Going to the Spotlight Broadway Mixtape camp was so fun! We did a lot of fun things! We worked on dancing, singing, improv, and theater games. We put on a performance at the end of the week where we danced and sung songs to Another Day Of Sun (La La Land), Don’t Rain On My Parade (Funny Girl), You Can’t Stop The Beat (Hairspray), and Mamma Mia (Mamma Mia). I had a solo in Mamma Mia. I learned a lot to further my theater knowledge. What a privilege to be able to have this experience! Thanks to the Park Ridge Cultural Arts Council!
I would like to thank PRCAC again for helping me participate in Meadowmount School of Music's summer conservatory. This year at Meadowmount was, in fact, even more beneficial for my progress as a violinist than last year. On top of the required 5 hours of practice a day, I played in multiple master classes with my chamber group performing the Verdi string quartet and I solo-performed in the Rose Performance Hall playing the second movement of the Mendelssohn violin concerto. I attended workshops on chamber performance regularly. In addition to all of these musical opportunities, I made many friends, and had a blast. We attended many of Meadowmount's karaoke sing-offs, went to Six Flags when we needed a break from the intense practice, and laughed while watching the infamous Meadowmount talent show on the last day of camp. The camp was a perfect blend of progress and positivity, and I cannot think of any better way I could've spent my summer. Thanks, PRCAC, for lending me your support!
Once again, I could not have asked for a better summer thanks to the support of the Park Ridge Cultural Arts Council. PRCAC’s summer arts scholarship program enabled me to go to an amazing arts camp for the second summer in a row. It’s called Interlochen. I stayed in a cabin for 6 weeks in Michigan and made some inseparable bonds during that time. I feel so lucky to have been given this spectacular chance to do what I love to do all summer long, which is sing, act and perform.
Since the start of the summer, my voice has improved dramatically. I learned some techniques I would not be able to learn otherwise. I also got a chance to do a Master Class with a world-renowned opera singer, Nathan Gunn, and his wife, Julie Gunn. It was an honor to meet these two lovely performers and hear their advice for my fellow classmates and me. Although I have a wonderful private voice teacher at home, I got to work with a new and interesting instructor at Interlochen and gain new perspective.
In addition to my vocal studies, I would not have been able to do the activities at camp that I did like swimming in Lake Michigan, participating in messy games at a fun festival called, “Mestival”, dancing in the rain with my friends and so much more. This whole experience will give me an edge since I have already had a taste of what college might be like and living on my own.
I left camp with so many unforgettable memories and am honored to thank the Park Ridge Cultural Arts Council for giving me this chance to go to camp.
Thank you Park Ridge Cultural Arts Council for helping me experience one of the best weeks of summer. The scholarship I received helped me to participate in the Cathy Roe’s Ultimate Dance Nationals competition in Mason, Ohio. I was selected to participate in a national dance company which rehearsed every day for a week and had two performances in the end of the week. During the week each dancer learned two or more dances to perform, which was a challenge but also lots of fun. During this rehearsal time, I became close with many dancers from all across the the country and I also became closer with the girls on my dance team. But I would have to say the best part of the whole experience was competing my self-choreographed solo. I danced the best I ever have, and won first place in my division! Overall it was a great experience that I will remember forever!
Thank you so much!
The camp that I attended was called Edge of the Wood Theatre. The first couple of weeks we played theater games, learned some tips about acting, sang a lot, and got to know each other. Then when we figured out which play we were doing, we started auditioning for the roles. The play was Fiddler on the Roof. We did our singing auditions and waited for the results. Then we got our roles and started rehearsing. I was chosen to play the role of Ruth! After a couple of weeks of rehearsing, we received our costumes and went on to the dress rehearsals. When it was time for the show we always did our pre-show ritual and did some warm ups then went down to perform. The shows were great and the people were even greater! On the last day, we said goodby to the seniors and threw a cast party. I love this camp, it teaches me so many life skills and is so fun overall and I am very thankful for the scholarship and this amazing opportunity!
