29th Annual Ephrata Youth Band Camp Was A Success

(Shopping News Photo by Donald Reese)

The 29th Annual Ephrata Youth Band Camp was held from Monday, June 20 to Thursday, June 23 at the Ephrata Intermediate School. The camp is designed for students who have just completed grades four, five and six. The program gives them more experience in ensemble playing and large group performance and it provides a fun activity as well. The band practiced from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon, Monday through Thursday. The time was spent in large and small group rehearsals interspersed with various activities for the students. The goal of the camp was to perform an Outdoor Concert at Hershey Park on Thursday, June 23. After the performance, the students, accompanied by parent chaperones, enjoyed the amusement park for several hours and were treated to a picnic later in the day.

The Band Camp was developed and organized by Mr. James Kimmel, the Director of the Elementary Band Program and Related Arts Supervisor in the Ephrata Area School District.

During the camp, Mr. Kimmel was aided by seven assistants. Hunter Brendle worked with the percussion section. Theresa Cummings helped with the clarinet section. Megan Lausch helped with the flutes. The low brass were led by Joe Wheeler. Nicholas Mich worked with the saxophones and Kelly Cummings worked with the trumpets.

According to the Band Camp Director, Mr. James Kimmel, “This program started out 29 years ago as an experiment. The goal was to keep students involved with their instrument through a fun summer experience. When we started, I really didn’t know how well it would work, but the program has proven to be highly successful. Parents have supported this in many ways. In fact, I believe the parents often have as much fun as the kids, and they return to help out in subsequent years! The parents also do various jobs during the actual trip.”

A concerted effort has always been made to keep the cost within reason. “Over the past 29 years, the costs have virtually tripled. The program has been ‘tweaked’ with the goal of keeping the cost attainable for most parents. Compared to other programs, the band camp is quite a good bargain considering what comes in the package. It provides a much needed experience for children as opposed to sitting in front of computers and video games for hours.”

The band has a relatively short time to prepare a program for their performance, and instruction needs to be adeptly tailored to meet the needs of all students involved. Within three mornings of rehearsal, the band prepares a program, and the goals need to be attainable, while still comfortably stretching the students’ growth. Student levels of experience range anywhere from less than one year to that of several years. Instruction must be differentiated so that all students are successful, while still getting students to work cooperatively together. According to Kimmel, “The students do not see the music until they walk in the door on the first day. Sight reading is a certain skill to be learned, and there is a lot of guided instruction along the way. This is indicative of what occurs at the band camp.”

Over 29 years, hundreds of Ephrata students have participated in the Youth Band Camp. It is coordinated through the Ephrata Area Summer Enrichment Program and they celebrate its success!

Last Updated (Tuesday, 28 June 2016 07:56)

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