You can’t help but notice the symbolism when you think of what Methodist University’s SummerJam! has had to go through the last few years.
Much like a long, drawn-out drumroll, campers and staff had to patiently wait for their next big moment after the pandemic put the always-anticipated music camp on the backburner in 2020 and 2021. But three years later, the iconic drum solo finally arrived as SummerJam! triumphantly returned to the summer camp slate this year.
As you may imagine, MU’s Director of Choral Activities and Music Education Dr. Michael Martin was eager to bring back SummerJam! better than ever.
“Unfortunately, a lot of students gave up on their instruments during the pandemic because they weren’t getting the fellowship that normally comes with music,” said Martin. “So bringing them back to have camaraderie, play instruments with each other, and laugh a little bit is simply amazing. To know that the camp was building and then to have to give it up for two years, I will tell you that I will never take it for granted again.”
The 34th rendition of SummerJam! (July 11-16) hosted 124 middle and high school students, a major success considering the lack of summer camp the previous two years. Campers had a chance to enhance their music skills through large ensemble participation, master classes, lessons, academic classes and concerts.
While most of the week-long camp was filled with musical instruction through band, chorus, orchestra, and piano, each student had their selection of various elective classes so they could expand their knowledge in the areas they were most interested in.
“It’s really awesome to have the camp back. I absolutely love chorus class because it’s tough and a lot of fun all at once. Dr. Martin is an incredible instructor,” said 10th grader Sarah Winslow of Fayetteville.
However, there was a lot more to SummerJam! aside from the music classes. Campers had a chance to relax and socialize with fun activities like a movie and ice cream social, game night, talent show, and of course – a camp concert on the final day.
On top of it all, many campers received meals, a t-shirt and the ability to stay in one of the University’s residence halls for the week.
“I loved the chance to meet new friends. We’ve had fun playing music, playing pool and ping pong and then eating together. It’s cool that I get to hang out with other people that enjoy music like me,” said seventh grader Josiah Norlien of Fayetteville.
Methodist University’s longstanding music department is well known for providing top-notch bachelor degrees in Music, Music with a concentration in Arts Management, Music Composition, Music Education, and Music Performance. For more information, visit the department webpage.