I would like to thank PRCAC for helping me become a part the Meadowmount School of Music's 2016 summer festival. My trip there turned into the greatest musical experience of my life. Meadowmount life was rough, but rewarding. Besides the required five hours of daily practice (save Sundays), my peers and I were expected to perform in masterclasses with renowned teachers, take weekly private lessons, attend intensive chamber music coachings, and compete in the chamber competition, the "playoffs." My chamber group competed, and we were one of the lucky groups that actually won a concert! The amount of progress I achieved there in seven weeks would not have been possible back home, even if it took me a years' time! Aside from the productive musical environment, I met and became great friends with many people from Texas, Florida, England, Japan, and even Australia. I will remember these people, the amazing things I accomplished, and the wonderful experiences at Meadowmount for the rest of my life! Thank you so much, PRCAC, for helping me achieve my goal!
I would like to thank PRCAC for providing me with another opportunity to spend my summer at music camp. This year, I attended Indiana University Summer String Academy, which I have also attended two prior summers. Since this year is my last summer before college auditions, I worked with university professors and IU music performance majors to prepare the music I plan to perform in my auditions. Aside from individual lessons and practice time, I also played with a fantastic chamber group and met new friends from the US, France, Argentina, Japan, and Hungary. My chamber quartet became a very close knit group and we even won the academy-wide Haydn competition. Another amazing experience was watching Joshua Bell in concert and meeting him afterwords, courtesy of the IU string academy. After spending another summer at IU I feel confident that I have improved my technique and will be able to practice more effectively at home.
Thank you so much for your generosity!
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This summer was so fun! I was able to go to two weeks of Spotlight Youth Theater summer camp thanks to PRCAC. They were both maybe my favorite camps ever! I made so many friends and I miss them very much.
The theme for the first week of camp was Super Heroes. I made some new friends and had the opportunity to mentor some of the younger campers on my team. I learned a whole lot of dancing. This camp really got me more interested in dancing. I remember we did dancing across the floor and it was so fun! At the end of the week we performed a showcase for our families. I received one acting part and three vocal parts. I messed up one of my solos and I was pretty bummed, but it was a learning experience. Overall, it was a pretty fun camp. I learned the most new things in singing, and I love to sing and want to get better.
The second week of camp was even better! The second week I was enrolled in a more advanced camp geared toward older students: Rockin' Pop Opera. This camp featured numbers from many popular Broadway shows including: In the Heights , The Wiz , Little Shop of Horrors and the new, multi Tony Award winning show, Hamilton . The dances were so hard, but also twice as fun. My favorite dance we did was to the song "In the Heights " where we got to dance salsa. I also learned a great deal of acting techniques, and how to do a great audition. I was so excited to be cast in the role of Peggy Schuyler, a supporting role in the show Hamilton . I really pushed myself a lot for "The Schuyler Sisters", a very demanding song that required singing in three part harmony. That is hard, but let me tell you - it sounded awesome! In the end, this was one of my best summers ever! Thank you Park Ridge Cultural Arts Council!
Hope your summer was fantastic, mine absolutely was. Every single day at Northwestern was filled to the minute with intense and enriching training and rehearsing in theatre arts. I worked for 14 hours a day with professional, working actors, directors and coaches, in classes such as acting, voice and movement, performance theory, text analysis, scenery crew, and classes in specific theories or methods such as viewpoints and Russian scene work. We also saw multiple professional shows, all of which gave me exposure to the world of theatre beyond the rehearsal room, and we even produced our own productions as final showcases.
I came back from this incredible 7-week experience feeling awakened and driven, determined to apply everything I gained to my everyday life. The overarching takeaways for me were that "if you can strive to devote yourself to even the most tedious action, you have more energy to give and awaken awareness and focus" (which I wrote in a journal entry on the third day of class); that our body is our greatest vehicle, and our breath is our greatest tool; that "the general is the death of art" (quoted from a teacher of mine); and that the imagination is powerful. I now look at not only my art, but the world, differently. My mind and body have been awakened to function in a consistently energized manner.
