During the first two weeks of July, around 2,040 youth musicians came to UNC Greensboro’s campus to hone their skills and make beautiful music.
“It’s a lot of hard work, but all the friendships you make and the skills and experience you gain are worth it,” says UNCG choral education major, vocalist, and Music Camp staff member Yophi Bost. “It’s very diverse, and it’s cool to see so many different types of students come together and make music.”
The campers participated in a variety of ensembles led by faculty musicians of the UNCG School of Music and visiting teachers, conductors, and performers from throughout the state. They were also helped by UNCG student musicians, who led sectionals and assisted in rehearsals, musicianship classes, recital performances, and in other camp activities.
“In the School of Music, it’s something you aspire to do,” says Bost, who led choral sectionals and assisted with the Senior Mixed Chorus. “When I was selected to work at Music Camp in my sophomore year, I was probably the most excited I’ve ever been. It’s known that this is one of the best ways to get experience, particularly education experience. It’s kind of like the who’s who of North Carolina music. You get to meet with some amazing leaders in the field of music education from across the country.”
Many of the visiting teachers and conductors are alumni of the UNCG School of Music, and some even attended Summer Music Camp.
Bost looks forward to seeing those returning faculty and the many counselors who return to the camp year after year. But her favorite part is getting to know the campers.
“I really value the relationships I build with them. There’s no joy like walking down the hall and seeing some of the kids from last year, and they’ve gotten taller. And I love the concerts at the end.”
Flute performance and music education major Elizabeth Church has also just completed a second year of working at Music Camp. The rising senior says she once struggled with not knowing if she wanted to be a teacher or a performer. But her mentors in the School of Music showed her she can do both.
“Every time I work at camp, I’m reminded of why I do what I’m doing,” she says. “There’s so much for me to learn, and it’s rewarding seeing the campers come up to me and say how much I’ve impacted them in their musical career. It reminds me of when I was a high schooler. During one of the rehearsals I just felt moved to email my high school band director and say, ‘Hey, I have two of your students right now’ and tell them how they impacted me. Watching rehearsal reminds me of how rewarding teaching music is.”
The UNCG Summer Music Camp, which began in 1983 with a mailing created by Dr. John Locke, welcomed 350 students from across North Carolina in its first year. By 1986, the camp had grown to 1,170 students and a staff of 90. It’s now the largest and most popular music camp on a college campus in the nation, with students from more than 35 states and more than 20 countries.
Story by Susan Kirby-Smith, University Communications
Photography by Martin W. Kane, University Communications