If someone peeked into the studios of McKnight Hall this week, one could have found Pat Wheelhouse encouraging a group of fifth-graders to play a D major scale on mountain dulcimers in front of them. On the other side of the building, 78-year-old Linda Hubert could be heard shouting over rows of autoharp-playing students who strummed up a dull roar. And if someone just happened to be walking by the School of Music campus, the syncopated ruckus of a jazz band was hard to miss.
For one week each summer, talented students in grades five through 12 arrive at Chautauqua Institution to participate in the Chautauqua Music Camps.
Whether they’ve been on the grounds for 24 hours, days or years, Chautauqua Institution represents many different things to different people.
When Winifred Crawford Dibert created the Winifred Crawford Dibert Foundation with the intent of aiding organizations in the Jamestown, N.Y., area, she made two specific requests in the foundation’s charter statement: First, she wanted to direct the foundation’s support to organizations that provided assistance for children in need. Second, Dibert hoped that the foundation would be able to allocate funding to organizations that were important to her, many of which she gave to throughout her life.
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.”
The Chautauqua School of Music campus looks a lot different this week. As the last of the Music School Festival Orchestra students pack up their belongings and disperse to various colleges across the country, they are replaced this week by musical miniatures.
Middle school and high school instrumentalists now fill the practice rooms and concert halls with small-scale cellos, brazen trumpets and pre-teen flutists congregated around folding music stands, competing to see who can hold a note the longest.
The Chautauqua Music Camps have invaded the School of Music with more than 90 young students to participate in the Middle School Band Camp, the Jazz Camp and the Orchestra Camp for string players. The camp now is in its 13th year and always occurs during Week Eight of the festival season.