Belmont Summer Winds

Last Summer I was not satisfied with the quality of band camp I attended thus I began the search for a new camp.  I decided the best idea to narrow my search was to look for summer programs at the different colleges I was interested in. That’s when I found Belmont Summer Winds.

I had been looking into Belmont University for a while because of its reputation as a good Christian Private Liberal arts school with a music therapy program, a great clarinet professor, and its gorgeous campus. Everything was exactly as I had hoped it would be.

Belmont Summer Winds

Belmont Summer Winds is a band camp hosted at the Belmont University campus in Nashville, TN run by Belmont’s Director of Bands, Barry Kraus. During this one week session, students participate in master classes, jazz ensembles. woodwind ensembles, brass ensembles, private lessons, and Wind Ensemble rehearsals led by Belmont staff and alumni. After each full day of music, students enjoy fun activities on campus to get to know each other and have a little fun (Not that rehearsals aren’t fun but…..)

Auditions

Auditioning for Belmont’s Summer Winds Camp was actually my favorite audition I’ve ever done. Not because I played my best, but because I got to pick from my own repetition what I was going to play. The last band camp I went to required me to spend all summer learning and preparing my All Region and All State material in hopes that I would make first band. But this summer I got to play one of the solos I had been preparing in my lessons at home and with only one band total I was only competing for a chair. This was a lot less stressful and a lot more convenient as students who attended the camp came from all different states. Learning both Arkansas and Tennessee All Region Material in one summer would have been a challenge.

Master Class

The clarinet Master Class was led by Belmont’s Clarinet Professor, Dr. Daniel Lochrie (pronounced like Loch in Lochness Monster). Throughout the week, master classes were the time we got to get feed back on our playing from a professional clarinetist. Dr. Lochrie plays with  the Grammy-winning Nashville Symphony and is co-founder of The Eastwood Ensemble. Through out the week he gave us classes on the basics: tone, scales, fingering, embouchure, tonguing, articulation, voicing, hand position, sight-reading, piece preparation, and nerves. (man we got a lot done). I don’t think I’ve ever been in a more productive master class. In one week we covered everything clarinet that I can think of. Hopefully soon I can write a blog post about each of the aspects of clarinet and share some of Dr. Lochrie’s insight and teaching methods.

Private Lessons

I treated my week at camp as a Belmont crash course. Belmont was one of my top two colleges that I was considering to join next fall (more on that later) so one of my main priorities while I was there was to get some private lessons from Dr. Lochrie to get to know him better, introduce myself as an interested future student, and play for him. I think this was the best thing I did while I was at Belmont. During my lesson Dr. Lorchie and I talked about Belmont’s audition process, its scholarship opportunities, and even the idea of getting to play with Vanderbilt’s Marching Band because Belmont does not have one of its own. Most of what I learned about the school of music at Belmont including their performance, education, and therapy programs I learned during my two hours of lessons with Dr. Lochrie.

Sectionals

Sectionals are always so fun. How often do you get to play a piece with only woodwind parts during high school band? Unless you go to a school who focuses on small ensembles, this never happens. The band camp I attended last summer was very brass focused which was great…. for the brass players. But this camp had equal focus on brass, woodwinds, and percussion due to the quality of time and attention we received in our respective sectional classes everyday.

Chamber Music

I believe that the two best thing you can do for your music career is 1: take private lessons and 2: play in chamber groups. By playing one on a part in a small ensemble, you have to be responsible not only for your part, but for fitting yourself in the groups sound. At Belmont’s camp I had the opportunity to play in a woodwind quintet. I have playing in duets and trios, but I have never played in a woodwind quintet before. It was so fun to be playing music focusing on woodwinds.

Wind Ensemble

Led by Dr. Kraus, the Wind Ensemble spent two classes a day in group band rehearsals preparing music to perform in one week. My band only plays one concert a year and we get months to prepare, but one full concert with a large wind ensemble, a jazz, ensemble, woodwind quintets, brass quintets, and other instrumented ensembles is a lot to learn and prepare in one week. But we did it!!! Performing such a long, challenging program and doing it well was a huge accomplishment for everyone who participated.

