When strings camp; Young musicians learn ‘a lot’ of techniques at Austin tradition

Published 8:55 am Friday, August 4, 2017

The sound of Beethoven’s “Ninth Symphony” filled the small concert hall at Westminster Presbyterian Church. Kids participating in the Seven Springs Summer String Camp, ranging from ages 10 to 16, marched in playing violins and violas.

Leading them in was their instructor, Sue Radloff. Bass and cello players sitting on stage accompanied them.

Campers rehearse for their Thursday evening performance.

Among the marchers was violinist Kory Engelstad, 14. An incoming freshman, Engelstad hopes to play with the Austin High School Orchestra.

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In his fifth year, Engelstad is the longest tenured participant in the camp.

“You learn a lot here,” he said. “There are a lot of different techniques you can learn.”

Campers rehearse for their Thursday evening performance.

Now in its eighth year, the camp is consistently held Monday through Thursday of the first week of August. The MacPhail School of Music sponsored the camp this year and last year.

Radloff, the head of the camp, said that 25 students participated this year.

“We don’t advertise that much,” she said. “I think it’s the word of mouth from the kids that come and like the camp so much that they come back.”

Campers rehearse for their Thursday evening performance.

Many of the participants have come three or four times, according to Radloff. Participants are required to have played their instrument for at least one year before attending the camp.

The camp culminated in a concert performance held Thursday evening at Westminster Presbyterian Church. The campers performed classical pieces as well as lighter pieces such as “Hooked on Classics,” classical works set to a rock and roll beat.

“It’s a great thing,” said Engelstad. “The music’s always good.”