It’s one of several new offerings from the town’s summer recreation programs this year
From mushroom hunting to concerts to CIT programs, the East Greenwich Recreation Department is hosting a number of youth and teen programs this summer, some returning and others brand new.
One of those new programs is the East Greenwich Summer Choral Intensive, a weeklong camp consisting of rehearsals, workshops and team-building activities. It is open to any Rhode Island students, from incoming third graders to graduating 12th graders, who have an interest in singing.
“I am so excited to meet all of the students that have signed up [for the camp] so far and that are going to sign up,” said artistic director Abby White, who is a music education major at The Hartt School in West Hartford, Conn. “I’m so excited for all the things we’re going to learn together…. all the lessons that we’re going to learn throughout the week.”
The camp will take place at Cole Middle School from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, June 27, to Friday, July 1, with a concert open to the community July 1 at 7 p.m.
“I think this is definitely the first [choral camp] in East Greenwich,” White said. “I think it’s good because East Greenwich is a central location and it’s safe… it’ll be a great place to grow and sing.”
The first day of the program will focus on bonding and warm-up activities for students and staff to become comfortable and familiar with one another, according to White. Two rehearsals will occur each day, with students grouped together by age. Each day will also have a half-hour lunch break in which all students will sit together.
“12 to 12:30 is lunchtime – no tables, no exclusion,” White said. “We all sit together and connect.”
As an EGHS alum (Class of 2019), White participated in the district’s chorus program. In 2017, the high school’s program was eliminated due to budget cuts, a devastating blow to the school’s choral singers.
There was no program to support choral students, White recalled. “Not just me, [but] there were [other] students, who were representing my district at the state level as All-State musicians and excelling in the arts, but we didn’t have a program to help us through that. And so, I advocated [for restoration of the program].”
Partly due to White’s advocacy, the high school program was restored in 2019.
When asked about the inspiration to start a choral camp, White referred to her advocacy for the high school program, saying she sees this camp as a continuation of that work and a way of encouraging students to take part in chorus.
“My goal is to show there’s a way for advocacy in the arts,” White said. “I’ve been studying at The Hartt School [and] I feel like I can help lead a camp like this based on my experience. And I’m excited to do so because it will bring excitement back into the program and provide a safe space for kids to make music.”
Aside from White, the camp is led by a staff of musical mentors from institutions in Rhode Island and beyond.
“They’re fellow music education majors, music majors, professional musicians – just people with amazing experiences that I feel are safe to me,” White said of the camp staff. “I am confident that they are going to be safe for our students to open up with.”
The staff includes workshop educators, vocal leaders and even a collaborative pianist to accompany rehearsals.
“We’re lovers of music who want to support the arts and the students who are signed up, and their own journeys to develop their voices and their love of music,” White added.
You can register for the camp through EG Recreation’s website. Tuition is $140 for the week and scholarships are available. For more information and scholarship details, you can contact [email protected].
This summer, EG Recreation is also offering two playground camps (one at Eldredge, one at Frenchtown) and various specialty camps such as tennis and robotics.
“[The playground camp] has been very well received in the past and we’ve had a lot of enrollment this summer, so we’re expecting in the vicinity of 140 campers all together, per week,” said recreation coordinator Josh Wolff. “We’re excited, it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
According to Wolff, the new programs include kayaking, chess, soccer and a fashion camp.
“The soccer instructor is from Connecticut and he’s terrific,” Wolff said. “Same thing with our fashion camp – it’s an organization out of Connecticut.”
Aiza Shaikh, a sophomore at the University of Connecticut and Class of 2021 EGHS alum, has been an EG resident since 2008. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys hiking, traveling, and eating coffee ice cream.