STEVEN SUKKAU; Winkler Times
Music students in the Pembina Valley took part in an intensive summer music camp July 1-7 thanks to the Cadenza Summer Music Week.
More than 50 young musicians had the opportunity to study with a range of highly qualified instructors and meet other young people with a passion for music.
Meeting others and forming connections with musicians from the area provides a lot of encouragement to keep playing, said Alix Reynolds, executive director of the Pembina Hills Arts Council, adding they also learn the skills needed to play in an ensemble.
The idea came to Rochelle Drudge, one of the instructors of the Pembina Hills Arts Council string ensemble programs, with the aim of creating a music camp for students facing long waiting lists for regular instruction.
“To access such an experience, students from the area had only the option of either going to Winnipeg or Brandon,” said Reynolds. “With the added costs associated with travel and accommodation, these options were out of reach for many.”
The vision was also to build a musical community, getting together and having fun.
“Learning music can be very solitary,” Drudge explained, with students spending hours by themselve practicing.
Cadenza proved to the students there’s a large community out there just waiting to collobarate, and for many the week was their first time playing together as an ensemble and orchestra.
However without time to apply for grants to cover the costs, they had to rely on the generosity of local donors.
“Which we received in spades,” Reynolds said.
“Both Rochelle and I were blown away by the magnitude of support we received for the initiative with about $5,000 raised almost immediately, and the majority of that support donated from local individuals who equally recognized the need for Cadenza in the region.”
Further evidence of the need came when the registrations for the camp filled up months ago with very little in the way of promotion.
The Cadenza week ran until Saturdaywith a free evening concert at the Winkler Bergthaler Mennonite Church Friday evening.
Organizers are already planning on bringing the camp back next year.
“We absolutely plan on offering it again next year,” Reynolds said, adding they hope to reach a wider range of stu-dents.