Written by: Meryl Zhang
Graphics by: Jennie Wang
This year, FCSN was proud to host its first in-person summer music camp in 3 years. The camp, which lasted 3 days, featured programs for both a ‘beginner’ group and an ‘advanced’ group. During this time, students were able to experience music for the first time or participate in an orchestra with their peers. The day after the camp, students performed what they had learned in the camp at a large concert.
Founded in 2006, the Summer Music Camp was the first summer program to be offered at the newly-opened East Bay center in Fremont. Initially, the camp simply offered three classes (dance, vocal, and instrumental) for students of all ages. As the camp gained popularity in subsequent years, students were split into beginner or advanced groups. Experienced student musicians could also choose to perform a solo at the concert. Each year, the wide variety of talent that campers bring helps enhance the experience for both themselves and the audience. As usual, this year’s camp was unlike any other in the past.
On the first day of rehearsals, the beginner group was split into two sections, percussion and dance, so that students could choose which section they wished to attend on a particular day. This way, it would be easier for each section to learn, and no one would feel pressured to stay in one section at a time. Percussion was led by Mr. Eustice, a local percussion teacher, who taught students to play two different types of drums: Renshu and Matsare Go. To help students familiarize themselves with rhythm and dynamics, Mr. Eustice encouraged them to sing along as they played the drums. The dance teacher, Jason, was the winner of the 2022 Special Needs Talent Showcase. A university student and self-taught dancer, Jason specializes in hip-hop and breakdancing. While teaching the students to dance Cupid Shuffle, he broke down each of the movements to make them easier to learn.
The advanced summer program was an orchestra conducted by Mr. Bolivar, where students learned 10 songs from scratch in only 3 days for the performance. Ranging from guitar to cello to vocals, the orchestra provided a similarly varied repertoire for the concert which included Bohemian Rhapsody, Pirates of the Caribbean, and more. Though the students had only just begun group rehearsal, they already sounded impressive and were in sync by the end of the first day.
On Saturday, the long-awaited concert finally began. The interior of the Hope Community Church, where the performance was held, was cheerfully decorated with balloons, and almost all of the seats were full. First to perform were the students from the beginner music camp, who charmed the crowd with their enthusiasm throughout each performance, particularly the Cupid Shuffle dance. The rest of the program featured not only the advanced orchestra’s full repertoire (highlighted by its own talented vocalists) but also separate vocals-only performances by singers Erin, Erik, Christian, and Michael. Overall, the concert was an amazing experience for the students as well as the audience, and we are excited to see what next year’s camp will bring.