Special to the Register
The nation’s second oldest music camp will mark its 78th season this summer at Eastern Kentucky University.
The annual Stephen Collins Foster Music Camp will open Sunday, June 9 and continue through Friday, June 28 and feature options in band, orchestra, vocal, piano and world percussion for students grades 5-12.
The campers, expected from as many as a dozen states, will spend an intense week of more than 40 hours of instrument- or voice-specific instruction, and present free public concerts as well.
This year’s camp already boasts more than 535 registrants, an all-time high. To accommodate the growth, EKU has expanded several camping options. Registration and enrollment will remain open until five days prior to each particular camp’s start date or until maximum capacity has been reached. For more information, including camp schedules, pricing, online registration, and more, visit www.fostercamp.org. The site also includes testimonials from previous campers as well as a means by which to make donations.
The first week is dedicated solely to younger middle school-age musicians, while the second and third weeks spotlight the more experienced and older high-school campers. The cost for a one-week resident camper is $395; for a commuter, $275.
Only the famous Interlochen Music Camp in Michigan has a longer history in the U.S. than EKU’s Foster Camp. Many young musicians return year after year to the Richmond campus.
The camp’s first director, in 1936, was Henri Schanbl, a former member of Kaiser Wilhelm’s personal band. Other directors through the years have been the camp’s founder, Joseph Van Peursem, 1940-63; Nick Koenigstein, 1964-67; Dr. Robert Hartwell, 1968-99; and Dr. Joe Allison, 2000-07, before the current director, Ben Walker, took the reins in 2008.
From 1948 to 1964, a certain canine was on hand to greet the campers. The music department’s mascot, Mozart, was buried in a grave immediately behind the outdoor pavilion used for many concerts and named for Van Peursem.
Students in all camping options are housed in air-conditioned residence halls under the supervision of counselors selected and overseen by the camp administrator. Meals are provided in Powell cafeteria. All rehearsals and other musical activities are held in the air-conditioned Foster and Campbell buildings. Planned recreational activities are provided on all evenings a musical event is not scheduled.
For more information, visit www.fostercamp.org or call the EKU Department of Music at 859-622-3266.