Institute Summer Choir Camp
Posted in Events on September 18, 2014

Returning to the Mount St. Joseph Retreat Center in Kentucky, the Institute of Christ the King held its 5th annual Choir Camp bringing together many musically talented students from far and wide.  With its beautiful grounds, wonderful staff, and accommodating setup, St. Joseph’s has always been a perfect place to have this very edifying camp.  Having been with the camp for three years, I already feel like it is my “home away from home”.

United with the common interest of achieving musical excellence for God’s greater glory, the 27 camp attendees were able to improve their vocal technique, Gregorian chant, Latin, and understanding of virtue under the capable direction of Mr. Nick Botkins, Abbé Matthew Walter, Mr. Joseph Reidy, and Canon William Avis.  In vocal technique class and choir rehearsals, the students learned how to sing with correct posture, cleaner sound, and better dynamics.  The students learned about the history and progression of chant to its mastery at Solesmes, in Abbé Walter’s class, as well as how to sing the chant beautifully.  Along with the captivating History of Rome and the early Church, Mr. Reidy took the class into some of the basics of the Latin language leading up to an exciting scavenger hunt using Latin commands.  Along with daily Mass and confessions, Canon Avis also provided spiritual conferences for all of the students focusing on practicing virtues such as prudence and humility.

 Ave Verum Corpus - Listen

Aside from the camp’s music programme, the campers were also able to do some fun activities guided by the four camp counselors and our newest addition to the camp staff as sacristan, Abbé Alex.  Some of the engaging activities played this year were blind dodgeball, football, soccer, volleyball, and capture the flag, during which, even some of the staff joined in the fun.  On Friday night the camp had a farewell party with a student talent show, fun games, treats, and finally a line dance conducted by Miss Ashley Hayworth.  It was really neat to see all of the friendships formed throughout the course of the week and the good camaraderie present among the campers in general.

During the entire camp, the classes and activities all presented the same theme of giving God greater glory.  Whether we were singing as the voice of the Church, attending Mass, chanting the litany of the Sacred Heart, saying the Holy Rosary at night, practicing at rehearsal, or simply tossing a football to one another, it seemed as if we were always giving to God and continuously praying.  To me, having so many likeminded Catholic musicians come together with the mutual intention of offering their talents to God is the most beautiful aspect of the camp.

Also, the campers annually hold a recital for the Ursuline Nuns after learning the camp repertoire every year.  As one of the campers, it has always been a great pleasure to be able to give the Ursuline’s this unique treat which they always look forward to every year.  This is just another way the choir camp allows the youthful singers to use their musical talent for God.

At the Saturday morning High Mass, all of the camp singers offered to God some of the most exquisite music I have ever heard.  Clearly everyone put forth their best effort for God and really took to heart all of the good instruction taught by the staff throughout the week.  And as I commented to others, “it was truly the best sounding camp I’ve been to so far.”

On the whole, the many new friendships made, the virtues of the Catholic Faith visibly practiced, and the musical excellence attained was very edifying to me and I hope it will continue to grow and edify others in the years to come for the greater glory of God!

- Patrick Hanners, Choir Camp Attendee

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