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Popular Arts Camp Continues to Grow




The district’s five-week Summer Fine Arts program is as popular as ever, with 530 children and teenagers participating in music, theater and visual arts camps from July 8 through Aug. 9. Coordinator Jessica Wyman said that enrollment is up by more than 200 students from last year, a jump she attributes to the addition of eight new courses, an easier online registration process and positive word-of-mouth.

“The Summer Fine Arts camp has a great reputation,” she said, “and people are enthusiastic about being a part of it. Our camps offer an intense immersion into the arts.”

 This year’s summer course guide featured more than two dozen one-week and two-week camps, each led by a certified teacher with support from high school student assistants. Ms. Wyman explained that many students signed up for multiple camps over the five weeks, “mixing and matching” among music, theater and visual arts.

Rock Orchestra was a new music class this year, led by Berner Middle School orchestra teacher Pam Kronowitz. After giving students a sampling of rock, pop and movie theme songs, they selected five to practice for an end-of-camp performance for parents including the “Jurassic Park” theme song and “New York, New York.”

It was a true team effort with music teachers Deborah Burkart, Jeremy Einhart and Gary Loock accompanying the young musicians on the violin, electric bass and drums, respectively, and high school student Laura Philbin adding a flute introduction to “My Heart Will Go On.”

Seventh graders Faridah B. and Gianna D. both said they liked the class because of the modern music selections and agreed that it increased their abilities to play different styles of music. Harrison H. explained that the harder songs made him a better cellist.

“It let me explore new types of music, some faster, some slower,” added seventh grader Aurod S., who took Rock Orchestra at the recommendation of Ms. Kronowitz. “It’s different than what we do during the school year.”

In a new Advanced Sculpture course with art teacher Paul Leone, students made life-size replicas of themselves. Because of the complexity of the process, they need helped from their classmates to create molds of the different sections of their bodies using plastic wrap and a lot of tape. The artists also made large flowers using plaster, and created an art installation outside of the school for the final day of camp.

A one-week Theater Boot Camp was for students in grades 8-12 who have already participated in at least one Massapequa production. They worked with music teachers Katie Tauches and Jeanine Yako and choreographer Danielle Coutieri on advanced theater skills. The intensity of the camp helped prepare students for the audition process.

Incoming sixth grader Ryan D. participated in two visual arts camps including Storybook Illustration and iPad Claymation Level 2, in which he and his partners created a stop-motion animation video about an internet meme shark puppet.

“It was fun that we got to make our own movie, design our own characters and write our own script,” he said.

Third-grader Emmy D. enrolled in the Decorative Arts class and said her favorite project was making a finger puppet by creating a plaster cast of her finger. The class was perfect for her as, “I like when art gets really messy. That’s how real artists do it.”