I have been going to the Batawagama Band Camp in Iron County for the past two years. It was founded in 1955 and is situated in the woods on the shores of Indian Lake between Crystal Falls and Iron River.
Batawagama occurs annually the third week of June. It starts on Sunday with a chair placement audition and ends with a final concert the next Saturday. The time at Batawagama is filled with music, laughter, and making friends.
There are 13 amazing people who are instrumental specialists at Batawagama. These people come from all over the United States. They seem to love working with middle and high school aged kids.
GlenEllen LEHMBERG, 15
Some of the people include Dennis Glocke, director of bands at Penn State University, Robert Spring, a clarinet professor at Arizona State University, and Andrew Pelletier, a French horn professor at Bowling Green State University. As you can see, it's a pretty impressive roster of instructors.
During the week, there is a Bata Band and a Gama Band splitting the students in two. I was in the Bata Band this past summer and Glocke directed it. I remember that he made the full band rehearsals a lot of fun. That is mainly because he picked music for us that was fun to work on and play for the whole week.
Since I play clarinet, I was able to work with Spring during sectionals for individual instruments. Those sessions were very fun as well and he is hilarious. He had us work on a clarinet choir piece, which was a Lady Gaga song that Spring arranged.
I enjoyed working on it and we performed it in front of the whole camp while they were in line outside the mess hall for lunch. I improved so much during sectionals and I loved it.
While I was at Batawagama, the Bata Band and I worked on music that we were going to perform for our families and friends at the end of the week. Some of the songs we played included, "Manhattan Beach March" and "Old Churches." There was also a piece that Robert Hanson, one of the instrumental specialists, wrote specifically for the week. It was called "In the Groove" and it was super fun to play.
Band camp went by quickly for me this year and it was even more fun than when I went the first time before my freshman year. It was a little sad for me at the end of what is called, "Skit Night" because it was the last time we sang the evening songs in Soderman Hall that week.
I had learned so much from the entire faculty and I loved every second of Batawagama and I didn't want to go home. I then realized that I would always have next year. I can't wait to be back with my Batawagama family.
Editor's note: GlenEllen Lehmberg, 15, is a sophomore at Marquette Senior High School. She is a long time member of 8-18 Media and is also involved in dance and youth theatre in her spare time. Her parents are Paul and Z.Z. Lehmberg of Marquette. 8-18 Media is a youth journalism program of the Upper Peninsula Children's Museum. Through the program, teams of kids write news stories and commentaries on issues important to youth and about any good, or bad, things youth are up to. For more information call 906-226-7874, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.