Community Music School hosts musical theatre camp for Mich. students
The MSU Community Music School is turning students into triple threat performers with its new Musical Theatre Camp this week, teaching young performers the ropes of the stage in a little more than a week’s time.
From Monday through Friday, more than 60 students from grades 2-12 will fill their days with singing, choreography, acting, costume design and other activities that will prepare them for the basics of a stage production.
Campers, such as Owosso High School senior Madaline Harkema, enrolled in the camp to get more experience. Harkema hopes to major in musical theater in college.
“It’s helping me prepare by giving me a different sense of the speed that you need to learn,” Harkema said. “Going back and forth between a lot of different things, having a lot of information given to you at short amounts of time and you have to remember all of it. You have to do that in the real world when it comes to theater.”
Others, such as 11-year-old Lansing resident Lian Li, said she likes the way being on stage makes her feel while performing.
“I have (performed) a couple of times, but not like this.” Li said. “I actually feel like I’m in ‘Glee’, and I feel like I’m a celebrity when I’m doing it. It makes me feel kind of special because it makes me feel so good.”
The camp instructors worked with students to perfect song selections from “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”, “The Wiz”, “Oliver”, “Hairspray”, “Oklahoma” and “Little Women,” said Andy Huber, the assistant program director of the MSU Community Music School.
“We just tried to think of songs that were accessible for the kids that they could be able to sing and enjoy,” Huber said. “But at the same time, kind of push them a little bit, something that got them on their feet and kept them excited, more than just a choir camp would.”
Despite only being in camp for two days, the campers already have mastered much of the choreography and songs, said Joshua Baum, instructor of voice at the MSU Community Music School.
“We have got a really good core of children’s choir students that were very excited, so we built off of that,” Baum said. “The other thing that this camp emphasizes is focusing on mentorship of the students. The teachers were all working with the students teaching them the knowledge we know. On the same hand, we are expecting the high school students to step it up a level and work with these younger students. The middle students are supposed to be helping the younger students, so that whole trickle down idea makes this a unique experience.”
The camp is also a boost for self-esteem and courage to young performers, Baum said.
“It really does build up a students confidence, actually, any time a student performs, it’s going to help build their confidence,” Baum said. “What we have tried to do is we focus on doing duets and smaller ensembles that will allow (the students) to have some solo activity. They get up for a short verse or something and it gives them that experience and the ability to be in the spotlight at that moment, but then they get to go back in the group and have the support of those numbers as well.”
Rachel Weinfeld, a Waverly High School junior who performed at the camp, said she enjoys the hard work of performing and dancing on stage.
“I love musical theater so I figured whatever musical experience I could get would be helpful,” Weinfeld said. “I love performing, especially with the music because of being able to sing things that you can’t necessarily be able to speak through words and being able to portray different things that people go through and showing that these things happen to everyone.”