Out of the two band camps I have attended, Belmont was by far my favorite. I highly recommend looking into it even if Belmont is not a school you are looking into for college. I traveled 8 hours from Arkansas to Tennessee, but one guy at camp traveled all the way from California to attend camp at Belmont . No matter where you are or who you are, look into Belmont Summer Winds Camp for next summer.

Why You Should Join a Community Band

If you’re anything like me, school band isn’t enough for you. Many school bands spend a majority of the  year playing the same songs over and over again to prepare for one competition or one concert. But if you want more, community band is the perfect place to start. Throughout the year you will be challenged with a constant intake of new music that you will be expected to perform on stage after only a few rehearsals. This is more like how a musicians schedule is and gives you the opportunity to experience it before you even graduate high school.

Community Band

ANYONE CAN GET INVOLVED WITH A COMMUNITY BAND

If you can play an instrument proficiently, you can join a community band! It’s as simple as that. Some bands require a small audition and some require you to be All Region player, but each band is made up entirely of volunteers from all different careers who want to continue playing music. Even High School students can play in community bands. I started playing with the Arkansas Winds in 10th grade. Depending on what your local band’s guidelines are, you may have to pay dues or be asked to make a donation to contribute to the funds so that the band can continue operating. But its all worth it.

MAKING CONNECTIONS

As a high school student, playing with the local community band was a challenge at first because everyone was much older and had been playing their instruments for as long as I have been alive. I had always been first chair in my bands and playing with more experienced players pushed me to practice harder to keep up. Little did I know that these musicians would become such influential people in my life. Each and every person I have met through the Arkansas Winds have been extremely talented and generous. I have made many new friends and connections that have supported me and helped me out in my playing and my personal life.

PLAYING NEW, CHALLENGING MUSIC

My sight-reading has improved a lot since I joined The Arkansas Winds due to the constant input of new, challenging music. The first day was very intimidating. We were playing music with lots of key changes and lots of weird time signatures at very fast tempos. I could hardly keep up and thought about quitting. But every week after that it got easier and easier and now I have no problem keeping up.

PERFORMING OFTEN

My community band’s season starts in October and ends mid July. During our season we play around 8-10 concerts. Several Christmas concerts, a Fourth of July concert, and many more concerts for students and the community. Each concert has a new set of music and a new audience at a new location.

 

 

Overall, joining a community band is one of the best decisions I have made for myself and for my journey with music. Regardless if you plan to make music your career, joining a band outside of school will allow you to continue playing music. If you don’t know of a Band near you, here is a link to a list of bands by location: Check it out!  If you participate in a community band let me know how you like it and if you have any questions about Arkansas Winds  feel free to email me!

Arkansas Winds 2017 Concert Schedule

Concert
Arkansas Winds

Arkansas Winds is a non-profit community concert band in Northwest Arkansas made up of volunteers. We perform throughout the year in our local communities bringing good music to the Northwest Arkansas area. Each of our performances is very unique and well put together by our director, Micheal Ferguson.

This year we will be performing 8 concerts including:

Date

Time

Event

Location

Monday

December 12, 2016

7:30pm

Krampus and Carols

Butterfield Trail Village

Fayetteville, AR

Sunday

December 18, 2016

3:00pm

Krampus and Carols

Farmington Performing Arts Center

Farmington, AR

Saturday

February 25, 2017

7:00pm

Myths and Legends

Farmington Performing Arts Center

Farmington, AR

Saturday

April 29, 2017

7:00pm

Music of the Stage

featuring Carmen Sanders

Farmington Performing Arts Center

Farmington, AR

Saturday

May 13, 2017

3:00pm

U of A Bumpers Commencement Pre Ceremony

Barnhill Arena

Fayetteville, AR

Tuesday

June 27, 2017

7:00pm

Red,White and Blooms

Botanical Garden of the Ozarks

Fayetteville, AR

Tuesday

July 4, 2017

8:30pm

Independence Day Celebration

Orchards Park

Bentonville, AR

Monday

July 10, 2017

7:00pm

U of A Music Camp

Fayetteville High School Performing Arts Center

Fayetteville, AR

Please feel free to visit our website here. To keep up with us and our upcoming  community band events and concerts send an email to info@arkansaswinds.org. If you are interested in joining check out our website or come to a rehearsal. We rehearse Mondays from 7:00-9:00pm at Farmington Performing Arts Center. Hope to see you at a one of our concerts! Let me know if your coming!