Music camps back at CSU
Charleston Southern University’s Horton School of Music sponsored the 10th annual Summer Music Camp during the last two weeks of June. Two hundred campers attended from every region of South Carolina and five neighboring states, and performed in the areas of band, orchestra, piano and voice.
After a one-year pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic, CSU faculty and staff were excitedly awaiting and tirelessly planning for the camp’s return. Camp Director and Chair of the Horton School of Music Dr. Marshall Forrester worked in consultation with the University Pandemic Task Force since January, planning protocols necessary to minimize the possibility of infection spread. Singers, brass, and woodwind performers were distanced at six feet or more during rehearsals, with frequent breaks for air exchange. String and piano performers wore masks during rehearsals and other indoor activities.
“We were delighted with any opportunity to hold camp this summer, and delighted that the one COVID test necessary during the week returned with a negative result,” said Forrester.
This year’s camp enrolled about half of the number of young musicians as it did in 2019.
“This really was an optimal number for this summer, our first year back,” Forrester said. “Due to the need for extra space required for physical distancing, half the number of campers used up all of our available space.”
In addition to distancing in class and rehearsals, other precautions were put in place, such as individual water coolers, daily symptom checks, outdoor practices, and cloth or plastic bell covers for the wind instruments.
CSU Director of Choral Activities Dr. Dustin Ousley assembled the team of choral educators and counselors for the vocal portion of the camps. Ousley was pleased with the quality of singers enrolled this summer.
“The talent level is as high and as focused as any camp before the pandemic,” he said. “The choir students already had formed a cohesive sound by day two of camp.”
Forrester noted that two thirds of the music campers this summer had attended previously. “They were ready to be involved in group music-making again, after many months of restrictions.”
If everything goes well in the coming year and conditions allow, the camp directors are planning to once again enroll 400 musicians in June 2022.