very welcoming and friendly environment. From the first day, I felt like it was my family. Thank you so much for this wonderful organization!”

“The friends and connections I made at camp are amazing. I feel like I am part of a deeply rooted community of people who share one of the most rich folk cultures I have ever experienced.”

“Balkan Camp will always be a major part of my life. My marriage of 23 years, my musical life, the majority of my creative side and that which I hold most dear to my heart would not exist but for these workshops.”

“Can we do it again next week?”


Let’s do it again…and again…

We hope that everyone who attends the Balkan Music & Dance Workshops has a similar reaction… Can we do it again next year? The answer is YES! But it takes all of us to make that possible. It is your generosity that allows the EEFC to create the top-quality Balkan experiences that you look forward to all year.

The EEFC needs your help to make 2016 a year chock-full of Balkan music, dance and joy. We must raise $48,000 in donations to bridge the gap between expected income and expenses. Our goal is
to raise a third of that—$18,000—by December 31. Help us get there—please make your donation today!

Yes, I want to support the EEFC

Tuition alone does not cover the cost of producing the summer Balkan workshops. In recent years, tuition and other earned income have met 80% of costs, while membership gifts and other donations covered about 13%. We have had to dip into reserves to pay the remainder. As you renew your membership, please consider increasing your level of giving to help keep EEFC programs viable into the future.

We understand that some in our community have limited ability to donate financially in these tough times. If this is you, we can still use your help! Students, working artists, and low-income folks are eligible for membership at a reduced cost. If staying on budget is your main concern, consider becoming a Sustaining Member, which allows you to give as little as $15 a month. Your gift, no matter what size, makes a difference—because it shows you support our community.

Please take a moment to remember the life-affirming, magical moments we have experienced together. Every time we gather to share beautiful music and experience genuine community, we are incredibly lucky. That luck starts with you. Keep our circle strong by supporting the EEFC.
Thank you!

—Amy Mills, on behalf of the Board of Directors and Development Committee
November 2015

Bay Area EEFC Scholarship Created

Greg Jenkins |

Longtime Mendocino Kids’ Band teacher Greg Masaki Jenkins reports:

Balkan Evenings is a series every Sunday night at Cafe Revolution (22nd & Bartlett in San Francisco, from 8:30-11:30) organized by Sean Tergis that features Bay Area Balkan bands or an open brass jam with a rotating house band. Since this last time it fell on the day after the Mendocino Balkan Camp, I knew it would be mobbed, and I had the idea to use the proceeds to raise money for a half-scholarship for camp. We ended up raising $515, which is more than enough!

We made some money from the bar but most of our take came from tips contributed by the musicians. The whole thing wouldn’t have been possible if the following folks (most who have been to Mendo before, some returning from their first year!) hadn’t shown up and donated their time and kefi:

Peter Bonos, Tano Brock, Dan Cantrell, Shane Cox, David Fine, Joey Friedman, Darren Johnston, Jenavieve Kachmarik, Larry Leight, Will Magid, Matthew Fass, Marco Peris, David Solnit, Evan Stuart, Balder ten Cate, Sean Tergis, Wayne Van Lieu, as well as Mendo 2014-15 sax and clarinet teacher Vlado Pupinoski, who brought the music to new heights of excitement and soulfulness.

It was a great party, complete with a crowd-surfing Ivan Velev (getting dangerously close to the ceiling fans) and a packed house full of joyous dancers. Special thanks to all who passed the bucket around. Proceeds will go towards the EEFC Kef Scholarship Fund, and will be designated for a Bay Area musician and first-time camper—hopefully someone who will join us for future Balkan Evenings!


Consider donating to the EEFC Scholarship fund.

Want to help raise funds in your own community, to support the work of the EEFC? We’re happy to help get you started. Contact us.

EEFC Donation Stores

Donation Stores on Both Coasts

The West Coast Donation Store at Mendocino Camp sells a variety of items, and the East Coast Camp has a Jewelry Donation Store. If you’re not attending this year’s workshop, you can still support the EEFC by sending items to camp with friends or by mailing items to the store staff.


Mendocino Donation Store

If you are coming to West Coast Camp this is your annual reminder to look through your house for all the great items that you don’t need any more, but would be enjoyed by others, to donate to this fundraiser for the EEFC!

