Because of my past informative and engaging experiences in summer music camps, I was very eager to begin my next adventure. In the summer of 2015, I was able to attend NAU Curry Summer Music Camp for two weeks, my third official summer music camp experience. This camp was tremendously impactful on my skills as a solo and choir performer because of the teachings and opportunities that were provided in just a few short weeks.
When it came to solo performance, I was able to work with Jordan Rakita, my vocal masterclass teacher and private voice teacher. He was able to help me find a comfort and equilibrium in my voice that made it so my voice sounded its richest and most relaxed when I sang. This certainly came in handy for Flagstaff’s highaltitude as well, for the higher elevation made it occasionally harder to breathe. He enforced the importance of breath, its suspension, onsets, and offsets, all of which were things that I seemed to have disregarded as less important before; now that I have learned from him and heard the improvement in my voice when I incorporated the lessons more, I will never again diminish their importance. Having Mr. Rakita as an instructor was an enjoyable and enlightening experience, and I greatly value the improvement I made with him.
I sang three times as much in a choir than I did as a soloist, however, and also found myself greatly benefiting from it. I sang in two choirs while I attended the camp. The first of two was the general choir comprised of the entire choir department, conducted one week by Dr. Edith Copley and the next by Dr. Ryan Holder. We sang a wide array of selections, ranging from classical to rock to gospel (I was even able to be a soloist in one of the gospel pieces). The second choir I sang in was the Honor Choir, comprised of nine girls and conducted by Dr. Holder. While we only sang three songs in comparison to the nine in the other choir, they were also very different in style. The differing styles of music, while challenging, was very useful in improving my skill in singing multiple genres. Having a very powerful soprano voice normally, I also learned a tremendous amount regarding blending in with the choir and singing a lower voice part than I am used to. The lessons I learned in that choir room were ones that I will be sure not to let go of, for I could feel my improvement as a choral singer.
With my singing experiences combined with my social experiences at the camp (ones that I could write multiple paragraphs about), my time at Curry Summer Music Camp was an unforgettable time. I could not have had this amazing experience without the generous scholarships provided by donors and the Arizona Choral Directors Association, and I cannot thank them all enough for their contributions. I only want to pursue music even more ardently than before, and now I know that as I continue my personal musical journey through my final year of high school, into college, and beyond, I will be better equipped with lessons and skills that will help me reach my ultimate goal of singing professionally.