Yes, these statements are very broad. I could write a book on everything I learned as a Cherub, whether that be Droznin, a Russian movement technique, or every listen and response exercise my teacher taught me, or the viewpoints-based art of movement to music. I could write a sequel to that book on how many simply fun experiences I had as a Cherub, such as watching the sunrise at 5:47 AM, or taking a sledgehammer to wood in strike, or eating pizza in the dorm with my cast. The magic of Cherubs is far too great to capture in a few words. I hope, however, that I have illuminated for you a bit of what is at the heart of this transformative program. I also hope to share with you, and everyone I meet, the magic of Cherubs, in ways from leading ensemble building exercises in rehearsal to initiating discussion in my English class at school, or even sending a smile across the street.
I will leave you with the same quote my acting teacher left me with on the last day of class, which I feel is perfect to represent my experience and my excitement towards the future with my newfound knowledge:
"I can show you the gesture that means pointing to the moon, but from your finger to the moon is your responsibility."
I cannot thank you enough for helping me have this incredible experience, which has shaped me and my life in ways I never expected. Thank you.
August 15, 2016
Thanks to the support of the Park Ridge Cultural Arts Council, I had the opportunity to spend 3 weeks of my summer at Interlochen Arts Camp in Michigan doing one of the things I love the most...singing. This was my first time attending Interlochen and I chose to major in vocal arts. This means I spent about 6 hours per day developing my voice through solo, small vocal ensemble and large choral experiences. I was under the guidance of an amazingly accomplished and supportive faculty and surrounded by super talented students from around the world. In fact, some of the cabin-mates and best friends I made during my camp experience were from China!
When I first arrived, I could see that inspiration at Interlochen starts with the setting. It's spread over a 1200 acre beautiful wooded campus filled with huge performance facilities like Kresge Hall and Corson. But, beyond the setting at Interlochen are the people. There is a sort of creative freedom that you feel walking across the campus, which comes from everyone there doing what they love. I chose to study vocal arts this summer, but there are music majors, theater majors, dance majors, visual arts majors and students studying motion picture arts as well as creative writing. There was always something going on at Interlochen and something to see...if I was not performing, I was going to see other students perform. I was so impressed at how good everyone was at what they did!
One of the performance highlights for me was called "Collage." "Collage" is when the entire student body at Interlochen comes together to create an amazing night of incredible art with performances by the World Youth Symphony Orchestra, World Youth Wind Symphony, creative writing students, small ensembles and all three musical theatre groups. This year's "Collage" launched a new campaign for Interlochen, which is called "Create Amazing." I felt really lucky to be a part of it since it truly is amazing! I also had the opportunity to perform a solo of the song, "Memories," from Cats. When I came to Interlochen, I had just started studying the song on my own, but by the end of camp I was chosen to perform as a soloist.
I'm already making plans to attend for 6 weeks next summer. I really improved my vocal techniques through vocal arts, but I plan on applying for the musical theatre program next summer where I'll focus not only on voice, but also theatre and dance. In short, Interlochen is a really special place filled with amazingly talented people - both the faculty and the students. I feel so fortunate to be a part of it and have to thank the PRCAC again for their tremendous support. Taylor Truckenbrod
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The scholarship that I was awarded this year helped fund my week long experience at a Nationals Dance Competition in Mason, OH. I danced in three dances in the competition. One number was a ballet dance called Degas. Degas was based off of the artist who painted pictures of dancers. Throughout the dance we posed in multiple poses that he painted of dancers.
I danced in a tap dance that was called Want you Back. The song was a cover of the Jackson 5 song Want you Back. Colbie Caillat sang the cover. This dance did well in the competition because it was a really fun dance and my friends and I worked hard to make the dance together.
I also danced in a dance called The Power of Beauty. This dance was in the choreography review and was also danced in New York City. The Power of Beauty got the runner up award for the choreography review. In New York City we danced a multi media show meaning we were dancing with a video playing behind us. We danced this show three times a day for three days on April 26 to April 28.
I was also chosen to be in the National Company Dance Spectacular which is separate from the competition. The most elite dancers are chosen to be in Dance Spectacular. The Dance Spectacular Company put on a showcase for an audience. I was in three additional dances to my competition dances in Dance Spectacular.
Nationals 2016 was an important experience for me.
