Friday, July 17, 2009

Fayette County Students Learn Music and Leadership at All Girls Summer Camp

A total of 13 students from Fayette’s middle and high schools participated in the first Athena Music and Leadership Camp designed to encourage females to become leaders in their band programs.

Young musicians from five of Fayette County's middle and high schools were a part of history in the making this summer as they attended the first ever music leadership camp just for girls.

The Athena Music and Leadership Camp, sponsored by Music Essentials, was created by Fayette County High School band director Myra Rhoden in an effort to encourage girls to become leaders in their school band programs. Men have long dominated the music field at the high school level, and although women are starting to enter the field, Rhoden says attitudes take time to catch up. That’s why she spent a year organizing the camp that is named after the Greek goddess of the arts and wisdom. The camp is the only band camp in the state serving just girls, according to Rhoden.

At total of 44 students from nine metro-Atlanta counties, including 13 from Fayette, attended the first all female music camp June 9-13 on the campus of the University of West Georgia. Fayette students included Katherine Burke, Bennett’s Mill Middle; Callie Burks, Flat Rock Middle; Ashley Carter, Fayette County High; Emily Gomes, Fayette Middle; Gabrielle Illg, Rising Starr Middle; Alexis Johnson, Fayette County High; Tori Melton, Rising Starr Middle; Sarah Mendes, Rising Starr Middle; Mallory Northrop, Fayette County High; Elisabeth Pagan, Fayette Middle; Sara Preiss, Flat Rock Middle; Omone Tokurah, Fayette Middle and Marisa Winter, Rising Starr Middle.

The girls spent the week in music and leadership classes and concluded the camp by showing off what they had learned during a concert performance on the final day.

An all female staff of professional musicians and teachers from around the state lead the camp including Leslie Minor, assistant director at Flat Rock Middle, who served as the clarinet and music theory instructor and Rhoden, who served as the camp’s director and conductor of the all girl symphonic band.

The camp is open to all female 7th-12th grade musicians who play woodwind, brass or percussion instruments. Due to the success of the first camp, a second has been planned for next summer, June 8-12, 2010 at the University of West Georgia.

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