The West Coast Donation Store accepts folkloric items, special clothing, jewelry, accessories, books, CDs, instruments, music and dance related items, and many other things. Is it time to give up that beautiful garment that no longer fits? Cull your recordings and books? Find a new owner for that amazing souvenir you picked up? The full price of everything donated goes directly to the EEFC.

WE ARE ESPECIALLY HOPING TO INCREASE OUR INVENTORY OF MEN’S CLOTHING AND COSTUME ITEMS THIS YEAR. (People always ask for more men’s stuff, but very little is usually donated.)

(We kindly request that you NOT send the following items as they historically do not sell: cassettes, vinyl records, everyday clothing, EEFC shirts from previous years, household items unrelated to music or folklore, or anything damaged or stained.)

For more information, please contact Linnea Mandell.


East Coast Donation Store

The Donation Store at Iroquois Springs is all about jewelry and all the proceeds go directly to the EEFC. For more information about what to donate, how and when, watch for updates or contact Jewelry Donation Storekeep Marion Blumenthal.

Party on at Balkan Camp in Mendocino!

Fabulous evening dance parties, along with sing-alongs and folklore presentations!

If you happen to be in the Northern California area during the time of the upcoming Balkan Music & Dance Workshop in the Mendocino Woodlands, you are welcome to attend one or more of our fabulous evening dance parties, along with sing-alongs and folklore presentations.


Here’s the deal:

  • You may arrive on site any time after 7:45 and stay until 2:30 a.m. Check in and pay at the Kafana.
  • Overnight accommodations are not available unless you formally register, so please make sure you have a safe way home. Want to stay longer? Register here.
  • The cost per evening is $35 per person; this includes the evening’s live music party in the dance hall and music in the Kafana cafe-bar; also you are welcome
  • Please sign up for evening parties with the EEFC office by phone (510/547-1118) or e-mail before June 26. Tell us the names of the people in your party and which night(s) you wish to attend.

See the evening schedule and find directions to the Woodlands here. See you there!


So Many Great Reasons…

Lanphier_Mendo Percussion Class

We know if you’ve ever been to Balkan camp, you will likely agree that it is what has been called “the gold standard.”

We also know that you have a choice when it comes to summer workshops and tours. Many in our community are lucky enough to look forward this summer to attending the festival in Koprivshtica, Bulgaria, an event that only comes ‘round every five years. Make no mistake—we’re happy when we hear that our friends and fellow community members get an opportunity to visit the Balkans. But if you still haven’t made your summer plans, or if your sights aren’t set upon trans-Atlantic travel for whatever reason, consider joining us in the Mendocino Woodlands or the Catskill Mountains this year.


The Balkan Music & Dance Workshops are life-changing gatherings.

But don’t take our word for it. Here is a small sample of comments from last year’s workshop attendees:

“The teachers are all tops in their fields—how do you do it?”

“On the slowest day, I learned more than I would in months of study otherwise.”

“Balkan camp is my annual milestone. I actually think of it as the year marker, more than birthdays or anniversaries or New Year’s. I spend the following year practicing what I learned.”

“I love the age range, the shared love of Balkan cultures, and the way we look for what is common, rather than that which divides us.”

“The instruction and faculty are amazing, but I think the other important aspect is the community building—with people near and not so near our homes. Dozens of new faces become dear friends in just a handful of days.”

“To have the opportunity to be in my music head, unencumbered by my daily life for a whole week in a row, is valuable beyond count.”

“The collective love that we all have for this music and dance is a magical thing. Being able to share it in a multi-generational setting is always a wonderful experience. And the opportunity to learn from tradition-bearers in such an intimate setting is just fantastic.”

“EEFC workshops are incredibly special to me. I feel completely at home, welcomed, embraced, by the whole EEFC community, which is incredibly validating, and I am carried along all week by a huge wave of joy at being with so many other people who love music and dance so much. Even more important to me than all of this, however, are the teachers who share their art with such generosity and love. I am always moved and inspired by their example, and every year I leave camp feeling nourished, refreshed, and ready to give what I have to give over the course of the next year in the context of my own life.”

“Being completely immersed in such musical excellence and variety for an entire week is incomparable. It is the anti-Twitter!!”



Register now for Mendocino or Iroquois Springs.

And NOTE: To encourage you to sign up, we are waiving the after-deadline tuition surcharge! But hey, even if you aren’t joining us this summer, take Craig Kurumada’s 10-Camper Pledge and help spread the word. You, my friends, are EEFC’s best ambassadors.

