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Music Camp Reaches Out to Middle School and High School Students

Recent SJSU graduate Joseph Reichert, center, and his percussion pupils perform the song "Funky Buckets" with metal garbage cans, plastic buckets and drumsticks at the Music Building Concert Hall on June 24. Photo by James W. Murray.

Recent SJSU graduate Joseph Reichert, center, and his percussion pupils perform the song "Funky Buckets" at the Music Building Concert Hall on June 24. Photo by James W. Murray.

By Sarah Kyo, Public Affairs Assistant

Music filled the air, as the School of Music and Dance hosted 140 campers at its fifth annual Summer in the City Music Camp, June 19 to 25.

The camp focused on middle school and high school students participating in band and orchestra, in addition to choir for only high school students. Summer in the City exposed campers to SJSU’s music department, said Emily Lane, who has worked at the music camp for five years and has served as a camp director for the last three years.

“It’s fun to see kids come back,” said Lane, an SJSU alumna. “We only see them one week. It’s cool to see them grow after one year.”

Camp co-director Julie Bounds has worked as Santa Teresa High School’s band director for eight years. Before becoming part of the camp’s staff two years ago, Bounds encouraged her students to attend Summer in the City and heard of their positive experiences.

Bounds said the camp reaches out to diverse demographics and a wide-range of socioeconomic levels. Local music instructors have the opportunity to offer scholarships to their students for this music camp.

Campers had the option of commuting from home or living on campus during the week. A typical day for the campers included sectional rehearsals that focus on their particular instrument, lunch at the Dining Commons, electives and chamber ensembles. There were evening shows and activities, as well as a final concert on June 24.

Instructors included School of Music and Dance director Dr. Edward Harris; SJSU staff, students and alumni; and community members. Members of the Massachusetts-based chamber group Nautilus Brass Quintet also served as instructors. Walker Beard, an SJSU alumnus, plays the trumpet in the quintet and taught trumpet and brass chamber music at the camp.

Beard said teaching campers of varying ages and musical experience in the same class can be a challenge, but he enjoys seeing the vast improvement in all of the young people in one week.

Jason McChristian, a SJSU graduate student, said his favorite part of teaching music composition at the camp is “when the kids come up with something original and they like it. It makes me very happy.”