The Georgia Music Foundation partnered with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Albany to present a summer Music Camp June 19-23, 2017. Twenty students elected to participate in the week-long series of programs including daily music- and arts-integrated activities that gave campers the chance to participate in music while learning about math, geography, history and science. (Keep it quiet, though – the kids didn’t realize how much they were learning while having so much fun!) Performances and workshops by local musicians and teaching artists kept the energy level strong, while daily dance lessons got students moving and sweating to their pop and hip-hop favorites.

Music Campers and counselors at Boys and Girls Clubs of Albany. (Photo by Todd Stone)
Marvin Laster, CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Albany, says, “Thanks to our partnership with the Georgia Music Foundation, we were able to provide our members with an enhanced Club experience and a new avenue to find and use their voices – through music and dance – through interactive and fun sessions offered during the Music Camp. It is because of partners like the Foundation, who are willing to share of their time, talent and treasures, that our Clubs are a place where GREAT FUTURES are started and realized everyday.”
Nib McKinney leads music campers through a learning activity at Boys & Girls Clubs of Albany. (Photo by Todd Stone)
The Music Camp was facilitated by a group of counselors including Damon Postle and Maurice Le Flore, both doctoral candidates in music education at UGA’s Hugh Hogdson School of Music. Bassoonist Nib McKinney and clarinetist Sable Thompson, who also are at the Hugh Hodgson School of Music studying for masters’ degrees, were on board as were Maximo Oliveira and Ryker Laramore, both students at the Florida State University School of Dance.
Dr. Ken Trimmins and Dr. Jeff Kluball perform for the campers at Boys and Girls Clubs of Albany.
Local musicians performing for the campers during the week including guitarist, singer and songwriter Jon Smith; saxophonist,  flutist and Albany State University (ASU) Band Director Mike DeCuir; trumpet player, ASU Assistant Professor of Music and Albany Symphony Orchestra member Dr. Ken Trimmins; and saxophonist, ASU Professor of Music and Albany Symphony Orchestra member Dr. Jeff Kluball.
Freedom Singer Rutha Harris visits with Music Campers at Boys and Girls Clubs of Albany.
On Thursday, Rutha Harris, founding member of the SNCC Freedom Singers and civil rights pioneer, visited with the students and talked about the continuing struggle for freedom and equality, answered a variety of questions and taught the campers several freedom songs.
Teaching artist Dave Holland presents Pop Zing Boom! for music campers at Boys and Girls Clubs of Albany.
On Friday percussionist and teaching artist Dave Holland of Beatin’ Path Rhythm Events presented two interactive workshops, Pop Zing Boom!, an exploration of sound and science, and Drumagination, then led a Share the Beat drum circle to close out the week.
Maximo Oliveira gets all summer campers at Boys and Girls Clubs of Albany at Thornton Park involved in hip-hop dance.

Georgia Music Foundation Chair Dallas Davidson is a native of Albany and fellow board member Bo Henry, who still lives in the Good Life City, helped organize the Music Camp with Foundation manager Lisa Love. “Bo and I had a conversation last year about the need for summer music camps in South Georgia,” Love says. “He connected me with Marvin Laster and Jacqueline Robinson of Boys and Girls Clubs of Albany and we all agreed to start small with 20 kids and see if we could make this happen within their existing summer camp program. I went to the amazing Dr. Skip Taylor, Chair of Music Education at the University of Georgia, who connected me with one of his doctoral students, Damon Postle, who, in turn, assembled his mighty band of counselors. I did some research for a hip-hop dancer and found Maximo Oliveira in Tallahassee, who brought Ryker Laramore. Lo and behold, we had a team, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Albany staff were rock stars and the facilities at Thornton Park were top notch.”

Music camper Caleb gets in the spirit. (Photo by Todd Stone)
Love adds, “The kids were amazing, like sponges soaking up music and dance concepts every day while getting involved. As with most music education programs for underserved youth, it was an inspiring and motivating experience. The Boys and Girls Clubs are such dynamic partners and Marvin and I are already talking about how we can bring our Foundation contacts and resources with his to explore the possibility of after-school music programs and, of course, a camp again next summer!”