EEFC and the Great Ripple Effect

Zlatne Usted at Balkan Camp

When you experience a memorable evening of music and dancing, who gets the credit?

Most of us tend to think of the great musicians playing and singing their hearts out, sharing their phenomenal music with us. Our souls surge with the energy of the moment. Perhaps during a break in the music we might muse upon the musicians’ depth of talent. We may even reflect on the practice and rehearsing it takes to achieve a high level of kef-producing energy. But, how often does the question cross our minds: “Hmm, where did they learn this? Who taught them their craft?”

Rather than wait for an epiphany on the dance floor, now is the time to ponder the association between the Balkan Music & Dance Workshops and the final product of the many bands, choirs and dance organizations that owe so much of their repertoire to the EEFC, and why it’s good for such groups to support the EEFC by becoming contributing members. Money from our fundraising drives helps the EEFC keep a steady, reliable income stream to ensure the continuation of our good works: providing a safe and open venue for experienced and beginning musicians and dancers to meet, mix, learn from one another, and share their art.


Take the 10-Camper Pledge!

Another excellent way to support the EEFC is to steer more potential campers to the Workshops. If every one of the nearly five hundred campers nationwide each told ten people about camp, we could entice a large group of newcomers to the fold, so we’d never have under-attended camps. Therefore, I, Craig Kurumada, hereby pledge to tell at least ten people about Balkan camp. I plan to talk to leaders of a couple of local bands with a good deal of brass players, some talented dancers at an arts school, and members of various choirs and song circles in my neighborhood. Ten people? It’ll easily morph into twenty. Won’t you join me in my pledge?


Support Your Local Folk Musician

What happens if newcomers balk at the tuition for camp? Your own folk dance or music group can be of service! In our town, Arcata, California, the local folk dance group, the Humboldt Folk Dancers, allots a part of its annual budget to support people going to music and dance camps. From our experience, we recommend doing the kinds of activities you’re already comfortable with and can do with relative ease, for example, a one-time party with a prize drawing and a slightly elevated entrance fee. Tack on an extra buck or two. If you only raise a hundred bucks, do it three or four times a year. If you have a band, play one or two shows a year with the door set aside for camp scholarships.


The Bottom Line

Small contributions in money and effort over time will pay significant rewards. Investing in music for dancing, as we know from those great moments on the dance floor, is worth it. I invite you now to be part of the Great Balkan Camp Ripple Effect. Support the EEFC by donating money, spreading the word, and supporting your local community’s workshop attendees.

See you at camp!

—Craig Kurumada

Have other ideas or want to know more about HFD’s experience with funding local scholarships? Write to Craig via the EEFC Office and put “Attention: Craig” as the subject.

A Banner Year for Scholarships

By Amy Mills, EEFC Board Member
Published May 13, 2015

Amidst the hellos and hugs on the first day at camp, one of my favorite moments is when the new scholarship recipients are announced during orientation. It’s a moment to cheer for new acquaintances and greet old friends. This year, I suspect there will be a roar of enthusiasm—an unprecedented number of scholarship recipients will be attending the Balkan Music & Dance workshops this summer, thanks to the generosity of our community.

Since the scholarship program was started in 2003, the equivalent of 58.5 full-time scholarships have helped 78 recipients attend one of the summer workshops. Over the years, we’ve been able to offer as many as 13 and as few as two. A total of $16,825.50 was donated for the 2015 season. When combined with two endowed scholarships, this allows us to support the equivalent of 18.5 full-time scholarships this year. A great huzzah and hearty thank you to each of you who donated to the program!

Scholarships have now been awarded for both 2015 summer workshops. These include the equivalent of 15.5 Crum/Kef scholarships, as well as one funded by Balkan Night Northwest, one honoring Stefni Agin, one honoring Lillie Cooper, and two Čoček Nation half-scholarships for young musicians attending Iroquois Springs. Thank you to the members of the Scholarship Committee for donating much time and energy to select this year’s recipients.

Scholarships are a fantastic way to spread the joy of Balkan music and dance. They help us build community by bringing new faces into the circle. They let us support one another in a tough economy by making it possible for community members with limited means participate fully. And they can make it affordable for participants from more remote communities to attend. They create a ripple effect when scholars return home to share their passion and new knowledge.

