Music Camp students cap off intense week with performances today, Saturday

Tim Bartlett, 16, from Cassadaga, N.Y., plays drums at rehearsal. Bartlett also plays guitar. Photo by Adam Birkan.

Mateo Mendez, 15, from Forestville, N.Y., plays baritone saxaphone during rehearsal Wednesday at Chautauqua Music Camp. Photo by Adam Birkan.

Yemi Falodun | Staff Writer

“You hear the gators snapping,” said band conductor Terry Bacon about “Alligator Alley,” which is one of several pieces the Chautauqua Music Camp will play this weekend.

The band and orchestra camps will perform 12 p.m. Saturday at Elizabeth S. Lenna Hall. The jazz camp members will perform 2 p.m. today in Fletcher Music Hall. The camp features students in middle school and high school.

“It has staged percussion in various sections of the hall,” said clarinet coach Debbie Grohman. “It’s like alligators come out of the swamp.”

Grohman’s son, who is a percussionist, participates in the weeklong program she describes as a one-room-school experience.

“It should be a very cool concert,” she said. “And a chance to hear young budding musicians and see what folks from the area can do.”

Peter Lindblom, who is a Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra member, has been involved in the music camps since their inception 14 years ago. For the past decade, he has served as the director.

“It is our way to get the youth back on the grounds,” Lindblom said.

The programs for the concerts are decided, but the process is not always easy.

“Picking the right music is difficult,” said orchestra director Donna Davis. “We never know beforehand the level of the orchestra.”

The pieces are from an eclectic mix, including “Superheroes R Us” by Michael Story. The piece features the themes from classic superheroes, such as Superman, Batman, James Bond and others.

“I’m a sucker for songs that tell stories,” Bacon said. “Most of the pieces that I tend to pick have good
stories to them.”

The concerts also include the adult coaches who assist the youth in playing the pieces.

“It gives me an opportunity to surround myself around musicians of all ages,” Bacon said. “Just being surrounded by people who feel it is so important that they have to do music; it’s a wonderful experience.”