Music students spend intense week at camp

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Choosing which camp to attend is a difficult decision for some active students. There are sports camps, Quiz Bowl camps, Scouting adventure camps and music camps offered throughout Southeast Missouri.

But for some music students, the camp of choice is at Southeast Missouri State University. The university offers several summer programs for band and music students who have at least one year of experience in a school setting.

"Camp is a pretty competitive business," said Barry Bernhardt, director of the university band camps. "If you think about how many activities there are, and there's a camp for everything."

Yet 300 students filled the slots for a week of camp at the university. Students from junior and senior high schools around the region worked four days in rehearsals, building up to a performance on the final day of camp.

The students spend eight hours each day practicing, with six hours reserved for full band practice and two hours spent in sectional training.

"They play more at our camp in one day than one week at home," said Bernhardt.

Linda Huck of Farmington, Mo., directed the junior high band. During an afternoon session last week, she would stop the performers every so often during practice of "Tribute and Triumph" to correct mistakes so that the band could play in perfect harmony.

Because each student comes with a different skill level, Huck brought a variety of musical pieces with her to teach.

The students work very hard during their practices and their music reflects their dedication, camp directors say.

"The parents are always amazed when they perform," said Linton Luetje, operations manager for the camp. Parents of elementary-age children are always surprised at the quality of the performance, he said.

The students are playing pieces after only 4 1/2 days that it might have taken them a month to rehearse at home. But camp "is such a concentrated time and we're just cramming their brains with so much," said Bernhardt.

"They're very proud of what they can accomplish in a week's time," Luetje said.

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