Scholarships are also helping us cultivate the next generation of leaders, performers and community members. For example, this year, 2012 recipient Alex Marković will be teaching dance at both camps, and 2009 recipient Corinne Sykes has taken the Site Manager reins at Mendocino. Many other recipients are sharing music and dance in their own communities around the world.

One other key thing that scholarships do is to help EEFC remain viable. This is because a scholarship not only helps fill camp, it does so directly. 100% of scholarship donations go to tuition costs to bring someone to camp. The number of scholarships awarded each year depends directly on funds donated by our community. Supporting scholarships is one of the most effective ways that we can help spread the joy of Balkan music and dance.

Please take a moment to learn more about scholarships and how you can support them on our website. And if you’re attending camp this summer, join me at orientation to cheer on our new scholars and our generous community!

Kukeri in the Woodlands—Become a Magical Beast of the Forest


Annie Hallatt and Brenna MacCrimmon present a project to create kukeri-inspired Carnival characters to populate our parade, feast and party in the Mendocino Woodlands. In Bulgarian folk culture, masked kukeri chase away evil spirits and encourage good health, happiness and fertility during the New Year and Lenten seasons. Throughout Mendocino camp week a special work area will be available to teens, kids and elders to explore photos and documentation of traditional ceremonial masks and costumes, then to design a costume and construct it under the guidance of maskmaker Annie Hallatt.

Possible projects include the hairy, horned beasts called Dracs who dance with huge bells that we will make from tin cans, forest witches, and ridiculous clowns and fools. Each character will be arrayed in full costume. Materials will include papier mâché, cardboard, wooden frames, fur (real or not), feathers, fabric cut into fringe and fastened to existing clothing. Cool buttons and assorted strange bits will also find a home in our materials trunk.

We will make videos and photos available for you to get ideas from. We will bring paper for design sketches, as well as paint, clay, paste, hot glue, sewing stuff, and tin cans and hanging knobs to make our rattling bells sound.

Annie and Brenna have designed their kukeri project especially for young adults, but we encourage anyone who is interested to join in the fun. Project hours will be held outside of official workshop class hours.

Want to help create the magic? If you have gathered images of kukeri and Carnival in your Balkan travels (or even in your North American ones!) and would be willing to share them with us to help inform and inspire our creations we’d be most grateful. We’ll be setting up a webpage for them before camp and will work out a way to make them viewable at the Woodlands as well. When you send us your images, please tell us as much as you can about when and where the image was taken, how to credit it, and let us know whether we may make these viewable online or just offline. Formats:  JPEG, GIF or PNG. Send your images and their accompanying information to

About Annie Hallatt:
Annie’s experience is first as an educator, then as a mask, puppet and set fabricator. Her inspiration comes from Anna Halprin and her Tamalpa community dance structures, Bread and Puppet Theatre, Antenna Theatre, outdoor theatre in Sausalito parks, Green Gulch community pageants with a four-person dancing elephant, and gold Buddha. See her website at

Annie encourages you to contact her directly if you have questions or want to start early on the project. Annie Hallatt,, 510-548 8252.

The 2014 Iroquois Springs Photo DVD from Margaret Loomis

margaret-loomis-dvd 2014

Hello Iroquois Springs Campers & Friends of EEFC,

Once again, Margaret Loomis offers her wonderful DVD of photos from 2014’s Iroquois Springs workshop. For the past 14 years, Margaret has generously provided this wonderful service to our workshop attendees as a fundraiser for the EEFC. If you’ve ever perused the photo albums in the IS dance hall, you know what a great job Margaret does at capturing the joy and history of our community.

The 2014 DVD contains 978 photos, including:

  • group sings, auction, evening parties, and Kafana scene (including Blender Bands)
  • music and dance classes, student concert, and ensemble performances
  • candid and semi-candid shots throughout the week (lots of pics of our dear kids at camp)

These photos will bring back a lot of memories if you were at camp, or give you a very good idea of the week, if you weren’t there—enjoy it yourself, or use it to convince your friends to come to camp!!

The DVD is a super deal—$30 plus $3 shipping/handling in the U.S.
Please make checks payable to Margaret Loomis. All proceeds go to EEFC. (Photo collections from most past years are also still available.)

Margaret Loomis
10206 Day Ave.
Silver Spring, MD 20910

We at the EEFC heartily thank Margaret, and all of you, for your support of the EEFC!