Each year Campbell University conducts a choral summer camp for students in grades 4-8. The Children's Choir Camp, orC-4, brings together some of the area's best talent for an intense, week-long musical learning experience. On Wednesday, June 18, this year's ensemble plunged into the African-American spiritual "Wheels-A-Turnin'" like they'd never done before because they were performing for none other than the composer himself.
Rollo Dilworth, associate professor of music and director of Choral Activities and Music Education at the North Park University School of Music in Chicago, was at the other end of a video phone hookup listening to them singing.
"That's good" said Dilworth, after the group finished. "But I think you should draw out the word â€˜turnin' because that's where you hear the spinning motion of the wheel in the song."
Following Dilworth's instructions, the students reprised the song and made it better.
"Great," said Dilworth. "Now I feel exactly how I want my audiences to feel-excited, uplifted, joyful."
Dilworth, whose choral compositions are a part of the Henry Leck Creating Artistry Choral Series, has recently published pieces with the Santa Barbara Music Publishing Company as part of the Mary Alice Stollak Choral Series.
"Being able to talk to the composer and having the opportunity to have him hear us sing his pieces was unique and inspirational," said Dr. Phillip Morrow, co-director of the C-4 camp and director of Choral activities for Campbell University. "The students came to understand the musical style and spirit of the piece and his original inspiration for arranging the music the way he did."
The group of approximately 40 C-4 students from schools throughout the county, performed a concert at the end of the week on Friday, June 19 in Campbell's Scott Concert Hall. The program featured music learned during the camp, including "Wheels-A-Turnin,'" and other works.
Campbell University's annual Children's Choir Camp focuses on voice, vocal development, learning to read and appreciate music and a concert presentation. The camp is for boys and girls who are treble singers, meaning that male voices must be unchanged. The camp is structured as a day camp which begins at 9 a.m. and runs until 5 p.m. each day. Instruction includes working on choral skills, music theory, instrumental skills, music reading skills and other areas of music.
"It is a great time for students to become actively involved in music and to make new friends," said Morrow. "Campers who are involved in their school music programs and show both aptitude and promise in music will greatly benefit from this program."
For more information about C-4 camp, call the Campbell University Music Office at 910.893.1495.
Photo Copy: Dr. Phillip Morrow, of Campbell University, directs C-4 camp students as they perform for composer Rollo Dilworth.