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