Of Summers Past: Kendall Betts Horn Camp

In two previous posts (here and here) I discussed a couple of large, fairly lengthy summer music festivals, Brevard and Round Top.  While these types of festivals are great for many students, the reality is that lots of college students simply cannot afford to spend six, seven, or eight weeks at a summer festival. They have to work, often at full time jobs, just to be able to afford to go to college in the fall.  However, there are still plenty of other summer music opportunities in the form of one, two, or three week camps and festivals.  Some of these are full-fledged orchestral programs, while others cater to families of instruments, like the Rafael Mendez Brass Institute, or even specific instruments, like the Kendall Betts Horn Camp.  See the list at the end of this post for additional music festivals lasting three weeks or less.

I attended KBHC the summer after finishing my master’s degree.  At the time,  students could attend the camp for week one, week two, or both weeks – the camp has since expanded into three weeks.   I was looking to attend a short music festival, and since I was also getting married that summer, the one-week option at KBHC made the most sense. I’d heard lots of great things about the camp from classmates who had attended, and Douglas Hill, my teacher at the time, was also on faculty there.  It was an intense week, filled with master classes, small ensembles, recitals, and private lessons. Most days began with a two hour warm-up/master class with one of the KBHC faculty.  Afternoons were full of additional master classes, private lessons, horn ensemble rehearsals, and individual practice.  Evenings usually featured students and/or faculty soloists in recital.  Some of my fondest memories from that busy week are playing for Hermann Baumann in a master class, and getting to experience the faculty’s wide variety of teaching and playing styles.  I also vividly remember Kendall Betts saying in his opening address to all the participants that practicing was not allowed late at night, because after 10 hour days full of horn playing, “no one wants to hear it.”  The camp is open to anyone who plays the horn, from retired medical doctors to freelancers and other professionals.  There really is something for everyone at KBHC, and I would wager that even students who have to spend most of the summer working could find at least one week to participate in this one of a kind experience.  There are also a number of scholarship opportunities available, and the applications usually involve sending in several required excerpt recordings as well as an essay explaining why you want to attend.  The setting in rural New Hampshire is gorgeous, and although the accommodations are “rustic,” the food is excellent and the company is great.  Because of the incredible diversity of backgrounds, experience levels, and interests, competition at the camp is kept to a minimum.

Short(er) Summer Music Festivals

Rafael Mendez Brass Institute

Kendall Betts Horn Camp

Bar Harbor Brass Week

Daytona Beach and Lugano, Switzerland Horn Camps

Colorado College Summer Music Festival

Sarasota Music Festival

Barry Tuckwell Institute

Fearless Performance for Musicians Summer Seminar

Atlantic Brass Quintet International Summer Seminar

University of Nebraska-Lincoln Chamber Music Institute

The Banff Centre Summer Music Programs

Lieksa Brass Week

Spoleto Festival

Audition Mode Horn Seminar

University of Michigan Summer Horn Institute (High School Students Only)

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