HURON — The Huron School District held its first orchestra camp, Tuesday through Friday, conducted by orchestra directors Beth Neitzert and Mia Kruse.
A total of 26 5th, 6th and 7th grade students participated in four days of music rehearsals as well as various types of musical education. There were also four volunteer assistant students in 8th and 9th grades with previous instruction in orchestra there to help guide the young musicians.
“We are hoping the camp will help strengthen the string program at the school,” Kruse noted.
The grand finale concert was held following the final class Friday morning at the Fine Arts Center. Compositions included “South Dakota Fried Pheasant,” derived from the pentatonic scale, and a “Great Gate of Kiev,” which is based on a watercolor painting, and was originally composed for piano, was played as a string arrangement by the students. Teachers also came from Brookings, Aberdeen and Mitchell to hold various workshops and help teach the students different things about the world of orchestral performance and composition.
“Our campers have been great. They are all hard workers and we had a lot of fun,” said Kruse. “They learned a lot of music that is really difficult. They did it in just four days, so we are really pleased with what they did.”
Over the four days of camp, the students would take breaks from practice and lessons during which they created an arrangement with cups in percussion style and included them in Friday’s performance.
Duets by Kruse and Neitzert including an Irish romanic piece, “Amazing Grace,” and “The Entertainer,” were also part of the concert.
To end the concert, students performed a lively piece called “Fiddles on Fire,” while family and friends heard about other activities that took place, such as learning to dance jigs in the park.
“We would like this to be an annual event,” said Kruse.
“For the camp to expand and grow.”
“It was a great week, and for sure we will hold the camp again next year” added Neitzert.