Campers perform in new 'Friends Hall'

Published: Jun. 21, 2017 at 7:12 PM EDT
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Camp Batawagama is home of one the longest running band camps in the U.P. This year, band campers will get to practice their skills, before the camp's big annual performance, inside a brand new building.

The Iron County Band Camp at Camp Batawagama is a camp where everything, even eating and cleaning, is done with the help of a little music.

This year marks the 63rd year the band camp has been running. Students practice for hours on end each day for a week straight before the big night. And while the actual concert they put on Saturday won't take place on campgrounds, practicing in the brand new "Friends Hall" built there this year before the performance is a huge advantage.

"Our concerts are played in gyms, so they're very echoey," said Camp Batawagama band camper Grace Feliz. "This building is a little echoey, so it gives us a better idea of what our actual performance will be like, instead of practicing in a space that doesn't sound like our performance space."

Band camp at Camp Batawagama is a special type of camp with a flair of sophistication. Students there are fortunate enough to work with world-renowned instructors and learn to play original music composed just for them. Even so, some instructors say the magic of the camp, and the talent they see and help mold, makes them walk away each year with much more than what the students do.

"It's an incredible week," said Arizona State University Professor of Clarinet Robert Spring. "We work with junior high kids, high school kids...I always joke that I come here to live the other weeks of the year. It's an incredible experience working with the students and it's an incredible experience just being here around the students."

The Band Camp Faculty Concert will take place Thursday night, followed by the 63rd Annual Iron County Band Camp Concert.

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