Greater Owensboro Summer Music Camp

The 1987 concert program

Every summer from 1975 until 2006 Mount Saint Joseph hosted the annual Greater Owensboro Summer Music Camp which gave youngsters two weeks to receive music instruction in a relaxed setting. Maple Mount proved to be a perfect venue for students to swim, take walks, play sports and do crafts between practicing and lessons. Originally sponsored by Brescia College (now University), the camp offered talented musicians ages 11 through 22 vigorous training sessions in their respective instruments and the development of mature practice habits. Typically 75% of the students came from Daviess County, but would include students from other parts of Kentucky and the United States.

Students at choral practice in 1974.

During the first year Richard Burgin, concert master for the Boston Symphony for 40 years, conducted the festival orchestra at the end of the camp performance. The choral members performed Schubert’s Mass in G. Students would practice wherever they could find space, even in the boiler room. Over the years, the students would perform the great works of the masters from the 16th century Italian composer Palestrina to the 20th century American composer Leonard Bernstein. Instructors were brought in from around the nation to provide master classes and offer performances. End of the summer concerts were held either in Owensboro or on the lawn at Maple Mount, and attendees were encouraged to bring a picnic while enjoying the concert.

The Summer Pops Concert in 1984.

Attendance began to dwindle over the years and it was decided that 2006 would be the last year for the camp at Maple Mount. Instead, A Summer Institute for Young Artists would be held at Owensboro Middle School. With the camp held in Owensboro, tuition would be at a lower cost and parents would not have to travel as far to drop off and pick up their children. For thirty-one years, Mount Saint Joseph was able to host high quality music instruction to the young, something that has been a part of the Ursulines’ ministries since the beginning of the Academy in 1874.