Saturday, June 18, 2011

2011 Youth Strings Camp

The Mountain Arts Community Center sponsored the second annual Youth Strings Camp on Signal Mountain this past week.  Although C was slightly on the young side (they let her in based on playing level) she was able to participate all day, every day for the past week.  She had a really good time and is already talking about next year!

They had a great faculty of teachers and coaches from the local CSO (Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra) and also brought in Joseph Lee, Resident Conductor of the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra, Music Director of the Murfreesboro Symphony Orchestra, Music Director of the Huntsville Youth Orchestra, and Music Director of the University Orchestra at Sewanee, University of the South. He also has several other appointments and positions including one in Costa Rica to which he travels about 4 times a year. He brought 9 students and their instructor up from Costa Rica with him to the camp. He had a wonderful rapport with all the kids and they thoroughly enjoyed his leadership and instruction.

They also brought in U.S. composer, Robert J. Bradshaw from Gloucester, Massachusetts.  He had been commissioned to compose a piece specifically for this strings camp and was here all week to oversee it and to teach composition classes, give lectures, etc.  Gorgeous piece which I'll include at the end. He composed it in the style of a Concerto Grosso, and depicted the recent storms we've had in the south - a little hair-raising to hear it, but exciting music!

A nice feature of the strings camp was the opportunity for small chamber groups of various sizes and abilities every day.  C was in a trio and played the cello part of the Corelli Christmas Concerto during the chamber segment.

Classes offered included Conducting, Composition, Ear training and Theory, and Improvisation. C did the Conducting class, with Professor Lee.  I have a hunch she might end up doing some conducting farther on down the road - she has a good sense of rhythm, memorizes music easily, knows how to play more than one instrument and wants to learn to play others, and loves to direct people, ha ha.  We'll see in 10 or 15 years...I'll get back to you, Lord willing.

Here are a few pics from the week at Signal Mountain Middle High School:

Unpacking on the first day.  This is at a new school which has a whole wing dedicated to the arts - music, fine art and drama including a +- 2 - 300 seat theatre, 2 to 4 art classrooms and practice rooms and rehearsal halls galore.  This photo is of one of the practice halls, almost as large as a gymnasium as you can see below too!

This was early on the first day so only a few people had arrived.

Our arts wing entrance.

A small group rehearsal with Mrs. Sandy Morris, conductor of the Youth Philharmonic Orchestra downtown.  All the faculty were of the highest caliber!

On Friday afternoon they had chamber group performances.  This is the cello choir performing.

This is C's trio about to perform the Corelli.

Friday evening's performance in the theatre.  This is one of the orchestras, led by Maestro Joseph Lee.  3 CSO members joined in for the concert - the only time C will probably ever play first cello chair over two CSO members!!!

This lady is the main benefactor of the MACC youth strings camp, Norma Witherspoon. We are all grateful for her support!

Another of the orchestras performing.

Group shot at the end.  My camera hates the glare from bright lights!!! Mr Lee and Mr Bradshaw on the left.

Standing for applause at the end after the obligatory Ashokan Farewell.  C is on the far right, in front.

I haven't formatted the video for publishing yet, but when I do, I'll put the Bradshaw and others, here. If you know of any up and coming strings player from 6th - 12th grade, I recommend this camp for overall musical growth and lots of fun!

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