Who says there's no place for Mozart, Vivaldi or Beethoven in southwest Kansas?

Garden City Community College created a unique event last summer when it hosted the first Southwest Kansas Music Academy Summer String Music Camp, featuring Salina Symphony Conductor Ken Hakoda, and the event was so successful that it's going to take place again.

The 2009 Southwest Kansas Music Academy Summer String Music Camp is scheduled to take place July 14 through 16, and Coordinator Doug Beyer, director of the campus-based music academy and GCCC string music program, is hoping to double participation with a total of 50 young musicians.

Drawing on the talents of nearly a dozen professional musicians, conductors and educators from across the state, the gathering is open to string music students entering or leaving grades seven through 12.

Free public concert

In addition to the enrichment programming for the participants, the camp will conclude with a public orchestra concert at 7 p.m. July 16 in the auditorium of the Pauline Joyce Fine Arts Building. Admission will be free, and everyone is welcome.

The concert will culminate three days of full and sectional rehearsals, music theory classes, music literature courses and individual lessons.

Seating auditions are scheduled to take place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 13 in the fine arts building, and actual camp activities are scheduled during the same hours over the subsequent three days.

The director also has expanded the camp to include optional overnight room and board, and he has recruited a faculty of 11 visiting conductors, professors and top musicians.

Registration, orchestras

The final day to register is July 6, so there's still time for young people to sign up. However, for anyone interested in on-campus meals and lodging, the deadline already has passed.

Students and parents who are interested may contact the director at 275-3250; or get in touch with Audra Peitz in the college fine arts office by calling 276-9540. Either may be reached via e-mail, and their respective addresses are douglas.beyer@gcccks.edu and audra.peitz@gcccks.edu.

The camp is designed with three orchestras:

A philharmonic orchestra for the middle and junior high school performers.

A symphony orchestra for high school-level musicians.

A chamber orchestra or ensemble, made up of selected student performers from the symphony group, chosen by audition.

Student musicians in each main orchestra will go through full rehearsals daily, and there will be sectional rehearsals, too. In addition, the chamber ensemble will participate in an additional full and sectional rehearsal each day. Students also can opt for individual private lessons, which can help in preparing for state music festival competition, and each participant will take part in classes on music theory and music literature.


The camp's symphony and chamber orchestra conductor will be Dr. David Littrell, Kansas State University distinguished professor of music.

Ken Hakoda, the Kansas Wesleyan University choral music director, as well as Salina Symphony conductor, will be back for a second year as philharmonic director.

The camp staff also includes Dr. Tami Lee Hughes, University of Kansas violin professor; Hannah Bartel, Ingalls, Kansas State University music graduate; Sarah Baxter, Kansas Newman University string music instructor; and Benjamin Morris-Cline, Fort Hays State University Music Department chairman.

Others are Summer Miller, Garden City High School orchestra director; Wendy Mickey, Dodge City High School orchestra director; Sarah Bartel, Ingalls, Kansas State University music graduate; and Karen Heath, Ulysses school system string music director.

With this much faculty expertise, the students should be able to benefit in terms of theory, experience and technique. In fact, no other camp like this one takes place anywhere in Western Kansas, except at Fort Hays State and the FHSU event this summer was patterned after the first SWKMA camp in Garden City.

We hope you'll be able to attend the concluding concert at 7 p.m. July 16 in the Pauline Joyce Fine Arts Building, and if you know any young musicians who might want to get in on a special opportunity this summer, be sure and let them know that there is some room for Beethoven, Vivaldi and Mozart in southwest Kansas.

GCCC Director of Information Services Steve Quakenbush can be e-mailed at steve.quakenbush@gcccks.edu.