Middle school campers make sweet music, memories through UW-Green Bay summer program

The words “summer camp” usually conjure images of crafts, canoeing and the great outdoors.
But for a group of 200 middle school students at UW-Green Bay’s summer music camp, the term takes on a different — though just as enjoyable — meaning.

“It’s very intensive,” said UW-Green Bay associate professor and camps director Kevin Collins. “I mean, they’re playing and making music for six hours a day. And that’s a lot for middle school kids, but it tells you something about the kind of kid that we have here, too — that they don’t just tolerate that, they really thrive.”

From students in the camp’s X Band, for relatively new musicians, to those with more experience and greater skill in band, orchestra or choir, every camper gets the chance to hone his or her craft — often while trying something new. And although they’re young in age, the middle school campers are mature in their passion for music.

“It’s something special for me to be able to make something out of nothing,” said 12-year-old camper Garrison Wright. “It’s like making a world of — a new dimension.”

About half of the students live on campus during the weeklong camp, and evening activities, from bowling to water games, are part of the experience.

“There is no best (part) — it’s like all awesome,” said 11-year-old Holly Buczek, who plays the oboe. “Everything’s awesome.”

Students work hard all week for the camp’s culminating experience — a concert for family and friends in the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts. Guided by UW-Green Bay faculty and other area musicians, the campers savor their moment in the spotlight.

“They love school, they love their programs at home, and they come from terrific programs,” Collins said. “But being able to just do this all day is such a positive experience for them that it really changes lives.”

To see photos from the Middle School Music Camp, click here.

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