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Detroit Symphony to host summer camp for metro Detroit teens

DSO musicians rehearse on stage at Orchestra Hall
Jennifer Guerra
Michigan Radio
DSO musicians rehearse on stage at Orchestra Hall

Detroit Symphony Orchestra musicians will share their expertise with metro Detroit teenagers at a new summer music camp.

The six-day camp is part of the DSO's new Avanti Summer MusicFest, and is open to musicians ages 14 - 18.

Shelley Heron is an oboist with the orchestra, and she’ll be one of the instructors. Heron has taught at similar camps in Canada for decades. She says "the biggest thrill is hearing them the first day and wondering, oh my gosh how are we ever going to get these kids to produce a concert at the end of the week? And then a little miracle happens."

In addition to master classes and workshops, the campers will perform side by side with DSO musicians on stage at Orchestra Hall.

There are no auditions for the camp; the first 140 students to apply will be accepted.  It costs $300 to attend the camp, but Heron says "we have raised financial aid funds in order to help those students who otherwise wouldn’t be able to participate in an activity like this." Financial aid is available on a first come, first serve basis.

Avanti is a collaboration between DSO musicians, who came up with the idea; the Save Our Symphony community group, which supported the musicians during last year's strike; and DSO management.

The camp will be held at Derby Middle School in Birmingham from July 16 - 21.

The Detroit Free Press has more on how the camp will be funded:

The players themselves have secured commitments of $60,000 from donors to support the workshops. DSO executive vice president Paul Hogle said the overall budget for the festival is about $130,000. DSO management has pledged $30,000 toward the costs from the so-called “bucket money” that was set aside for community engagement efforts by the terms of the contract settlement. Tuition and ticket-sales will make up the final $40,000. DSO musicians have also contributed $5,000 for financial aid to students who would otherwise not be able to attend.

Jennifer is a reporter for Michigan Radio's State of Opportunity project, which looks at kids from low-income families and what it takes to get them ahead. She previously covered arts and culture for the station, and was one of the lead reporters on the award-winning education series Rebuilding Detroit Schools. Prior to working at Michigan Radio, Jennifer lived in New York where she was a producer at WFUV, an NPR station in the Bronx.
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