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Creativity knows no bounds at camps

Marylhurst promises a summer filled with intense music, art and writing


SUBMITTED PHOTO - There will be plenty of talent and spirit on display at Marylhurst Universitys choral camp in August. Camp director Justin Smith is expecting a record number of music campers.

Marylhurst University will offer summer camps with a true Marylhurst touch in 2015, when students ranging in age from 19 to 50 will gather for an intense learning experience.

“It’s for anyone who wants to fill their summer with dedication and passion,” said Justin Smith. “It will be a very Marylhurst environment. It will be a rich tapestry of learners.”

Leading the way will be an outstanding group of instructors: Smith for choir camp, Jay Ponteri for creative writing and Lillieth Grand for a creative arts day camp. Students will have to go a long way to surpass their teachers in enthusiasm, because the trio’s agenda is extremely ambitious.

Smith, who is still invigorated from having just taken his Marylhurst Chorale to perform at Carnegie Hall, will offer an intense five-day camp Aug. 3-7. The curriculum will include full festival choir, chamber, jazz, show choir, music theater and world music, with training on vocal and jazz singing techniques thrown in. There will even be lessons on composing for video games.

“It will be a choral boot camp,” Smith said. “We’ll have a great time. There were 20 students the first year and 40 last year. It’s growing, and people are coming back year after year.”

Smith’s camp will resemble the first movie musicals made in 1929.

“It will be all singing, all music, all the time,” he said. “At the end, we’ll have a talent show.”

Ponteri is going into his ninth year as the director of the writing and visual arts camp. Helping him out will be some excellent writers.

“The purpose of this camp is to give high school kids the task of writing at the college level,” Ponteri said. “In high school, you don’t often get a chance to study with a writer. We want to give our campers a taste of the college community of writing. They’ll share their work and perform it.

“I asked one student why she came to camp, and she said, ‘I feel less lonely. I feel connected to the others who read my work.’ The camp made her not afraid to write about experiences in her own life,” Ponteri said. “You move beyond the fears that have been holding you back.”

The nine-day camp will run June 18-26.

Marylhurst is happy to welcome back Grand, who is revitalizing the creative arts day camp. For two weeks in July (July 13-16 and July 20-23), she will be offering instruction in art, music and drama therapy for special needs kids. Grand has been a music therapist for 22 years and has trained many therapists in the field. The two sessions are open to children from the ages of 5 to 13.

The Marylhurst camps will be an opportunity that students who love literature, art and music should not miss.

“The passion for art and music might be diminishing in high school and middle school,” Ponteri said. “These camps will let students really feel like themselves. They’ll have a heightened identity experience.”

Smith agrees.

“They can be with people just like them,” he said. “They’ll find out, ‘There are lots of people like me!’”

For registration information about summer camps at Marylhurst University, go to marylhurst.edu/arts-and-events/summer-camps/ or call 503-636-8141.

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