Today was the first full day of the 2011 Music for All Summer Symposium. It was a rainy morning, but that certainly didn't dampen the mood of the excited students, parents and directors checking in at registration this morning. I stopped by early on during registration to see how things were going, and it was great to see all the excited, smiling faces as campers received materials and leafed through schedules.
Before I knew it, it was time to head over to the Opening Session at Emens Auditorium. The energy was contagious as students rocked out to the walk-in music, and soon Orpheus, SchoolJam USA Finalists, took the stage. They performed SKA music – a melting pot of Punk, Jazz and Reggae.
After this fantastic performance, students were introduced to Norm Ruebling (Camp Director), Jamie Weaver (Camp Director of the SWAG Team), David Starnes (Educational Consultant for Music for All and Camp Director), Gary Markham (Senior Educational Consultant for Music for All and Camp Director), Jo Ann M. Gora (Ball State University President), Fran Kick (Leadership Division Coordinator), the Camp Medical Team, and Eric Martin (CEO of Music for All). Team SWAG also contributed some helpful tips about staying energized, hydrated, well-rested and sunscreened up for the week!
After the Opening Session, students began their classes. It was so nice to see campus milling with activity today. After classes tonight, students will attend the Yamaha Young Performing Artists (YYPA) concert. The YYPA program is designed to provide early career recognition for outstanding young musicians in the United States. Hundreds of applicants ages 16- 21 apply annually and undergo a rigorous, taped audition process for a panel of national celebrity musicians. Yamaha's competition for outstanding young musicians culminates in finalist performances and a selection of one winner at this evening's concert.
As I watched students arrive on campus today, I remembered my own time spent at music camps when I was a student. I play French horn, and I had some of the best musical experiences of my life at music camps. I hope that your students feel the same way, and I look forward to spending time this week observing their sessions.