Location: Gainesville, Fla., with plans to move in the next year. [Ed. note: As this issue goes to press, Ernie is living in Tromsø, Norway.]
Occupation: I just resigned as 3D and Emerging Technology Services Manager at the Marston Science Library of the University of Florida to open my time up for more art and music making. In the next year I am illustrating/animating an educational video series on data stories and biodiversity, touring my doom-metal sousaphone audiovisual performance Energy Extraction, and collaborating with Control Group Productions in Denver, Colo. on an immersive theatre production title. http://www.ernieroby.com
Connection to Balkan music/dance: I perform with my band, byPassers, who take a lot of influence from Balkan philosophies in sonic space. The love whom I share my life with is from Bojnane, Serbia, where her father still lives on their farm. I also have a relationship with the choir Planina based in Colorado, whom I traveled and performed with in Bulgaria in 2018.
Number of times at Balkan camp: This (2019) was my fourth year attending the EEFC Balkan Music & Dance Workshop.
Studied at camp: I always come ready to be a part of the tuba crew. However, this year I also explored baritone in Catherine Foster’s trumpet class, learning more melodic and ornamental techniques. My main focus, though, is always on the overall community. I come to camp expecting to build and share fun experiences.
Memorable moment at camp: Seeing the youth band return from their summer Balkan adventure was by far the most interesting and inspiring part of camp for me this year. Not only the development of musicianship on their part, but also the deepening of their bonds with each other and the community. I felt that they brought a really fierce energy to camp this year.
Bringing the tuba bath back to the people was a very important actualization that needed to be actualized. This year, we did it in the camp swimming pool. I have been in a lot of, let’s say—unconventional—places with a sousaphone before, but waist-deep in a pool was new to me.