For one week each summer, talented students in grades five through 12 arrive at Chautauqua Institution to participate in the Chautauqua Music Camps.
The Winifred Crawford Dibert Foundation in Jamestown sponsors the camps, which include orchestra, jazz, chamber music and a middle school band.
The camps expose students to intensive rehearsals, musicianship classes, coaching and musical enrichment.
There are also opportunities for students to enjoy attending a rehearsal of the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra and evening events at the Institution. The camps culminate with three major performances this week.
Students will perform at 12:15 p.m. today on Bestor Plaza
At 2 p.m. today in Fletcher Music Hall, students will present a special high school jazz concert.
At 10:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. Saturday, campers will give chamber music and orchestra performances followed by a middle school band and jazz performance at 12:30 p.m. in Elizabeth S. Lenna Hall.
Peter Lindblom, assistant principal trumpet in the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, serves as director of the camps.
“I work all year with my registrar and my band director, primarily Terry and Marcy Bacon, with planning and promotion,” Lindblom said. “We have a lot of returning students, and that makes it nice because a huge percentage of our base comes every year until they age out after high school. We have a really good thing going now.”
The camps’ enrollment has increased 30 percent from last year, Lindblom said. With 140 participating middle and high school students, it’s the largest group the program has seen in its 17 years.
“We’ve been doing this for a number of years, and we’re always amazed at the abilities of the children under the tutelage of Peter and his distinguished faculty,” said Robert Ostrom, president of the Dibert Foundation.
The local foundation’s support of the camps is an annual highlight for their board, who often visit Chautauqua to meet the participants.
“We get grant requests for a plethora of things in the greater Jamestown area, and one of the first things we look at, obviously, is Chautauqua,” Ostrom said.
Chautauqua County residents currently make up approximately 70 percent of the campers.
A Jamestown native himself, Lindblom said he’s happy to see the involvement of the local community and appreciates Ostrom and the Dibert Foundation’s help and involvement in making that possible.
Without their support, Lindblom said, tuition would be significantly higher, and less accessible to young talent.
“The majority of high school and scholastic camps are anywhere between $800 and $1,200,” Lindblom said.
The tuition for the Chautauqua Music Camps costs a fraction of that, at $225 for the entire week.
Lindblom appreciates not only the Dibert Foundation’s financial support of the camps, but also their involvement.
“[They’re] always thrilled to hear what we’re doing and they’re very interested in helping us,” he said.
It’s a partnership Ostrom is proud of and looks forward to continuing, citing Winifred Dibert’s wishes for the foundation “to provide for youth … and for Chautauqua.”