Since our earliest days, music has been a vital part of the Pemi experience for boys and staff of all ages, whether they consider themselves musicians or not. Singing, strumming, stomping, humming…whatever the tempo or style, sharing music with those around us makes us feel great and plays a large role in creating our community each summer.

Singing after meals

Maybe the best way to take the pulse of Pemi is to be in the Messhall during lunch or supper and to hear the group singing that rocks the rafters every day of the season. Belting out college songs, American favorites, songs written especially for camp—even the occasional Journey anthem—everyone joins in the melodic fun unabashedly and with joy. To put it simply, at Pemi, group singing is cool


As with everything else at camp, you don’t have to be an expert to participate in the music program. While staff varies, in an average summer we offer expert instruction in all sorts of instrumental and vocal music to everyone from beginners on up.

In any given week, you may choose from individual lessons in:

  • piano
  • guitar
  • wind
  • brass
  • drum

or musical group endeavors such as:

  • brass band
  • jazz
  • rock
  • funk combos
  • “sound-painting” (a very trendy improvisational form)
  • a capella


Opportunities for performance come weekly at Saturday campfires and Sunday meetings, as well as during the 4th of July and end-of-season vaudeville shows, Sunday cookout concerts, and one or two other musical events, such at “Pajama Pops.” No one is required to perform, but you’ll find that Pemi audiences are always eager and supportive, so that many a promising musical career has begun in the low-risk realm of campfire and vaudeville – or even in the cabin on a warm July evening.

One of the highlights of every season is the annual Gilbert and Sullivan production. Here as well, boys who may never have sung in front of a crowd find that it’s great to be involved in the music scene at Pemigewassett.

Music Staff

Dorin Dehls came to Pemi in 2009 and is head of the music program. Along with Dorin, Pemi counselors and program staff serve as instructors, each bringing an individual skill, passion, creativity, and love of music to his teaching.


The hub of music occupations, jamming, practice, and musical experimentation is the Junior Lodge, and this is where all instruments are safely stored. Pianos are located in the Senior Lodge and the Messhall, and for those with portable instruments, there’s nothing quite like strumming your guitar with your instructor on the library patio by the lake, or practicing with your a capella group on the porch of the Messhall, looking out over Mt Carr.

A Pemi tradition to the very end

Each night of the final week of camp features “music after taps,” when one of our gifted staff or camper musicians performs a soothing vocal or instrumental bedtime offering for the entire camp community. With microphone and speakers positioned by the lake, notes sweep over the water and through the dark to each listener tucked in his bunk, a musical, traditional countdown signaling the end of the season.

And finally…

Enjoy Pemi’s a capella group performing an original arrangement of The Clam Shell Song. Originally titled Blood, the song was written in 1930 by Dudley Reed, one of Pemi’s founders, and remains a favorite for Messhall singing. Follow that up with their campfire performance of The Whiffenpoof Song.

A recently-introduced song to our messhall singing involves an amazing musical coincidence. Read about Ballad of a Bold, Bad Man >>

Learn more about the music program in Good Vibrations; Music at Pemi >>