Baker hosts Kansas Lions State Band camp
If you heard music in the air last week, it likely was coming from Baker University, the site of the 2005 Kansas Lions State Band Camp.
More than 160 Kansas high school students arrived on campus June 7 and rehearsed for four days before presenting a concert Saturday morning at Collins Center, under the direction of Baker Band Director Ray James.
The Kansas Lions State Band began in 1951 to serve the youth of the state. It is held each year at the same time as the Kansas Lions State Convention (this year's convention was in Topeka). More than 10,000 students, sponsored by local Lions clubs, have participated in the band since its inception.
This year's band included five students that were participating in their fourth Lions Band camp, which means they have been band members each year of their high school careers.
The band also included students that were participating for the second or third time. A student can participate a maximum of four times.
Claire Koops, a euphonium player from Downs said friendships built over her four years are one reason she kept coming back, but they were not the only reason.
"Some of the greatest benefits though have been the chance to study under some outstanding musicians and participate in amazing groups," she said.
Chelsey Fritch of Highland has played bass clarinet in the band for four years. Her experiences have left her with a "ton of memories" and more.
"It's also the unity you get when you work together for the same goal. The musicianship is outstanding," said Fritch.
She added that the week begins with students who have never met, much less performed together.
"In the beginning of the week, you're thrown together. In the end, you feel like family," she said.
And by the concert at week's end, the sound is a lasting memory.
"I play in a really small band, so there's nothing like it to me," she said.
Other four-year members were Jared Lytle of Humboldt (baritone saxophone), Sarah Braught of Eudora (clarinet), and A.Z. Scribner of Augusta (bass clarinet).
Scribner agreed that the musical opportunity the band presents is part of its appeal. All five of these 2005 high school graduates plan to study music education in college and become band directors.
Scribner credits his Lions Band experiences with cementing that resolve. He said he also is grateful for the opportunities to meet people from other countries when the band participated in the International Lions Clubs Convention in 2003 and 2004.
Kansas established an International Convention Band in 1964 and has participated in most of the international conventions since then.
"All the people I've met -- it's a blast, especially the international trips because you meet people from around the world," he said.
Next year's band camp will be held at Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg. There will not be an international trip this year because the convention is in Hong Kong. Plans are underway for a trip to the 2006 Lions International Convention at New Orleans.
(Written by Nancy D. Borst, editor of the Kansas Lions News.)