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Bearcats Participate In Austin College Summer Music Camp

By Todd Kleiboer

Communications Specialist


Bearcats helped to liven up Austin College’s Wynne Chapel the night of June 17 as the Austin College Summer Music Camp came to a close with a recital by all 40 campers, 27 of them Bearcats.

The five-day camp allowed campers to have intensive, in-depth rehearsals with their instruments and more specific instruction to hone their playing. Rising Sherman High School senior Amelia Jackson “had a really good time” at the camp and jumped into the jazz improv class offered despite not being in the SHS jazz band. During her rehearsals, she practiced her flute’s finer points.

“The piece that we’re playing [her quartet] has a lot of technical parts,” she said with a laugh. “I don’t think I would have focused as much on them if they were in a school piece.”

Photo: Aariel Tankxley (left) and Amelia Jackson perform during the woodwind ensemble piece. Photo by Todd Kleiboer, Sherman ISD Communications

Aaerial Tankxley, left, and Amelia Jackson play during the woodwind ensemble piece.

Rising junior Zoey Sellers, who was a part of Jackson’s quartet, learned about music theory during her time at the camp, and it came in handy when she transposed flute sheet music to her own instrument, the clarinet.

“I liked the amount of time we had to practice,” Sellers said. “We had three rehearsals a day, and normally you wouldn’t have that much time at school.”

Aaerial Tankxley, a rising sophomore and also part of the quartet, appreciated being around new directors who suggested different practice methods for the flute.

“It was fun,” she said. “I was a little nervous at first.”

All three campers recommended interested music students join future camps, and Jackson suggested students should join as early as they can.

“It’s open to incoming seventh graders who have only been on their instrument for a year,” Jackson said. “Even this week with the woodwind ensemble, I’ve seen growth in the little kids.”

Bearcat students weren’t the only Bearcats at the camp either. SHS Director of Bands Ryan Jenkins and Orchestra Director Michael Moore were familiar faces to the many Bearcat campers that week.

SHS Orchestra Director Michael Moore picks up a part in a piece.

Photo: SHS Orchestra Director Michael Moore picks up a part during the recital. Photo by Todd Kleiboer, Sherman ISD Communications

Organized by the Sherman Symphony Orchestra (SSO) and hosted by Austin College, the camp came from a vision shared by SSO Education Director Leslie Whelan and Alan Harkey, Austin College Director of Bands. The two wanted to offer a summer music camp experience like none other offered in the Texoma area where students could dive deep into their instruments without the day-to-day of school.

“The vision for what we [she and Alan Harkey] had and what happened have been so close,” Whelan said. “We feel like this week has been an overwhelming success for a first-year camp.”

Scholarships were also made available this year to every student who inquired, Whelan said, thanks to local businesses and sponsors, and she looks forward to growing the camp for summers to come.