High Plains Music Camp returns to FHSU campus


Dr. Ivalah Allen is “thrilled” to announce the 74th annual High Plains Music Camp at Fort Hays State University will be in person after having to hold the 2020 version virtually because of the pandemic.

“I was holding my breath until we learned in late March that we had the go-ahead,” said Allen, associate professor of music and theatre director of the camp. “We are excited to have these young musicians back on campus.”

The dates for the camp – which include instruction for middle and high school students in band, orchestra, and vocal – are July 11-17. Registration for a residential, full-time camp participant is $450, which includes lodging and meals. The cost for day participants is $250. All participants receive quality instruction, a drawstring cinch bag, and a T-shirt. Registration is encouraged by June 15. After that date, a $100 late fee will be added to the camp fee.

For more information about the camp or to register, visit www.fhsu.edu/musiccamp. Contact information also is available on that web page for anyone with questions about the camp.

There will be sessions for middle school band and four areas of instruction featuring high school students – band, jazz band, orchestra, and vocal. The only section that will not be held this year is middle school orchestra because of low early enrollment and lack of enough orchestra staff.

Nightly performances at Beach/Schmidt Performing Arts Center in Sheridan Hall will include a visit by the Kansas 135th Infantry Band from Fort Riley Tuesday. Those performances, set for 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, are all open and free to the public. Jazz band performances begin at 6 p.m. Friday. There also will be a musical at 6 p.m. Friday in Felten-Start Theatre in Malloy Hall.

The camp, one of a kind in Kansas, is an opportunity to learn from nationally recognized musicians, teachers, and conductors. It also is an excellent recruiting tool for FHSU, and the camp annually is a training ground of sorts for current Fort Hays State students who serve as counselors.

“We have a lot of music education students help at the camp,” she said. “We like to get them involved as counselors because this is the age group they are going to be working with as teachers when they graduate.”

It’s a full week for the participants. After arriving on campus Sunday for registration, they audition for the various levels of instruction. The counselors then begin tours of the campus, and ensemble rehearsals begin following dinner Sunday evening. Following full days of instruction, the participants then are all involved – in one way or another – in the evening concerts.

Allen is looking forward to another action-packed week.

“There are no two years of camp that are alike,” she said. “It can be challenging and keeps us on our toes. But that’s what makes it fun.”

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