OTTUMWA— Four orchestra students from Evans Middle School have been selected to participate in Oskaloosa’s String Chamber Music Camp in June. Students selected include: Katy Cramblit and Bennett Rogers, eighth grade; and Olivia Palen and Nazareth Nano, seventh grade. The camp, scheduled for the second week of the Oskaloosa Music Festival, offers students an in-depth study of chamber music for interested string students in the region. Twenty students were selected.
Students will be placed into small string ensembles and will rehearse and be coached by a member of the Minneapolis-based Lux String Quartet. Students will present their work in a public recital on Friday, June 9. “Chamber music is really pretty,” Bennett said. There are 20 string players in a full chamber and they play without a conductor.
Students were required to submit an application and audition tape, featuring two song selections. All four students had various reasons for wanting to participate. “A couple of friends had participated in the past and they really liked it,” said Rogers, a violin player. She hopes to learn more about vibrato and gain confidence to play without a conductor. “You have to learn to rely on each other, to listen and watch.” She also is looking forward to learning from a professional string quartet.
Palen hopes to improve her skills as a cello player. One portion of the camp focuses on learning improvisation. “It seems like a lot of fun,” she said. “You are never done learning.”
Nano sees the camp as another opportunity to gain as much experience as possible. “It is also something to do in the summer,” she said.
Music is a passion for all four students. “My mom plays violin and wanted me to play an orchestral instrument,” said Palen. “I wanted a deeper toned instrument so I picked the cello.” She takes private lessons during the summer and hopes to continue playing an instrument as an adult.
Cramblit takes private lessons and hopes to learn to play other instruments. “I’ve always loved music,” she said. “My grandma had an organ and played violin.” Her mother also played clarinet.
Rogers admits she is not very good at rehearsing in the summer but always wanted to play violin. Her previous school started lessons in the fourth grade.
Nano, originally from Mexico, has been playing the violin since first grade and also takes private lessons. This summer, she is looking forward to learning the harp. Her brother started lessons before her and inspired her. “No offense to band but it’s not my thing,” she said. “I wanted to do something different.”
“I am so proud of these young ladies,” said Angela McDonald, Evans orchestra instructor. “They always do their best and always exceed expectations. I am proud to say I am the teacher of such exceptional young musicians.”