Flash back to your high school years: Danny was in the back of the school bus sucking face with the head baton-twirler. Across the aisle, Biff the bully was pestering a pimple-faced kid. And Mr. Holland was leading a group into the umpteenth rendition of 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall.
Ah, the memories.
What if it were possible to relive band camp as an adult — without the smooching, bullying, or Mr. Holland? Instead you play with grown-up kids who like to make music. You aren’t forced to march in the heat of summer, and you’re old enough to “take one down and pass it around.” Well, here’s your chance.
I normally don’t write about upcoming camps, but this one at the Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park, which begins with check-in at 1 p.m. on July 13 and a final concert at 9:30 p.m. July 16, is unique enough to garner extra attention.
Last year, I hung out at the four-day camp taking in the sights and sounds. The camp is the brainstorm of Jane Berkner, professor of flute at the University of Akron and arts and enrichment director for the conservancy. The campers were from all walks of life and the instructors, like those who will be there this year, were akin to rock stars.
This year, instructors include Bob Jorgensen, retired director of bands at UA; Tucker Jolly, retired professor of tuba at UA and creator of the popular TubaChristmas in Akron; Robert Esterle, saxophonist with Esto Jazz; Wendy Webb Kumer, founder of the Pittsburgh Flute Academy; Amitai Vardi, professor of clarinet at Kent State University; Matt Dudack, percussionist with the Akron Symphony and director of Steel Drum Band at UA; and Terry Boyarsky, pianist with the Russian Duo, singer and ethnomusicologist.
Those, folks, are some heavy hitters.
Campers get to play with other community musicians in both big and small ensembles, and take part in performances, breakout sessions and workshops around the park, including at Happy Days Lodge and Hines Hill Conference Center.
Musicians of all skill levels are encouraged to attend, though participants should feel comfortable performing with a band. Between rehearsals, there will be time for fun in the park, including an optional hike and bike, a bonfire, and an ice cream social. For a fully immersive experience, you can choose to stay overnight in the renovated Stanford House.
Enrollment, which includes four meals, is $390 for participants and $150 for non-participating spouses or companions. Refer a friend, and receive $25 off your registration. Accommodations at the Stanford House, which include linens and breakfast, are $40 per person, per night. This historic facility offers shared bathrooms and multi-person rooms.
For more information and to register, visit www.conservancyforcvnp.org/home or contact the Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park at 330-657-2909 Ext. 100. Hines Hill Conference Center is located at 1403 W. Hines Hill Road, Peninsula.
Help for the homeless
The Vacation Bible School this week at St. Sebastian Parish is partnering with Project RISE, a program that assists homeless families within the Akron Public Schools, by collecting school supplies and backpacks to be shared with needy families.
All items should be dropped off no later than Thursday in a clearly marked bin at the main entrance of the church, at 476 Mull Ave., Akron.