Friday, July 25, 2008

The Counselors of GRAMMY Camp®
by Dertrick Winn Jr,

In the past entries, you’ve learned a lot about the GRAMMY® Campers and their many accomplishments in camp. But how much do you know about the eight different counselors here and what they bring to the table? I spoke with several of the counselors to find their path to camp.

Though all the counselors have different backgrounds and interests, each share a love for music and a desire to be a part of the GRAMMY Camp® experience. Cris Maurera, a first-year counselor who studied audio engineering at the SAE Institute in Los Angeles, reflects on his teen years growing up in the Philippines. “After seventh grade I started doing a lot of stuff,” he says. “I joined a Tae Kwon Do class, played basketball, and joined this community summer program. It was just for middle school kids, but when you got in high school you got to join the leadership program, so being a part of GRAMMY Camp reminds me of what I used to do when I was younger. “

Each counselor has experience with making music, whether it be audio engineering, singing and writing songs, or just playing an instrument. Seth Costner is a counselor who sings, writes his own songs, and plays guitar, and though he wasn’t able to do something like GRAMMY Camp when he was younger, he’s had some pretty big opportunities. “I actually came in third place in Atlanta Fest, which is a popular music festival,” he recalls. “That led to me being able to sing in the Estes Park Seminar in the Rockies. I was invited as a guest artist in this seminar to sing alongside people like Steven Curtis Chapman and a lot of my inspirations when I was little.”

Most of the counselors that play instruments began playing at an early age and are very skilled, but they are still very impressed with the talent of the kids here. “It’s fabulous, just to be around these kids that are so talented is inspiring,” says Rebecca Campbell, who plays the flute, piano, banjo, and guitar.

Ima Uko and Chris Dollar are both songwriters who practice their music in different ways. Ima does what’s known in the industry as “demo work,” which is when a vocalist performs a song for a certain artist to shop it to different people or listeners. Chris Dollar, who also plays guitar, practices busking, the proper name for street performing.

Out of all the different hobbies the counselors have, music is definitely their primary occupation. Whether it be reading novels, playing sports, watching movies, or just “hanging out,” music is in there somewhere. “It just all comes back to the love of music, and it’s that passion that got me here,” says David Edwards, a first-year counselor and trombonist.

As the two weeks comes to an end, a strong bond between the counselors and the students has been created. It will be hard to say goodbye, but our memories of the GRAMMY Camp 2008 counselors will live on forever.

(ED note – We weren’t able to get time with the very busy and popular Catie Bellinger and Matt Jones, but they were an integral part of the GRAMMY Camp experience)

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