Reflections on JCSP 2016: "It was the best week of the year"


By max - Posted on 11 November 2016

What do Call of the Birds, Panic Attack, Lens Distort, It’s Going to be Okay, and The Journey Home have in common? These are some of the titles of new music created in just one week at the Junior Composers Summer Programs and featured in a Final Salon on July 23. Thirty-two students from around the U.S. came together to create and perform music during this NFMC summer music program. Providing space, education and inspiration for teenagers ages 14-20, the JCSP camps are held at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities every year during the summer, giving students time and facilities to work without the distractions of their school year. And they have fun! Often times they meet their musical family and make long-lasting friendships.

Four professional composers give instruction to students in theory classes and in private: Dr. Seth Custer is the Director of the Department of Theory and Composition at Bob Jones University in Greenville, SC; Dr. Sarah Miller teaches piano and composition at MacPhail Center for Music in Minneapolis and has had many winning students in NFMC contests; Randall Davidson is semi-retired and freelancing as a cellist, composer and social organizer; Eric Radloff, who is a JC alumnus from ten years ago, works in Los Angeles as a singer songwriter.

A special feature of this year’s program was professional readings of student-written string quartets by the renowned Artaria String Quartet from St. Paul, MN. In a master class setting, students received valuable feedback about their scores and a very nice recording for their portfolios.  In 2017, our offering of professional readings will be centered on choral music.

Besides daily instruction in composition, field trips are often to art museums, nature centers and the MN Orchestra. We also enjoy an evening at Annie’s Ice Cream Parlour where milk shakes and burgers are consumed amid laughter and conversation, usually about classical music or songs.

Please consider this experience for students, ages 14-20. Dates for JCSP 2017 are July 10-22. To quote one student from the 2016 camp, “It was the best week of the year.”

By Pat Steege
Administrative Director of Junior Composers Summer Programs

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