The last day of school is a day most kids eagerly, often impatiently, anticipate. This day signifies freedom, flexibility and fun.
Kids have plenty of possibilities for summer fun: playing outside, swimming, camping, family vacations and so much more. But students in the Parkland can add another exciting option to their summer to-do list: summer camps.
Four excitement-filled camps will be held at the Mineral Area Fine Arts Academy on the Mineral Area College campus with an end-of-the-week showcase on Friday evening for each camp.
Show Choir Camp: June 6-10, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“Catch A Wave” with this summer camp full of high energy, choreography, lights, costumes and solo opportunities for students in eighth grade through college.
Little Surfers Show Choir geared toward students in third to seventh grades will rehearse after the regular show choir camp from 4-6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 1-3 p.m. on Friday. A combined rehearsal will take place on Friday. Cost for this camp is $40.
Sherry Francis directed the first MAFAA show choir camp last year.
“The performers formed a special bond of friendship and it was an overall incredible experience,” she said. “It was something I will never forget.”
Francis said learning a set of music with harmonies and solos, along with challenging choreography and dance formations in only five days is not a simple task.
“But these amazing students brought excellence and star qualities like no other,” she said, referring to last year’s camp. “Most importantly and amazingly, they felt like a family almost immediately. The magic of music is beyond words.”
Francis said this year’s show choir camp is “super cool.”
“Just imagine, school is out and what better way to kick off the summertime fun then with an enormous beach party,” she said. “You’re gonna want to ‘hang ten’ and ‘dive in’ because ‘Surf’s Up!’”
The show choir camp for eighth graders to college students will include upbeat music from The Beach Boys to Teen Beach Movie and more.
According to Francis, this one-week camp will be “the biggest beach party the Mineral Area has ever seen!”
Both show choir groups will each perform on that Friday evening and then do a combined song.
Theatre Camp: June 13-17, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Students are encouraged to “act out” in theater camp. From improvisation and reader’s theatre to dance and musicals, there is something for everyone interested in theatre. Seventh graders to college-age students are invited to take part in this camp. Participants will be grouped by age and experience. They’ll not only learn how to express themselves creatively, instill confidence and make new friendships.
Jason Carr, MAFAA’s theatre director, said 72 campers participated in last year’s theatre camp. This year, the goal is to surpass 100 participants.
“There is zero experience required to participate in this camp,” said Carr, “just a positive attitude and a willingness to learn and have fun.”
He said with the growth of the academy and the overwhelming support from the community, they are expecting all of the summer camps to have larger numbers than last year.
Big Band Camp: June 27-July 1, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Students in seventh grade to college level who play trumpet, trombone, saxophone, guitar, bass, vibraphone, drums or piano and have at least one year of instruction or are proficient on their instrument are encouraged to take part in this camp.
Students will be paired together based on experience and will spend the week gaining valuable education in being part of a big band. They’ll also learn about the history of jazz, improvisation, various jazz styles and more.
“This camp was a huge success last year,” said Amanda Dement, director of MAFAA, “and we hope to add many more students to the bands this year.”
Members of the Mineral Area Kicks Band, as well as other talented educators will staff the Big Band Camp.
Dement said she’s excited to see what this year brings with more students being able to attend. She added that students must not have previous experience in jazz to be part of this camp. As long as they are proficient in their instrument, they’ll learn the basics up to the most advanced.
Middle School Band Camp: July 11-15, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
This summer camp is specifically for students who have completed their first or second year of band and will include small and full band rehearsals, master classes, music theory classes, team-building opportunities, and more. Students will be paired with peers of the same ability and experience to allow them the best opportunity to grow and gain confidence with their instrument.
Dement said MAFAA’s summer camps are a great way to provide a sample of what the academy is about: great experiences, inspiring connections and instruction that is tailored to the needs of each student.
“We have an exciting, talented and passionate group of teachers for every camp that who are looking forward to providing a memorable educational experience and inspiring young people to find new things to love or refine the talents they are already growing in,” she said.
Several local businesses sponsored lunch for one of the 15 days of MAFAA camps last year, including El Tapatio, Bow Tie Catering, BOGO Sandwiches, SugarFire Smoke House Farmington, Coljacs, Pizza 101 South, East Missouri Action Agency, Park Hills Save A Lot, Jimmy John’s, Desloge Little Caesars, Pasta House and Subway.
For businesses who would like to sponsor a lunch for this year’s camps, contact Dement at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Registration for MAFAA’s summer camps for 2022 opens March 14. Cost is $95 per camp and includes an end-of-week performance.
More information can be found on the academy’s website at mafinearts.org. Call 573-518-2265 for more information.
Pam Clifton is a contributing writer for the Daily Journal