So they had to step out of their comfort zones while tackling American fiddling classics, such as “Devil’s Dream,” “Fiddles at Shady Gulch” and “Flop-Eared Mule,” during the Summer Music program at Saint Martin’s University.
In addition to playing folk-style music, the girls had to learn some dance moves and remember to smile and interact with the audience more than they’re used to.
“It’s really fun,” said Dunn, a soon-to-be fifth-grader at Pioneer Elementary School in Olympia. “I like fiddling class because you can move around.”
“I never really tried that style before, and I really like it,” added Ruggiero, a seventh-grader who is home-schooled.
The intensive, two-week music camp for grades four through eight was slated to wrap up Friday with an evening concert at the Worthington Center. The camp drew about 75 kids, mostly from Thurston County.
For many students, it also was about honing their skills with the band and orchestra instruments that they’ve already played in school or community programs or with private lessons.
But it also was about trying new instruments and different styles of music, and exploring the technical side of music with theory and composition courses, according to co-coordinator Krina Allison.
“You learn a lot in two weeks,” said 12-year-old Joshua Henderson of Olympia, who took advanced orchestra, fiddling and drum-line classes during the camp.
“It’s a good opportunity to get ahead for the next school year,” added 11-year-old Sean Doster, also of Olympia, who took the same classes as Henderson.
This year’s camp featured 17 one-hour classes led by eight music educators from South Sound, Allison said.
Those classes included beginning to advanced string orchestra and band, fiddling, music theory and composition, beginning guitar, jazz band, drum line and “swap band,” in which students could concentrate on playing a band instrument they don’t usually play.
“I have a violinist playing percussion, so that’s fun,” Allison said.
Thirteen-year-old Grace Tobin has played the flute for several years, but she tried the bassoon during Summer Music and said she fell in love with it.
“It’s totally a different experience; nothing is the same except you blow air through both of them,” she said, noting that she’s thinking about switching instruments for school band in the fall.
Each class cost $70-$75, and most students took at least two classes during the program, according to co-coordinator Brian Rascon.
“I think we have one kid who signed up for five or six classes,” he said.
Rascon, who lives in Philadelphia, has been involved with Summer Music as a student, teaching assistant, instructor and now co-director for nearly 15 years.
He teaches at an after-school music program and said Summer Music helped shape his career.
“The teachers are awesome here because they want to help mentor the next generation of music educators,” Rascon said.
Next year’s camp will run from June 24-July 5. Watch for information at email@example.com 360-754-5433 theolympian.com/edblog @Lisa_Pemberton