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Classes New and Old Enlighten Young Massapequa Artists

More than 500 Massapequa students are enjoying art, music or theater – and in many cases a combination of those three – at the annual Summer Fine Arts Camp.

The five-week program, in partnership with Nassau BOCES, is held at Massapequa High School from July 5 to Aug. 5. Coordinator Jessica Wyman said that 503 students, ranging from incoming first graders to high school seniors, have signed up for at least one camp. There are one-week and two-week classes in instrumental music, visual arts and musical theater led by certified teachers and high school student assistants.

In addition to many popular courses from years past, there are new topics in the program. The first week featured rhythm rockers, a percussion-based class for students entering grades 1-3. Ms. Wyman said that most classes are for grades 4 and up, so this was a way to expand the camp to younger children. It went over well, as an enthusiastic group of students learned how to play boomwhackers, drums and xylophones.

For older students, some new music courses included introduction to songwriting and music recording technology. Additions to visual arts were mosaic art, tie-dye crafts and a revamped jewelry design class.

Incoming sixth grader Luci B. signed up for the songwriting course and said it gave her insight on how to put lyrics and music together. She even got to write an original song, “Brady,” about her dog. She was one of the students who signed up for multiple camps, also taking the iPad Claymation class.

 

The mosaic art class allowed students to create original pieces using a variety of materials such as beans, gems and even Scrabble letters. The projects started out simple, using pictures cut out from magazines to make landscapes, before getting more complex, like making gem-covered flower pots.

“It's a new kind of art that I’ve never seen before,” said sixth grader Lily M. “It’s nice to try something else.”

In the musical theater classes, students worked on their own productions complete with songs and choreography. Sixth grader Colin C. and seventh grader Reilly T. took part in the camp for the first time and said they learned how to be more confident on stage and how to project to the audience.

“I love dancing and singing, I just love it all,” Colin said of the experience.

Sixth grader Sophia G. took part in the camp for the first time last year, so this year she was able to build upon the acting, dancing and singing techniques that she previously learned.

Important to the Summer Fine Arts Camp are the high school students assistants, who support the teachers with their lessons and provide personalized support. Whether it is helping a child with an art project or teaching them the notes on an instrument, their presence is what makes the camp a valued learning experience.

“I like helping out the kids and seeing how they progress,” 10th grade Emily M. said, a music student assistant. “In just two weeks, they've gotten so much better.”

In the beginner music classes for students entering fourth grade, those children are getting a head start on the instruments they will be playing for the first time with the school band or orchestra. Emily noted that they have to teach them the very basics, such as putting the instrument together, holding it properly and playing basic notes.

Emily and fellow student assistant Cormac H., entering 11th grade, were both students in the summer music program when they were in elementary school, so they know how important a role they play.

“Looking at these kids’ faces, I can picture myself,” said Cormac, who plays the viola. “It’s great seeing them start to love the instrument as much as I do now. With these camps, we can give them a lot of one-on-one help, so it really benefits them.”

Each Friday features a student showcase with an art display and music and theater performances.