This summer, I had the opportunity to attend one of the sessions of ISYM, or Illinois Summer Youth Music. This is a week long music camp, where campers have several hours of rehearsals and other musical classes. We got to live in some of the dorms on the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus. Thanks to the generosity of the PRCAC, this was my second time attending this camp, and it was a blast!
I play the viola, so I went for the middle school orchestra program. I was placed in the Junior Orchestra, which unlike Junior Strings, is not just string instruments. I got to play and perform with a symphonic orchestra. It was amazing to get to perform not only with this amazing group of musicians, but also to play in the Foellinger Great Hall at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts. This specific hall is renowned for having amazing acoustics and in the eighties and nineties, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) recorded here. Most of my day was spent in various rooms in Krannert, as well as the dorm building we were in. My favorite parts of the day were the rehearsals. I really enjoy playing in groups, but it was really cool to hear percussion and various wind instruments added to the sounds of the cellos, violins, bases and violas. Besides amazing young musicians, the faculty was also outstanding. The conductor of Junior Orchestra, Dr. Louis Bergonzi, is also a professor at the University of Illinois.
I enjoyed all of my classes, but the evenings were also very fun. Every night, there was a different activity. These ranged from talent shows and faculty recitals to a choice activity night (I chose ice skating) and the opportunity to explore the shops along one of the streets in town. After each night's activity, we still had at least half an hour before lights out. Overall, ISYM was an amazing musical experience. I really enjoyed myself, and also grew as a musician.
- Elizabeth Compton
My PRCAC scholarship grant enabled me to take four two-hour lessons with a piano professor at West Virginia University whom I have come to know quite well in the past few years, Dr. Peter Amstutz. WVU is the alma mater of my current piano teacher Christie Chiles Twillie, so West Virginia has been a natural musical connection and choice for me. In turn, it seemed fitting that I study with Dr. Amstutz, her former professor.
Last year was the first summer I studied with him, working on the third Beethoven piano concerto, and I found the experience very educational and enriching. He introduced me to several new and innovative practice techniques and helped me understand the way the structure of Beethoven’s music can help inform the phrasing and expression of it. This summer, the goal of my study with Dr. Amstutz was to begin work on some of the repertoire I will be using in my college auditions this winter, specifically the Beethoven piano sonata, Op. 101, and the Chopin Fantasy in f minor. I had not worked very much at all on the Beethoven prior to this summer, but in just that one week my grasp of the technique and expression of the piece increased drastically with Dr. Amstutz's instruction and insights. I felt a lot better about the Fantasy as well; I found Dr. Amstutz’s philosophy of rubato in Chopin’s music most helpful.
I look forward to using the tools Dr. Amstutz has given me as I continue to work toward a successful series of college auditions and acceptance into music school to study piano performance.
I had so much fun during the camps that PRCAC helped me do. I give them so much thanks for what they have done. I did two camps and they were both one week long. The first camp we did was called Disney Safari, and the second was called Broadway Kids. They were both so fun and educational. For the first camp I was a supporting lead and my character was Brother Bear. For the second camp I was a lead and my character was Darlene. It was so fun to really get into my character and get to know him/her. Brother Bear was very relaxed, and Darlene was sarcastic. Along with the singing, acting, and dancing, we also did fun themes for each day. Tuesday was Crazy Hair Day, Wednesday was Water Day and Team Spirit Day, Thursday it was Pirate and Princess day, and of course on Friday, it was Show Day. It was funny to see what everyone did. Doing camp was so exciting, especially because I made a lot of new friends. I have so many friends, and a lot of them were made during camp. Doing this camp has trained me in singing, acting, and dancing. It has helped me to be prepared for any shows, and performances I do in the future. I have been doing camp every year since I was five years old, and each year I learn something new and different. That is why I would really like to thank PRCAC for giving me the chance to do, learn, and try something new. They are the ones who gave me the opportunity to do this and I couldn't thank them more than I already do.
