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Summer camp offers cellos, not canoes
Most kids don't head off to summer camp with a violin under their arm.
But Yuma's own Strings Del Rio Summer Music Camp is certainly no ordinary camp experience.
Instead of canoes and campfires, students are treated to all things string, be it cello, violin, viola or bass. Veteran classical musicians created the camp to give string players an in-depth educational experience, along with the chance to meet some other music makers who dig Beethoven and Bach.
"We want people to have a great time and come away just loving it," said Kathy Younker, camp director. "We also want to give people a chance to meet each other. With classical music that doesn't happen that much."
The camp also differs from most because it offers its opportunities to both children and adults.
But underneath all the fun there's a lot of learning that comes when musicians trade a weekly lesson for a week jam-packed with learning.
"I have seen major strides in people's playing after camp," Younker said. "They have all day for their learning to be reinforced, not just for the length of one lesson."
This year's Strings Del Rio Summer Music Camp runs June 14-19. Registration is currently under way, with a 10 percent discount being offered for everyone who registers by April 15.
Classes will run from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The camp will end with a morning performance by the instructors, followed by a concert starring all the students.
Younker and fellow musician Janet Jones created Strings Del Rio three years ago. Though still a young event, the day camp already boasts top educators from around the region and draws students from around the state.
Younker said the camp is broken into numerous class groups so that students will be able to play and learn on their ability level. Campers range from elementary-aged students who are beginners in their school programs to older students with a little more experience under the belts.
The camp also reaches out to adult musicians who are beginners or who have never played a stringed instrument but have always wanted to try.
"Usually older players get left out by opportunities like this and we don't do that here. We have some adults who have already registered, so there's safety in numbers!" Younker said, chuckling.
"We had some adults last year and they're coming back because they really enjoyed it. They really don't notice that they're playing with younger people, who also don't seem to notice. Everyone really enjoys working together."
Instruments will be available for loan to older students who have never played.
The camp is sponsored by the Yuma Orchestra Association with assistance from the Yuma Union High School District and a grant from the Yuma Community Foundation and the Sturges Charitable Trust.
The cost is $300, with scholarships available to cover half the charge. There is also a 10-percent discount for people who register by April 15.
"But there are other ways, like work scholarships or sponsorships, if people can't afford that," Younker said. "We will also take payments."
Registration includes a T-shirt, daily snacks and lunches.
To register, go online to www.YumaOrchestra.com. Scholarship information is also available on the Web site. For more information, call Younker at 314-0735.
Darin Fenger can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 539-6860.