Strings The Thing in Penticton at Shatford Centre

Music is helping bridge the gap between the young and old at the Strings The Thing summer camp at the Shatford Centre in Penticton.

Music is helping bridge the gap between the young and old at the Strings The Thing summer camp at the Shatford Centre in Penticton.

The program features chamber music with trios, quartets, orchestra sessions and individual coaching sessions or lessons. The camp, which runs from July 9 to 13, is unique in that it attracts a strong component of adult students as well as younger students from ages six and up.

“It’s very interesting,” said instructor Calvin Dyck. “Initially there sometimes is a bit of shyness with the younger people, but really you are dealing with music and it brings people together in a very unique way. It is a very cool thing. In the chamber groups we match them up by grade level so you may have a 14-year-old boy and a retired cellist who is 65 and two women who are in their mid-thirties all playing music together.”

Dyck is a producer, entertainer, conductor, promoter and touring artist. The annual summer camp has become a tradition for him as an opportunity to not only teach, but enjoy a vacation in the Okanagan. He said with a 35 per cent increase in enrollment this year over last, Dyck suspects the camp has also been noticed by others as a chance to get some vacation time in while studying music.

“We have moms who gave up playing for awhile and are getting back into it. We have a couple of medical doctors and this is their holiday, combining playing their stringed instrument with coming to the Okanagan. I know one person from Fraser Valley is bringing the family up, and she is doing the camp all day, then back with the family for the rest of the day for holiday activities,” said Dyck.

The camp draws students from Washington, Alberta, the Lower Mainland, Kelowna and Penticton. Instructors bring a wealth of international experience having studied in Europe, the United States and performed around the world. Joel Stobbe, educated in Europe, is currently one of Canada’s most sought after cello instructors. John Suderman has earned the prestige of training some of Canada’s elite musicians.

International violinist and instructor Elizabeth Lupton is a driving force for music in Penticton and her vision drives the successful camp. Rosemary Thompson, music director of the Okanagan Symphony, is adding her wealth of conducting experience and innovative programming to the Strings The Thing program this year. As well, local composer Jeremy Hiebert will be working with the students to help them come up with a new piece that will be premiered at the free student concert on July 13 at 1 p.m. at the Shatford Centre.

The faculty are also holding a concert on July 10 at 7 p.m. at the Okanagan School of the Arts, in the Shatford Centre.

“Our idea is to do some classic material but also make it really entertaining, so we have a combination of pieces,” said Dyck.

Tickets for Tuesday’s faculty concert are $12 for adults and $6 for children. To purchase tickets, visit the Shatford Centre on 760 Main St. or by calling 250-770-7668. For more information on the program visit

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