RIO GRANDE — The University of Rio Grande is hosting several high schools from around the region for week-long band camps. School of Fine Arts assistant professor Gary Stewart said 12 bands will be coming to campus for camp this year.
“We have bands coming from areas such as Dayton, Zanesville and Columbus and even from Point Pleasant, W.Va. We will see a wide range of bands, some with close to 130 members or as few as 45 students,” Stewart said. “These students will work hard during their time on campus to prepare their shows for Friday night football and band competition seasons this fall.”
Stewart said bands have been coming to Rio for their annual camps since the 1970s when the program was privately run and known as “Camp Crescendo.” Stewart has been overseeing the camps through the university for 15 years.
“I was a band director in the public school system for 33 years and had plenty of experience with band camps. It’s exciting to get the chance to work with these students and their directors,” Stewart said. “I enjoy these band camps because it takes me back to my time as a band director.”
Stewart said, over the years, he has had students from his classes help during the band camp weeks through summer classes or work-study programs.
“Since Rio does not have its own marching band, my students can get experience by coming to the band camps, working with the bands and directors and watching them create their shows,” Stewart said. “It’s important for them to experience life on a college campus and being away from home before they leave for college. Many students don’t continue with their instruments after high school, but here at Rio we have opportunities such as our symphonic band and other ensembles for them to continue playing music even if they choose to major outside of fine arts.”
The camps will continue to run through the first week of August.