Did you know that Shell Lake, Wisconsin is home to the longest continuous running jazz camp in the nation?! Did you also know that your middle or high school student can take part in jazz camp, concert band camp, show choir camp or any number of the 16 youth camps that are offered there? So, what is this place? It’s the Shell Lake Arts Center! With over 50 years of experience, the SLAC provides a positive environment where kids can further develop and explore their artistic talents.
Camp Spotlight: Concert Band Camp
If you’re looking for a crazy-popular camp and love concert band...this is your jam! The Concert Band Camp typically attracts over 100 students each summer. You can come for one session or stay for both! Some of the elective offerings scheduled for this year (subject to change) are World Music, Body Percussion, Composition, Theory (7 Levels!), Music History, Improvisation, Conducting, Chamber Music, Polka Band, Jazz Band, and International Music Selection.
In 2019, SLAC is welcoming back international conductor Jose Antonio Blasco Lambies of Spain for Concert Band Camp Week II: July 14-19. Toni describes his conducting as intended to convey instruction and information as well as pleasure and entertainment, like didactic poetry. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for most of the kids attending this camp to work with such a renowned international conductor. He will have an interpreter with him while he works with the campers giving them an experience they will never forget. His enthusiasm and love of music transcend any language barriers. They laugh and learn for the entire rehearsal.
Camp Spotlight: Jazz Improvisation & Combo Camp
Oh, how we love some jazz! Jazz is such a deep rooted tradition at the Shell Lake Arts Center - it’s been a part of the camp line-up for the last 52 years! The jazz programs at SLAC have been the launching pad for some of America’s most acclaimed musicians, including:
- Geoff Keezer (Piano with Art Blakey, David Sanborn)
- Bill Evans (Saxophone with Miles Davis, Randy Brecker)
- Lyle Mays (Keyboards with The Pat Metheny Group)
- Byron Stripling (Trumpet with The Count Basie Orchestra)
- Ethan Iverson (Piano with The Bad Plus)
- Justin Vernon (Bon Iver)
So why should your student attend SLAC? Not only will they have fun and improve their music, but they’ll increase their motivation and dedication to something they enjoy. One student last year said, “The best thing that happened to me this week was being inspired by all these amazing musicians! Motivation!” and another commented, “Being around skilled musicians really pushed me to improve my playing.”
Some of the features of Jazz Improvisation & Combo Camp include jazz improvisation classes, instrument masterclasses, small group rehearsals, listening class, faculty & student performances and of course, free time: practice, relax or head to the beach. Wait, head to the beach? You heard us right...not only is Shell Lake home to one of the most amazing jazz camps in the nation, but it is also home to Northwest Wisconsin’s favorite beach. Your camper will have wholesome, small-town experiences when visiting Shell Lake, population 1,347. This little gem of a town in Northwest Wisconsin offers incredible art opportunities, a spectacular beach, historical museum, and events all summer long. Did you know that many of the SLAC camper’s families plan their summer vacations around camp and enjoy the beauty of Northwest Wisconsin while their student is at camp? The Shell Lake and Washburn County area offers some of the best outdoor recreation you can find with hidden treasures like the Namekagon River: Wisconsin’s Moving National Park and thriving downtowns where antiques and art galleries abound!
(Contributions by Shell Lake Arts Center)