Thoughts from campers themselves

“In 1969, Foster Music Camp was a four-week camp. During that four weeks, I had the opportunity to make music with some of the finest young musicians in the nation. Just like me, these students had a passion for music-making. That interaction helped me gain a whole new perspective of possibilities for musical excellence. The experience helped prepare me for music study at the collegiate level and entry to the professional world of music performance. Teachers at Foster Camp were great performers and professional music educators. We even had the opportunity to meet and work with Vaclav Nehlybel. All in all, Foster Camp was one of those "mountain top" experiences for a young high school musician. The impact Foster Camp had on me led me to initiate Foster Camp Scholarships for my high school band students. Over the years, many of my students also had life changing experiences at Foster.”

-      Tanya Bromley, Trumpet, 1969


“Some of my fondest memories are associated with the Foster Music Camp. I am proud to have been a Foster camper, as well as serving as an instructor.”

-      David Deaton, Tuba, 1990-1995

“I attended Foster camp for 4 years and I would have attended longer if I could have but I got too old. This was the place that I learned what it meant to be a musician. Foster camp lead me to go to EKU for my degree. I also made truly lifelong friends. Foster camp was also a escape from a rough home life and a time without illness. It was a time of learning and fun!”

-      Ashley Coffman, Clarinet, 2001-2005

“Foster was one of my favorite experiences while in high school band. One year we had the pleasure of taking part in a handdrumming workshop that led to a life long fascination.”

-      Lynn Thompson, Percussion, 1992-1993

SFMC was a magical time during my teen years that provided musical experiences and friendships from across the country. Last year, one of my granddaughters attend Foster for the first time and she will be returning this year.

-      Jim Stone, Trumpet, 1962-1963

My high school chorus did not have a Show Choir, so attending Foster allowed me to be a part of something I would not have ever got to be a part of, I loved the performing on a BIG stage!! I will never forget that we got to perform a piece of Music that had been used in the Calgary Olympics either opening or closing can not recall...but It has always stuck with me that we got to be a part of something important!

-      Dana Curlis, Voice, 1987-1989

I have very fond memories of vocal camp. Spending a week with other teens who loved to sing was a great experience. I hope my daughter will be able to attend soon.
Dr. Wehr was a wonderful director and teacher. I also have warm memories of my friend and roommate, Debbie Kerns, who passed away several years ago.

-      Jan Neece, Voice

I absolutely loved it, I attended foster music camp my sophomore through senior years of high school and absolutely loved every minute of it. I deffinately played a lot of music that challenged my abilities but the experience was more than worth it.

-      Lea Siders, Violin, 2002-2004

I look back on my summers at the Stephen Foster Music Camp with great fondness. The instruction I received was excellent. Overall the camp was a wonderful experience and I would recommend the camp to anyone.

-      Lyle Collins, Cello, 1977-1979

Foster camp was a place to meet people that i would have ties to for the rest of my life. It was an expeience in music that changed me and made me a better musician than I ever tought i could be at the time. My future colleagues were at Foster Music camp.

-      Michael Insko, Trumpet, 1969

I was principal 'cellist of the orchestra from 1946 to 1950. I had a 5 year record attending summer camp. It was one of the most enjoyable experience in my life. I still have a scrap book with old pictures and clippings from the newspapers. Best wishes for the 75th Anniversary and I hope to attend.

-      James Shannon, Cello, 1945-1950

I may be wrong, but I think in 1960 I was your youngest camp member ever! I had just finished 8th grade, and played cello in the Camp Orchestra. I also accompanied many fellow campers on the piano during camp recitals. I loved Foster Music Camp, and cried when I had to leave- I thought my parents should just leave me at EKU- music was the life for me!
And indeed it has been! I graduated from EKU with a B.Mus.Ed. in 1970. I majored in pipe organ, and have been a pro church organist and choir director for many years. I am in my 36th year of teaching music, can'timagine retiring!

-      Joy Heideman, Cello, 1960

Foster was a great musical experience that, eventually, took me into the Army's Band program as an officer and conductor. Dr Don Cooper, Dr Van Peursem, Louis Brown, Nick Koenigstein, Robert Hartwell and Mike Theis gave me more percussion experience than I could have hoped for in several years w/out Foster.

-      Stanley Cornett, Percussion

I have wonderful memories of camp and the friends I met. I am proud to be a Foster Camp Alumni. I will be sending my daughter this year for the first time and I think I am more excited than she is. Wait until next year! I now teach music because of Foster Camp.

