Free Summer Orchestra Camp

Summer Orchestra Camp

Orchestra Camp offers youth introduction to stringed instruments

The Southwest High School Orchestra conducted a five day summer orchestra camp for both beginner and advanced students at Southwest High School. The camp was from 12 Noon to 4:00 p.m.,  July 24 through July 28. 

The music training was offered free to students entering fourth grade through ninth for this coming school year. Signups began in May 2023 and registered close to 170 students. In addition to music instrument discounts, students were given T-shirts. Funding for the weeklong music instruction came from the Imperial County Office of Education's Foundation for Education. 

“It was a way to get kids involved in orchestra,” said Matthew Busse, Ph.D., Director of Orchestras and Conductor of the Imperial Valley Symphony. “This was the introduction of a weeklong immersion camp with a performance on Friday (July 28).” 

Diana Lopez had two of her children, Nicole, 11, and Francisco, 8, both violin players, attend the summer camp. Their younger brother, Alexander, 6, was still too young to attend. Nicole was the more advanced of the siblings with two years of experience in orchestra. Francisco was a beginner. 

Although not a musician, Lopez is pleased that Nicole was always trying to do her best. “Music helps them focus in their education. I’m happy that Nicole is setting an example for her little brothers.” Mother Lopez hopes that the youngest bother will eventually qualify for future orchestra camps. It was the second year the camp was offered in Imperial Valley, according to Busse.  

Due to different levels of proficiency, students were grouped by experience and by instruments. Students were grouped according to their instruments of choice—violin, viola, and cello. Classes were conducted at the Jimmie Cannon Performing Arts Theatre and in the classrooms. 

Southwest high orchestra alumni and current members helped with the instruction of these 170 students, according to Busse. “Its great to have them come back to where they came from.” 

In addition to giving students a chance to get into the ensemble, the music training also helps to strengthen the orchestra program in Imperial Valley, according to Busse. And for schools that do not have an orchestra program, Southwest High School Orchestra started a youth orchestra that meets one day a week. 

“We are doing this orchestra summer camp again next year,” said Matthew Busse, Ph.D., Director of Orchestras and Conductor of the Imperial Valley Symphony. 

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Joselito Villero
The Desert Review

Added on Monday, July 31, 2023 - 10:22