WEST MILTON — Central Oak Heights Music Camps have proven to be fun and beneficial, both for campers and staff.
The big events of the week include the Middle School Music Camp Concert, slated for 6 p.m. Friday and the Elementary School Music Camp Concert at 11 a.m. Saturday, both at the Central Oak Heights Tabernacle.
Again this year, the staff included long time music educators and educators in training.
Deanna Goudelias, a recent Bucknell University graduate, was a music education major with a linguistics minor. Improv Vocalization, a class which is what it sounded like, was one of the sessions she was leading.
“We have six kids in our improv class,” Goudelias said. “We are doing all sorts of improv games. We are kind of just exploring our voices in every sense.”
Beat boxing, mimicking percussion with the voice, and sometimes just speaking are used at the start.
“We’ll walk in and we are all talking about what we saw from our bunks on the ceiling,” Goudelias said. “We’ll create a rhythm, starting our way with speaking and ending with singing.”
Improv vocalization allowed very young musicians to learn about their voices, themselves and how to take chances.
“It is so important in music, which is so hard to learn,” Goudelias said. “This is just an easy way to ease you in a little bit. You have a safe group of people and we all have your back.”
Goudelias is planning to continue her education at New York University as a speech and language pathologist. She intends to include music in her therapies.
Amy Pocius, a staff member, noted in between classes that she was recently hired to teach music at Berwick-area schools.
Rachel Henry of Lewisburg, who just finished her first year at Westminster College, was on the staff for the first time.
“The best part about this camp is that it gives kids an opportunity to earn stuff they might not learn in their middle school music classes,” Henry said. “For example, world drumming. I don’t know how many schools do that and the kids love it.”
Henry, now 19, was in year 13 of camp having started as a young camper. She thanked Sherry Barben for her world drumming and vocal improv expertise. Barben has been on the staff since the beginning.
Campers and staff alike will remember the late Dawn Doll this year.
“She was more than an inspiration for students,” Henry said. “She was a lover of music and a great human being. She was a blessing not only for students but for everyone at this camp.”
Doll died earlier this year and will be memorialized with a tree and meditation area. She was also a music teacher in Warrior Run schools.
Jack Myers, a camper last year, will also be on the minds of campers.
Myers, age 10, was diagnosed with cancer and is at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia where he has lost a leg below the knee.
Myers, a Philadelphia Eagles fan, will soon receive gifts from Central Oak Heights campers. They will include a poster with an Eagles logo and a ukulele painted green and black and signed by campers.
Staff Writer Matt Farrand can be reached at 570-742-9671 and via email at email@example.com.