After 4 years of performing with Virtuoso Performing Arts, you would think that each show would become easier. Let me just say that this summer was extremely challenging. Virtuoso Performing Arts put together a production of Shrek the Musical this summer, and I was cast as Pinocchio. Little did I know that I would be doing so much more than playing a wooden boy all summer. Other than playing the part of Pinocchio, I was also cast as a Duloc dancer, a backup singer for the Dragon, and a dancing rat. (this would probably only make sense to you if you have seen the musical or the movie). I was also the dance captain this year which means that I helped with all of the dances and making sure that people were doing the right moves while in their right places.
I had a very busy summer. I was at summer school all morning and then I would get ready to spend four hours rehearsing for Shrek. This was also the first time in three years that I was not double casted. This means that I had to do the same parts for each show. That became very tiring when we had three shows a day. Over all I had a great experience which would not have been made possible without help from the Park Ridge Cultural Arts Council. They have helped my family be able to send me to camps that have enhanced my skills as a performer. For that I cannot thank them enough.
I attended Spotlight Youth Theater's Broadway Kids camp last week. I had so much fun there. I made new friends, and was very confident about being there. It was a huge privilege to be able to go to this camp and learn so much about acting, singing, dancing, and performing. I learned about how important diction is when you are performing, and how to be confident performing in front of people. It was such an amazing experience to go there for my first time ever. My dream is to perform on Broadway, and I will use every chance I get to learn and perform! This fall, Spotlight is doing a production of Les Miserables, and I like it here so much that I am auditioning for it. I want to thank the Park Ridge Cultural Arts Council for giving me the opportunity to go to this wonderful camp where I had so much fun and learned a ton!
Using my scholarship from the PRCAC, I attended the six-week Pre-College program at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in Providence, RI. Pre-College is an experience designed to resemble the first year, foundations year, at what is often called "the Harvard of art schools." Students stay in RISD dorms and eat at the RISD cafeteria, and are expected to manage their own time and behavior, much like at college. Students chose one of 21 majors; I chose Illustration. Each week was structured the same, with the same twenty students from my major in every class. On Monday we had Drawing Foundations; Tuesday and Friday were our major, Illustration. Wednesday was Critical Studies in Art (basically art history and analysis), and Thursday was Design Foundations. Class started at 9 am, and ended at 4 or 4:30 pm, with a lunch break midday. After class, most time was spent on assignments. RISD Pre-College was a lot of work, but I also got out what I put in. For every late night, a potential portfolio piece and valuable skills were created. Six weeks spent with the same people also forged incredible friendships, and the people more than anything were what made the experience so phenomenal. Pre-College provided a hint of what college will be like, and also helped me to know better what I want to do and where I want to go for college. Honestly, these six weeks at RISD were some of the best of my life and thank you so much to the PRCAC for helping me to experience them. Image: 3 6x6 miniature self-portraits, gouache
This summer, I enjoyed two weeks at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) Middle School Fashion Camp. We did everything to create our own fashion line: invented brand names and logos; sketched clothing designs with inspiration from art at the museum; made skirts and dresses on a sewing machine; and ended the camp showing our designs at a fashion show.
Making my first pieces of clothing was a dream for me. I loved being able to use the dress forms, sewing machines, and all the professional tools at the school. I enjoyed using them to create my very first piece: a simple circle skirt made from fabric I dyed myself! The next pieces were a bit tricky, though; I had to start from scratch without much help.
The dresses modeled at my first fashion show were made out of fabric from mens’ T-shirts that I bought on a field trip to the thrift store. (The thrift store wasn’t the only trip we took; we also visited the Art Institute.) I worked hard in the limited time I had, and I managed to complete two whole dresses in just three days!
I felt proud walking down the runway wearing a dress I had made myself. Everyone’s collection was unique. The thing was, we had to use a non-fabric item in our designs so that they would stand out in a crowd. I chose rubber bands.
