Day_4_76Hi, everyone! I’m Erin, the Participant Relations Coordinator at Music for All. With my position I don’t normally get the chance to blog, but the Marketing department has graciously let me guest blog today about my experience at Tuesday’s evening concert.

First of all, this is my first year at Music for All’s Summer Symposium. I started with the organization last August so while I’ve been with MFA for a little while, I’m still a newbie at camp! Part of my job is building relationships with future participants, and telling them about our programs. I can tell anyone why they should attend our camps and about the people who will be there instructing them. But, while reading through literature and watching videos on the website can tell you a little bit about camp and what it’s all about, it’s not the same as seeing it happen. As corny as I know it sounds, the energy on campus is incredible and inspiring. I know that for myself, being here at camp and seeing it first hand has helped me understand why people LOVE Summer Symposium.

I love walking into Emens Auditorium after a long day at camp and seeing all of the students doing the wave and various cheers. No matter what time you woke up in the morning, or how long your day has been, you can’t help but smile when you see, hear and feel the energy in the room and know how much fun the students are having. Most of the students have been up since early morning, playing all day, marching, learning tosses, etc., yet they are still full of energy and waiting for the evening concert entertainment to begin.

Tuesday night definitely did not disappoint.

Orpheus, the first band of the night, is a SchoolJam USA finalist. SchoolJam USA is a battle of the bands contest for 13-19 year olds sponsored by NAMM. You can find more information about this program here.

As Orpheus played some covers and a few originals, the students danced and sang along through the whole set. Swags, nurses and staff couldn’t resist dancing along as well!

My favorite part of the opening act was when one of the members of Orpheus told the crowd how he was a camper himself just two years ago, sitting in an evening concert.

“I looked over to my friend Mariah and said wouldn’t it be awesome if one day, I could be up there on that stage?” he said. He told the audience he didn’t really believe it would happen, but here he is – so don’t ever think that you can’t do something.

What would you do if you couldn’t fail? Believe in yourself. Everyone hears these things all the time – I know I do. But, proof of statements just like these was up on that stage last night. These students just graduated high school a couple of weeks ago, and now they are on stage, with a crowd of over 700 rocking out to their music. At one point during the performance, I leaned over to a fellow staff member, commenting on how cool it was that we had Orpheus here since they are the same age or just slightly older than the majority of our campers. They are completely relatable. I truly hope that at least a few students looked up at the stage last night and thought to themselves, “yeah, I could do that.”

Orpheus was great; everyone was pumped up, including me. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the next performance, and then The Volunteers, who are part of the U.S. Army Field Band, came out.

The Volunteers had an incredible amount of energy and were fantastic players. They did a combination of newer, popular songs like Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream,” and some older favorites like “Barracuda.”

I didn’t think it was possible for the students to get more pumped up than they already were, but The Volunteers definitely caused that to happen!

After The Volunteers finished their last song, they walked off stage to the sound of students chanting “USA, USA, USA.” It was pretty incredible to hear that. The Volunteers came back out for an encore and sang “Don’t Stop Believin’,” by Journey and “I Want You Back” by The Jackson 5.

After the encores, students continued the “USA, USA, USA” chant that progressed to a standing ovation.

The Volunteers expressed to the students how awesome it was that they were here at camp. They said to work hard, and don’t stop playing music.

I definitely left Emens feeling much more energized than when I went in. It was great seeing the students have so much fun at the evening concert, even after a very long day in their sessions.

There is definitely a lot more in store for the upcoming evening concerts this week, and I personally can’t wait!

Participant Relations Coordinator