Great Lakes 2017 – A Time to Remember

This year, over 130 high school students, 15 sponsors, and 50 university students joined together for the musically enriching weekend of Great Lakes Music Festival 2017. “Great Lakes,” says Josh Wright, second year band track member, “is a place where you can play hard, fun music with no pressure at all. You can play really hard songs, but know that if you blow it, someone else will cover you. It’s more challenging [than a regular camp], but more forgiving at the same time.”

Students from seven different states and five different grades came to participate in one of the five tracks: orchestra, band, ladies’ chorus, men’s chorus, and piano.

“It’s an exciting, fun, education-packed 24 hours!” remarks Sarah Milam, who returned for her fifth Great Lakes Music Festival.

After arriving early Friday afternoon, each track spent multiple hours rehearsing their pieces, getting to know each other through the common bond of music. In the piano track, students practiced ensemble pieces, but they also attended practical workshops to enhance their general skills as pianists.

“My favorite part of Great Lakes,” says Milam, “is having the ability to sit under collegiate-level music educators while I’m still in high school. All of the professors work hard to make sure we are having an enjoyable experience by combining games with education.”

“The instructors,” says Wright, “focus not only on making good music, but also on making you a better musician, and having fun with it.”

Priscilla Bishop, university student, assisted with the piano track this year. She states, “The piano track is fun because of the ensemble coaches, the collaborative nature of ensembles, and the relationships that are built.”

Kaylee Barr, a sophomore music major, agrees. “I loved playing with other musicians and seeing a song come together after just a few rehearsals,” she says. “Last year, I was able to be in the piano track as a high schooler, so this year I enjoyed being on the opposite side of everything, having a greater responsibility of leadership, and just having fun!”

Friday evening, Mr. Peter Wright’s barbershop quartet presented a fun and reflective concert for the campers at the end of the day. Following the concert that night, several Maranatha students gave testimonies of how God brought them to MBU.

On Saturday, after group devotions and a morning of technical rehearsals, the campers performed their concert reflecting this year’s theme – “A Time to Remember.” Each piece reflected some aspect of remembrance. Whether it was the band performing the 1984 Olympic Fanfare, the orchestra performing a tribute to 9/11, the ladies’ chorus singing of Paul Revere, or the men’s chorus reminding people to remember the future, each group emphasized the importance of remembering what truly matters. The concert ended with all of the campers singing a powerful arrangement of “I Am With You” arranged by Molly Ijames.

Join us for Great Lakes next year on January 26-27, 2018.

Photos of the event are available online