Skip To Main Content

The Sound of Summer


Summer Music Camp

ONU celebrates 40th annual Summer Music Camp

Music is as much an element of summer as suntans, swimsuits and ice cream cones. However, for high school music students, the season means much more than outdoor rock concerts. From June 13-18, ONU held its 40th summer music camp for seventh-12th graders who wanted to hone their musical skills in a college environment.

“When you’re a middle schooler or a high schooler and like music, you’re considered geeky. But when the students are put with like-minded people, they blossom,” said Dr. Sarah Waters, who heads the program. “It’s an amazing thing. By the end of the camp, they’re musically like two different groups from beginning to end.”

The campers were selected after an audition on Sunday and then performed in small groups like jazz band and show choir in the Freed Center on Thursday evening. On Friday, the students performed again in the Freed Center in larger groups like orchestra, band and chorus.

The camp also offered students classes similar to those offered to ONU students, such as music history, ear training, piano and dance fundamentals. For camper and violist Cleo DeOrio, jazz history was her favorite part of the camp. “It was a lot of fun. It kind of gave us more background to what we were learning,” said DeOrio.

Another of DeOrio’s favorite activities was the talent show. “The talent show gave us the opportunity to show what we could do,” she said. “And it was fun to see your friends up there doing crazy things.”

Though nervous about the idea of spending a week at college with strangers, DeOrio says that she “came in with a few friends and left with many.” She is now considering a minor in music coupled with a major in broadcasting.

This year, the students also had the opportunity to work with professional composer and conductor Samuel Hazo, the first composer in history to win both National Band Association composition contests.

Hazo said he was “very excited to revisit ONU and work with the area’s talented musicians.” He also had several pieces for the students to play, and the campers had the unique opportunity to interact with the composer and hear how he imagined his pieces would be played.

With the help of Dr. Thomas Hunt, chair of ONU’s Department of Music, the program was also able to bring in four students from Germany. According to Waters, the camp hopes to further expand its international reach over the years. “We’re now an international music camp,” she said enthusiastically.


Justine Anderson
Senior professional writing major from Virginia Beach, Va.