I really enjoyed my time at SAIC and hope to go back. I’d like to thank the Park Ridge Cultural Arts Council for helping give me this unforgettable experience! -Amy Dorgan
I am so grateful that I was able to attend Indiana University's Summer String Academy, a four-week camp where musicians from all over the world study and teach for the summer. I fell in love with this camp when I attended in the summer of 2013, so I was excited when I applied and was accepted again this year. I received two private lessons a week, and practiced both individually and with a quartet every day. Every night, students were able to take a break from practice to listen to chamber groups and famous soloists from all over the world perform. Spending a month at Indiana University provided me with resources to improve as a musician, experience living at a university, and meet new friends that I will always stay in touch with. Attending Summer String Academy was the highlight of my summer; now that I am home, I miss it so much and I hope that I can attend again next year! I want to sincerely thank the Park Ridge Cultural Arts Center for supporting young musicians like me. I truly appreciate this opportunity that I was given!
This summer, I spent three weeks at the Bowdoin International Music Festival in Brunswick, Maine. The festival, which is in its 51st year, is held on the campus of Bowdoin College, and runs for a total of six weeks; participants can choose to stay for one of two three-week sessions or the full time. I arrived at the festival on a Saturday afternoon after spending nearly 20 hours in the car with my parents and violinist friend, Angela, who was also attending the festival. There wasn’t much time to relax - after settling into my dorm room and attending several orientation meetings, I had to squeeze in a few hours of practicing. I had a chamber music placement audition the next morning at 9:00 AM in front of the festival’s cello faculty.
I spent the entire evening before my audition drilling the complex technical passages of my piece, the Cello Concerto in A minor (3rd movement) by Camille Saint-Saens. My audition went well, even though it only lasted about two minutes. Our chamber groups wouldn’t be announced until Tuesday, so I had two full days to practice and get to know my roommate, Ailun.
Tuesday morning, we all received an email listing the chamber groups. I had been placed in a piano trio with two other girls who were around my age. Our assigned piece was Beethoven’s Piano Trio in B flat Major. I wasn’t excited about playing it at first - I’d heard it many, many times and didn’t particularly like it. Once I met my chamber group, however, rehearsing and performing it turned out to be a rewarding experience. We performed in an Artists of Tomorrow Concert, part of a series featuring students from the festival.
My private cello teacher was Amir Eldan, a professor from Oberlin College. He was a few days late to the festival and didn’t hear my audition, so I didn’t get to meet him until my first lesson. Before he even let me play anything, he asked me to tell him everything about myself in one minute. After I’d played, he gave me incisive comments and specific ways to practice certain sections of my piece. I knew that he would be able to help me polish and improve my concerto before my performance.
In addition to weekly lessons and chamber rehearsals most days, I also had technique class twice a week for two hours. Amir gave us scale and arpeggio exercises, and taught us how to use a tennis ball to practice vibrato. In the second and third weeks, we had master classes, where we would perform for each other and Amir and the other students would offer comments and constructive criticism. It was great to play in one of the master classes because it was like having an extra lesson. In addition to my rehearsals, lessons, and master classes, I practiced three to four hours per day.
Fortunately, it wasn’t work all the time. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday evenings, we would go to faculty concerts, where teachers and guest artists gave solo as well as chamber music performances. The Bowdoin residential life faculty took us on off-campus weekend day trips – I went to the beach as well as a shopping excursion during the second week. The campus had workout facilities, so I was able to run on the treadmill and swim in the morning. Also, because we were allowed to leave campus, my friends and I often walked downtown in the evenings for gelato.
One of the main things that I liked about the Bowdoin Festival was the freedom to structure my daily routine and schedule. Since most of the participants were college students, we were expected to be responsible for ourselves. If you wanted to be on time to breakfast, you had to set an alarm and get up. Unlike at other music camps that I’ve attended, practicing was not monitored; you were expected to be diligent and self-disciplined. If you had a conflict and couldn’t make a lesson, you had to check the schedule and see if there was someone with whom you could switch.
I performed my concerto on Thursday of the third week. In the past I have experienced performance anxiety and struggled to control my nerves. Bowdoin was such a supportive environment and my teacher was so helpful that when it was time for me to perform, I was actually excited. It was an afternoon concert, and although not as well attended as the evening concerts, several of my friends and people from Brunswick came. They clapped so much after my performance that I took two bows!
My fantastic experience this summer would not have been possible without the generous scholarship from the Park Ridge Cultural Arts Council. The Bowdoin festival offered opportunities and challenges that enabled me to further my musical as well as personal growth.