More than 150 elementary, middle and high school students from several states attended the first summer music camp sponsored by the Paducah Symphony Orchestra (PSO) this week at West Kentucky Community and Technical College.
The finale of the week-long camp will be a performance showcasing the musical pieces the young musicians learned during the camp. The performance, which is free and open to the public, will be held in the WKCTC Clemens Fine Arts Center on Friday, June 21. The elementary students will perform from 11:00-11:30 a.m. and the middle and high school students’ performance will begin at 1:00 p.m.
The camp provided students in the fourth through twelfth grades with an opportunity to improve their musical talents in several musical areas taught by more than twelve music educators and PSO members from around the region. Elementary students, vocal and beginning strings; middle school students, vocal, strings, woodwinds, brass and percussion; high school students, vocal, strings and jazz studies.
Students from the following Kentucky counties participated in the camp: Ballard, Calloway, Crittenden, Graves, Marshall and McCracken. Also participating in the camp were students from Massac County and Johnson County in southern Illinois and Cape Girardeau in southeast Missouri, as well as more than twenty homeschool students. xxxxStudents visiting from Alabama and Idaho also signed up for the camp. Nathan Fox, 16, has never been in choir before. “Everyone was so focused here. When I get home, I will be in my first year in choir, and this camp will get me up to speed.”
Musical camps can be very expensive, some running between $6,000 and $15,000, said Art DeWeese, camp director and retired Paducah Tilghman choral director. But that’s not what the PSO wanted for Paducah.
Through a fundraising effort with the Power to Give web site, designated specifically for arts orientated programs, and matching funds from the Kentucky Arts Council, scholarships were offered to help keep the camp affordable for students. Money from PSO's Singoff in April was earmarked for educational purposes; some of the money was used to help fund the camp, as well as a mini-grant from the Ronald McDonald House.
"It was important for us to provide these students with a quality music camp and make it affordable for them,” said Catherine Trampe, PSO co-vice president of education.
"If it weren't for the scholarship I received, I wouldn't have been able to attend this camp,” said Meagan Golden, 17, a Paducah Tilghman senior in the high school vocal workshop. Golden wants to be a music teacher and said the camp offered her the chance to learn more than she could learn in her high school choir. The students got the opportunity to rehearse the audition piece for the Kentucky Music Education All-state Competition to be held in Louisville early next year.
"I'm very glad I signed up,” said Luke McFall, 12, a seventh grader at Massac County Middle School. “I was looking for a place with people like me that love to play music, and I'm improving a lot too." Fellow brass enthusiast, Emma LeFevre, a Ballard Middle School eighth grader, agreed saying “being able to be play music with people who have the same interests and learning at the same time, made it fun for me.”
DeWeese said WKCTC was the perfect setting for the music camp. “From the theatre to all the classrooms, Dr. Veazey (WKCTC president) and the faculty and staff opened the campus to us and bent over backwards to make us feel welcome,” DeWeese added. “And we are very pleased with the response from the students; we feel our participation will double next year.”