During the pandemic, I have grown as an educator in ways I would have never dreamed. How would I give my students a choral experience that was fulfilling and meaningful with masks on, six feet apart, or even through a computer screen? I will tell you that it was not always easy, but I was able to adapt successfully. My teaching role exists to serve students, and it was important that my students have these experiences, even if they looked a bit different. This lesson of servanthood has been continuously taught to me over the past 30 years while working at Dorian Summer Music Camp at Luther College. This camp has not only shaped me, but it has shaped the life of so many educators and students for the past 56 years.
Dorian Summer Music Camp embraces the arts through classes, rehearsals, activities, and a lot of fun. We stress to our staff and our campers that this camp is about making music, making friends, and making memories. Middle school and high school students have a blast at camp, staying in a college residence hall, eating a lot of ice cream, participating in structured activities, and getting to spend a week doing the things they love with people who love it as much as they do. And our camp staff love the experience just as much as our students do. So, can you have a camp that is held to these high standards while it is being held virtually due to the pandemic? The answer is a resounding yes.
We knew that we wanted to have a camp experience for students this summer, but we knew that it would have to look different due to the pandemic, so we started planning. The 2021 Dorian Summer Music Camp would have a different feel than a typical year, but it would stay true to the core values of making music, making friends, and making memories. Luther faculty members and former Dorian Summer Music Camp counselors gave of their time and talents to make this camp a success. These people are true servants, giving up a few hours of their summer for three days to teach and mentor these 48 middle and high school students.
One of the exciting things about this year is that we had some new class offerings that have never been taught at camp before. These classes were “Arirang” and K-Pop: Traditional and Popular Songs of South Korea with Assistant Professor Adrianna Tam and Musical Meaning In Movies with Assistant Professor Mark Potvin. We also offered Introduction to Conducting with Director of Choral Activities and Associate Professor Andrew Last, Music Theory Basics with Luther senior Hannah Fichtner ‘22 and Awesome Chord Progressions (Advanced Music Theory) with Professor Brooke Joyce.
Camp is also about making connections and building relationships, and our amazing counselors found ways to connect with campers during the lunch hour. Our lunch time activities consisted of The Two-Minute Talent Show, The Great Reality TV Dorian Game Show, Zoom Games, Dorian Bingo, and Alphabet Song and Dance Party. Each camper also received a special Dorian Camp Box that had limited edition items that would remind campers of Luther College and Dorian Summer Music Camp.
It was a wonderful experience for our staff, counselors, and campers. We have grown from new experiences and used our skills of servanthood to bring music, friendship, and memories to a new group of Dorian campers. We are looking forward to a “big to-do” in 2022 back on the beautiful Luther College campus.