UNCG Summer Music Camp is a homecoming of sorts for camp counselor Lars Holmberg ’11.

The sights and sounds evoke memories not only from his college days, but from the summers he spent as a UNCG camper, fine tuning his tuba playing.

And it’s not just the memories that are almost too many to count – it’s the sheer number of campers.

Holmberg is one of more than 58,000 musicians who have attended UNCG’s Summer Music Camp, widely known as the largest university summer music camp in the nation.

The camp was founded in 1983 by UNCG’s Dr. John Locke, who continues to direct the camp each year. Nearly 2,000 middle and high school students – hailing from 20 states, Mexico, India and China – are attending this July, with countless former campers returning to staff the two weeklong sessions. This year’s camp includes 15 concert bands, four orchestras, four choirs and 160 piano players.

But it’s not just about the numbers. For Holmberg, a Massachusetts native who made the long trek to Greensboro each summer from 2001 to 2007, it’s all about the experience.

“This camp has been a major guiding point in my life,” said Holmberg, who is now the orchestra director and associate band director at Simon G. Atkins Academic & Technology High School in Winston-Salem. “I decided to attend UNCG because of my experience at camp.”

Over the course of the week, campers get a taste of college life while receiving individual and group instruction from some of the state’s top musicians. During the final night of camp, students perform at venues across campus, such as the 1,600-seat UNCG Auditorium – a rare opportunity for these young musicians.

“It’s been tremendously gratifying to hear that this is the best music experience our campers have ever had,” Locke said. “We truly sweat the details. I think we’ve earned a reputation of very high quality.”

Former camper and current middle school band director Emily Scotton ’06 has returned to camp this summer for her 18th year as a staff member.

“I applied for a position at camp because I wanted to be a part of the organization that had such an impact on my life,” she said. “To see the growth these ensembles make in such a short time is always inspiring.”

For many students, camp is much more than a fun week away from home – it’s an experience that shapes who they are as individuals.

Just ask Holmberg.

“It’s a chance to make lifelong friends,” he said. “A chance to flame excitement for music into passion, passion into drive and drive into excellence.”

 

Want to hear the sweet sounds of summer camp? The camp’s second and final session will culminate with camper performances this Friday, July 22, at 6:15 p.m. in the following on-campus venues: UNCG Auditorium, the Elliott University Center Auditorium, the Elliott University Center’s Cone Ballroom, Taylor Theatre and the UNCG Recital Hall. All performances are free and open to the public. For more information, visit smcamp.org.

 

Story by Alyssa Bedrosian, University Communications
Photography by Martin W. Kane, University Communications