A record number 223 students attended the 14th annual Farmington Suzuki String Camp. Students grades 1-9 dedicated two and a half hours daily to playing violin, viola, cello or bass while at camp, and then they went home and practiced even more. The Camp was held at West Woods Upper Elementary School from July 9-27, 2012.
Mr. Carl Shugart, String Teacher at Irving Robbins Middle School, founded the camp and based it on the philosophy of Dr. Shinichi Suzuki. He believed that all children could learn to play a stringed instrument provided there is good teaching, a supportive family, and a willing student. The Farmington String Camp is proof that this strategy is successful.
Even though the program is an intensive study of stringed instruments, there are lighter moments and lots of fun. Every “Wacky Wednesday” and “Freaky Friday” the faculty and students dressed up in “crazy” outfits. Students had regular break times to visit with their friends and meet students from other schools. In addition to string studies, students also attended a daily general music class to learn about singing, theory, and composition, and a visual arts class.
There were three concerts, all held at West Woods: A Chamber Music and Solo Recital on July 24 a formal Orchestra and Choir concert on July 26 and a Traditional Suzuki Playdown Recital and Visual Art Show on July 27. The Chamber Music Concert featured the most advanced students performing quartets and some selected soloists. The progression in playing was from students who have studied their instruments for one year and are beginning note readers to advanced string players. The grand finale was all 223 students performing the 1812 Overture by Tchaikovsky. The final concert was a traditional Suzuki “Playdown” in which the most advanced pieces are played first and then pieces are played in order of with lessening difficulty until all musicians perform “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.” Following the performance, everyone attended an ice cream social.