News Column

Tuning young musicians in Lacey

July 8, 2013


July 08--The classrooms, passageways and lawns of Kreielsheimer Hall at Saint Martin's University in Lacey were alive with the sound of music last week.

It's where nearly 100 middle school students, most from Thurston County, participated in the annual Summer Music Program.

"It's one of my favorite things to do of all time," said Kimberly Wallace, 13, an incoming eighth-grader at Aspire Middle School in Lacey.

The program offered about 15 classes ranging from bucket band and beginning ukulele to music theory and advanced band.

Wallace's course list included music theory, beginning band with trumpet, jazz band and advanced band. She's played the flute for about three and a half years.

"You really learn a lot more about your instrument than you would in band," Wallace said. "In band, you're learning how the band should play the piece. In Summer Music, you're learning how you should play the piece."

The intensive, two-week music camp for youths going into grades 5-8 wrapped up Friday with an evening concert at the Worthington Center. Founded in 1995, the program is designed to give kids a chance to try new instruments and explore the technical side of music, according to coordinator Krina Allison.

"It's experience and exploring music and all of the different facets of it," she said.

All of the classes were taught by experienced South Sound music educators. The program also enlists a crew of high school musicians who serve as mentors and teaching assistants.

"One of the things about doing this every day, like we do, the class serves as practice," said guitar and ukulele instructor Phil Lawson. "When you see them every day for an hour you can get pretty far pretty quick."

At one point, Summer Music enrolled nearly 200 kids, Allison said. But after the economic downturn, enrollment dropped to as low as 75.

This year, about 100 kids signed up, Allison said.

"I feel like we're starting to grow again," she said.

Lisa Pemberton: 360-754-5433 @Lisa_Pemberton


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