In 1942, Fred Ohlendorf was Supervisor of Music for Long Beach School District. He wanted to celebrate a successful summer season of wartime effort performances with his All City Junior High Orchestra.


Years earlier, the family of Fred’s wife, Edna, had established a church camp in the remote mountain town of Arrowbear.  

For one week in late August, he brought the fifty-six musicians to Arrowbear. They played concerts for local vacationers and enjoyed camp activities in the extremely rustic outdoor mountain setting.


Campers had a very worthwhile experience, and parents and teachers saw the value of a musically oriented vacation. The seed was planted and next year everyone wanted to return. The retreat grew into a multi-session summer camp with full activities.

Fred Ohlendorf's Early Guidelines for the Camp 

  1. To develop a deeper love and understanding of music by giving campers a balanced program of music which includes playing, singing, listening, and information about composers/ musicians. 

  2. To provide musical youth with a mountain vacation in the beautiful out-of-doors away from the distractions of city life and the strife and turmoil of world conditions.

  3. To give young people a camp experience, where under the supervision of skilled counselor/teachers, they get valuable experience in getting along harmoniously and working together co-operatively.

  4. To give young people a wholesome, healthy program of regular hours, good food, plenty of sleep, and everything that makes for a healthy life.

  5. To develop character and leadership in youth—the future citizens of our country and world.

“I believe in music as an enrichment for anyone, and I believe that the more they can perform in beautiful organizations of great music and get inspiration and happy memories of great pieces performed...the richer their lives will be.”— Fred Ohlendorf