Opera hosts ultimate music camps for youths; performances all this week

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

EUREKA SPRINGS -- The Inspiration Point Fine Arts Colony will present performances by students attending piano and strings camp this week at Opera in the Ozarks Theatre Pavilion.

On the day the opera moves out of town, the musical camps move in and take its place for two weeks. Last week, a vocal camp rocked the Ozarks with Broadway musicals from renowned composer Stephen Schwartz.

This week, a variety of string and piano recitals will be music to the ears of many Carroll Countians, with more than 46 youth artists performing.

Vocal camp participants rehearse last week for their weekend performance of the Broadway musical "Children of Eden." Recitals and performances continue beginning tonight, Tuesday, July 31, and continue through Sunday. For more information visit Opera.org. Photo submitted

"All of the students look forward to these camps," said accompanist Diana Brown. "And we're all excited to be here and be involved with these wonderful youths."

The entire staff is made up of musicians and professional teaching musicians.

Dr. Jim Waddelow of Raleigh, N.C., is the director of instrumental activity at Meredith College in Raleigh and he comes to the camps once a year to conduct the orchestra.

"This is very much an intense training ground, and these kids show professionalism and are very time intensive -- they are the stars," he added.

"I was a piano camp student here for many years, and eight years later I became a staff member," says Valerie Hopkins. She returned to the camp as the musical stage director and has been a part of the camp since the 1990s.

Solo recitals for piano and string students begin today, Tuesday, July 31, and continue Wednesday, Aug. 1 and Friday, Aug. 3, at 8 p.m.

Brothers Jacob and Kane Hiser are alumni at the string camp and will be featured in a special concert on Thursday, Aug. 2 at 8 p.m. They play a variety of instruments including violin, fiddle, piano, string bass, and electric bass.

"Classical violin music, fiddle tunes and jazz music can be expected from these two," said Opera in the Ozarks General Director Jim Swiggart.

On Saturday, Aug. 4 at 8 p.m., all string students, staff, and faculty will participate in the String Extravaganza. Chamber music and string orchestra music will be performed.

The extravaganza will feature winners of the piano concerto and string concerto competitions. These students will perform with the orchestra.

On Sunday, Aug. 5 at 11 a.m., all piano students, staff and faculty will be a part of the piano Monster Concert. There aren't any actual monsters, just a large number of keyboards and pianos. Performers will play ensemble music on acoustical and digital keyboards.

Winners of the Kathryn Hickman Junior High Solo Piano Competition and the Dr. Leon Whitesell Senior High Piano Competition will be the featured guests for the performance.

Last week students sang in eight choral anthems and performed in choral concerts and musicals on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. A live orchestra accompanied one production, "Children of Eden," by Stephen Schwartz.

"These kids learned a Broadway musical in six days," said Waddelow. "The average musical takes four months of preparation at minimum to learn; they really did great."

Schwartz is the composer of the musical "Wicked," an updated offtake of the "Wizard of Oz."

Altogether, the youth learned 135 pages of dialogue, music, stage movements and choral work.

"I love the kids here; all their hard work has amazed me and it is what keeps bringing me back after all these years," Hopkins added.

"These camps are filled with amazing and talented youth," said Brown. " I want everyone to come see them."

All camp performances are free and open to the public. For more information or to get an application for youth camps or performances tickets, call 479-253-8595 or visit Opera.org.

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