MSU hosts high school honors band camp

This past Friday Minnesota State University, Mankato hosted a day camp for high school honors band students that hold interest in attending the university.

Typically occurring at the beginning of every spring semester, this event is a good opportunity for students to get a feeling for campus and the band program, and vice versa. Director of MSU’s athletic bands Michael Thursby said that the event is primarily a recruiting event for potential future students.

“It is an opportunity for upperclassmen high school band students who are looking at colleges right now to think about where they want to go. They get a feel for the school and for us to meet them,” said Thursby.

The students began the very packed day right away at 8 a.m. in the Centennial Student Union Ballroom. The students attended workshops, rehearsals and sectionals, all leading up to a final performance at 4:30 that afternoon.

“The concert is mainly for band members and their families,” said Thursby. “This whole ballroom typically fills with family and some community members who attend our shows.”

Each of the students attending were eager to be performing.

“The event has been really good. I have a lot of friends who go here and I’ve had school things here before, so I feel pretty comfortable on campus. I’m really excited to be performing,” said Paige, a high school senior from Farmington.

Lily, a student from Tri City United, feels the same way. “Being here has been really fun because I’ve met other bass clarinets that I have been able to learn so much from. There are so many incredibly talented people here.”

“I think the campus here is really nice, and the music that we’ve gotten is much more fun and more difficult than stuff I’ve gotten for honor bands in the past,” said Nathan from Farmington.

It was a repeated sentiment throughout the day that the students were really enjoying the music provided. During an afternoon workshop, Hands on Percussion, students were learning the rhythms to songs from “In The Heights”, a popular musical written by composer Lin-Manuel Miranda.

“Music is like a tree,” said Thursby, “and the rhythm is the root that everything else grows from.”

The joy was palpable throughout the room as students met and mingled with each other and got to experience playing in a “Big Band” setting, some for the first time.

“Music is a huge passion of mine. I am always walking into school with earbuds in, listening to whatever,” said Joey, a student from Farmington.

“Music is a lot of fun,” said Alex from Tri City United. “That’s why I enjoy doing it so much; it’s so much fun to just get around and make music with other people.”

Lily enjoyed the challenge of playing music at a college level. 

“Being from a small town, it’s kind of hard to do that being one of the only instruments of my kind. It’s nice to not only play more challenging music, but also to meet more people that play your instrument.”

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