Young Musicians Camp stretches in third year

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 4, 2006

A weeklong music camp at the University of Montevallo last week brought more than a hundred young musicians and vocalists to Shelby County.

Students came from all over the Southeast, and as far away as Rhode Island.

Montevallo&8217;s Young Musicians&8217; Camp has tripled in size in just three years. Starting at 45 students in 2004, almost 120 fifth to twelfth graders enrolled at this summer&8217;s camp.

&8220;We are busting at the seams,&8221; said Gary Packwood, camp coordinator and assistant professor of music at Montevallo. &8220;But that&8217;s a good problem to have.&8221;

At the weeklong workshop, students get first-rate instruction from Montevallo professors in a track of their choice, including instrumental band, choir, guitar and piano. Students also enroll in music theory and skills classes.

&8220;Lots of kids have no solid footing in music theory or reading music. Those skills are increased significantly by working with professionals,&8221; said Packwood. &8220;These kids learn first hand what it takes to be a professional musician.&8221;

Packwood also notes that Montevallo&8217;s full-time faculty and music students volunteer to work the camp for free.

&8220;They do it for nothing. Some of our students even have to take a week off from summer jobs.&8221;

Each night students were also treated to special activities, including a mixer, movie night, counselor variety show and faculty concerts.

&8220;I think students have the opportunity to learn more about music outside of the high school classroom environment,&8221; said Sara James, camp counselor and a senior at UM. &8220;In the fun atmosphere, they are more receptive of new ideas, new concepts.&8221;

Montevallo has also benefited from hosting the camp by seeing its number of music majors double since the camp&8217;s beginning.

&8220;Camp was intended to be a recruitment tool and that has worked out really well,&8221; said Packwood. &8220;Our increased enrollment is due in part to the Young Musicians&8217; Camp.&8221;

Camp concluded last Friday with two student concerts