By Nicole Lemal
Times West Virginian
FAIRMONT — With summer break in full swing, it’s time for planned family vacations and relaxation.
But if you’re a music lover, Anne Schooley, director of the St. Paul School of Music, invites you to participate in what she calls “musication.”
Starting on June 18, one of three specialized music camps will kick off for beginners and advanced musicians alike. Guitar Camp will be held throughout the week of June 18-22 from 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. daily. “Born to Sing” will start the week of June 25-29 from 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., while “Youth Handbell Camp” will be held the week of July 9-12 from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
More than 11 million children across the United States attend summer camps each year, she said, and there is good reason for that.
“The benefits last a lifetime,” she said. “It doesn’t matter what your level of knowledge is. Every child benefits from it. You don’t have to be the most developed musician or have the highest aptitude for music to have success in a camp.”
In celebration of the first year for St. Paul School of Music summer camps and the school, a 20 percent discount will be offered to referrals and those who referred them.
With a group of enthusiastic and experienced teachers, Schooley said campers will benefit from this level of expertise, developing self-esteem through the camps.
“Even if they can only play at the end of the week only seven notes on the guitar and play a song with those seven notes, they are very proud of that,” Schooley said. “They can play it for friends and family and they're just so pleased about it. I get excited about that because I want to help musicians to feel the music within, so that they can bring it to whatever environment they wish to.”
Each camp through the St. Paul School of Music emphasizes the importance of music reading, but in a way, they all offer something unique. Whether you’re wanting to perfect your musical performance in guitar or you are interested in learning the instrument, Guitar Camp is a place to explore, expand, experience and develop. Led by Jonathan Schooley, the camp will offer all styles, as campers can expect to learn the basics, improve on current skills and techniques, join in on fret talks, tapping, solo and ensemble playing and more.
“Guitar is today’s most exciting instrument,” Anne Schooley said. “They want to come and feel like they’re learning a song, and then they also want to find out if they can play the instrument.”
In the “Born to Sing” Children’s Singing Showchoir and Chorus Vocal Performance and Stage Techniques Camp, singers will be working on a showcase for Friday, June 29, which will be held at the Marion County Senior Auditorium. This camp is specifically for ages 5-12 and will be led by Anne Schooley and Betty Pat Lee.
“This is where they get to be a superstar, and believe me, they are just that,” Schooley said.
Throughout the week, campers will work with microphone techniques, learn stage moves and voice production, and join in on “talent time.” “Talent Time” gives them an opportunity to sing solo to a variety of songs from which they can choose. There, they will overcome stage fright they may have and learn about the “Ta-Da” factor.
“‘The Ta-da’ factor means how much ability do you have to communicate with the audience and be a stage performer that the audience can identify with, so we do teach them a little bit about being something special on stage, being special on stage,” she said. “That’s important to them.”
Children from ages 6-14 can also sign up for Youth Handbell Camp, an opportunity that teaches them notes, cords, and rhythms in a fairly simple manner. Young Lee and Beverly Slagle will serve as instructors during that week.
“It’s very good for students who have not had any music at all or who have not had to play consecutively in a line of music,” Schooley said.
And it’s a rare opportunity as well.
“There are no handbell camps for quite a distance,” Schooley said.
Excited for the kick-off next week, Schooley compares herself to the campers, as she hopes to have a good turnout in the school’s first year.
“I’m like the campers. When I get together with a group of music people, it’s electrifying. It really is. It’s like everybody catches the spirit and we all join in and we know what our goals are and we know what’s going to happen during the week with all of our music making. We’re all working toward the same goal. I want everybody to be happy and getting the ultimate experience they can from the camp.”
For more information about the summer camps, contact Anne Schooley at 304-366-3758 or email her at email@example.com.
Email Nicole Lemal at firstname.lastname@example.org.