Fine arts camps condition skills over summer

Eva Zitlow, staff reporter

During the year, many South students participate in the musical or V-Show at school. Some are dancers who have commitments to  Poms, Latino Heat, De La Cru, off-season dancing, and the musical. Others are singers who have the musical and choir,  actors who have the V-Show, outside of school acting and the musical. But after the school year is over, what is helping them practice for the next year?

Sophomore Sabrina Penepacker, who is on Poms and also participates in the musical, goes to fine arts camps as a dance major to refine the skills she has worked on all school year. Either by recommendation or finding it themselves, some students attend summer camp as a way to keep improving their skills for the next year, Penepacker says. Overnight fine art camps have a way of bringing out the art in people, according to Penepacker. 

“I love [camp] so much because it involves people like singers and musicians surrounded by wilderness,” Penepacker said. “You’re surrounded by the art everywhere.”

Penepacker goes to Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Twin Lake, Michigan, a camp recommended by Aaron Wojcik, band director at South.

“Music and fine arts, in general, whether it is painting, dancing, playing an instrument, or singing are all skills,”  Wojcik said. “The important part of any skill is that you continually practice that skill every single day.”

Along with Blue Lake, Wojcik encourages fine arts camps to those who might have an interest in becoming better at their skill, such as music, dance or art. He recommends certain camps to different students depending on the progress individuals need. Wojcik also believes in doing a camp for the love of art and the commitment or determination to improve.

Blue Lake is full of students eager to learn more about the arts, Penepacker says. Penepacker explains that when you first get to the camp you have to audition for placement. The possible placements at the camp include dance, music or acting. Then, classes are assigned in the morning and afternoon to practice and refine skills in the specific area they were placed into. In the end, Penepacker says, all students get to perform and show off what they have learned in those 12 days. Penepacker’s younger sister, freshman Alicia Penepacker, also attends the same fine art camp as her older sister. Alicia is following in the steps of her two older sisters, who attended the same fine art camp throughout the summer.

“It’s really cool to be around people that have the same passions as you,” Alicia said. “Even at school, you see people who like music and it’s really fun to be friends with them, but when you’re at camp, everyone there for that reason and they all love music as much as you do.”

Because of this shared passion, Alicia says, connecting with others at fine art camps is very easy. Her time at fine art camps taught Alicia to be versatile as a percussionist, who is expected to know how to play multiple instruments.

“The camp really helped me become more versatile and be able to jump on whatever when the director tells you to,” Alicia said. “It helps me get a lot more comfortable with auditions because on the first day everyone has to audition.”

Junior Allie Vogelmeier, who performs in many of the various plays South showcases, is going to a fine arts camp for the first time this summer at New York University, where she says she hopes to attend college. She is not only going away to a fine art camp for college, however. According to Vogelmeier, she also hopes that she will return with improved skills that she will be able to use in her activities throughout the school.

“I’m hoping to get a lot out of [the summer camp] to become a better actor and to see how I can learn from the professors there and from my peers,” Vogelmeier said.