-      Denise Newland, Voice, 1982-1985

I attended the music camp in season 65. At the time I lived in Ashland, KY. It was hard for me to decide to go, because I didn't know anyone else that was going. But once I got there, and met my roommate, I had a lot of fun and really expanded my music abilities. This experience forced me to go outside of my comfort zone, but if I could go back, I would do it all over again. I can't believe it has already been ten years since I have been there.

-      Glaria Williams, French horn/clarinet, 2000

Was there for the 74 & 75 Vocal camp and still have fond memories of all the music we learned and friends we made.

-      Larry Brashear, Tenor, 1974-1975

Attended in 1963 with both my brothers, what a great time. Playing our instruments, traveling and playing concerts, I remember playing in Bardstown at the Stephen Foster Story. Probably the main reason I selected EKU to attend. Many fond memories of the bus trips.

-      Jim Drake, Tuba, 1963

I attended Foster two years during high school. I was lucky enough to perform with the orchestra one week each year and to play in a flute quartet that made the camp album in '78. I wrote the Bandana's bio. of the flute instructor in '78 also. I liked Dr. Hartwell and the campus enough to come to EKU for college. I am still in touch with one fellow camper from '79, and I hope to see other old friends at the 75th anniversary events.

-      Kathy Randles, Flute, 1978-1979

During the 4 years I attended, not only did I get experience playing with members from across the state and country, I gained friendships that have lasted me throughout the years. I always had a very positive experience while at Foster Camp and encourage as many students as I can to go and get the Foster Experience.

-      Bobby Jo Sturm, Horn, 2004-2007

Foster camp has given me the strength and confidence to become a better musician, it has also been such a great atmosphere of music and people. The staff and the teachers are all great and they have each done so much for me, not only as a musician but also as a person.

-      Matthew Fletcher, Euphonium

Foster Camp was definitely one of the best experiences of my high school years! It was a great chance to "attend" college, meet new people, and play fun music. It was an awesome, once in a lifetime chance that I would love to relive all over again!

-      Charla Helton, Clarinet, 2001-2004

I became involved with Foster Music Camp in 5th grade. I attended 2 years in piano camp and 5 years in string camp. Every year Foster Music Camp was a highlight in my summer!

-      Anna Harmon, Piano/Violin

I attended Foster Music Camp in 1944 and 1945. My high school band director, M.F. Rice, who directed the Salyersville High School Band, encouraged me to attend. I played cornet--the same instrument that my oldest son, Marc, continues to play. I eventually enrolled at Eastern Kentucky State Teachers College and completed my degree in Music in 1954. Being a part of Foster Music Camp under the leadership of Joseph Van Peursem continues to be one of my greatest and fondest experiences. Go Big E!

-      Calvin Whitt, Trumpet, 1944-1945

I was a student at foster camp the summer of 1987. I decided to attend because I would be attending EKU that fall. I thought it would be a great opportunity to check out the campus and get to know the music staff since I would be a music ed major. I loved the camp. After graduating from EKU, I was invited to direct the vocal camp with Dr. Greenlee when I was teaching high school in Scott County. I directed the camp with June Williams as well.

-      Amie Kincaid, Voice, 1987

20 years after being at Foster Camp, I'm still friends with people I went to camp with. It was the best event I did every summer! The vocal camp performed the All-State tryout song at summer camp, and it always gave me a huge advantage when trying out for All-State Choir in the fall. I will be sending my children to Foster Camp!

-      Andrew Baker, Voice, 1987-1990

Stephen Foster Camp provided some of the best memories of my adolescence. I made lifelong friends and it pushed my musicianship to a level that enabled me to get into a reputable music school. For an "outcast musician-type" in high school, this camp allowed me to develop a peer group of similar-minded adolescents and my "Foster Friends" were my favorite friends growing up. I've been a music teacher in Cincinnati for 14 years now and I still cherish my memories of the summers at EKU.

-      Alice Bohn, Voice, 1986-1990

It was a wonderful experience in my life to enjoy all the great music and wonderful people I came in contact with. I wish I were a teenager doing it all over again.

-      John Hasty, Violin, 1959-1960

My 3 years at Stephens Collins Fosters music camp have provided for me some of my greatest memories of my youth. Till this day I still look back on the lessons I learned and the people that I met.

-      Mason Paris, Horn, 1973-1975

Amazing! I remember Dr. Greenlee said we looked like our little wagons were dragging after one rehearsal. Little did he know that I had a little red wagon I used to carry all of my shower stuff down the hall. So guess what I dragged my little red wagon with me to the next practice. It was priceless.

-      Michele Dugard-Pierce, Voice

Foster Camp for me, was an experience that I still talk about today. I was a self-taught flute playing-cellist. Amazingly, I got first chair! The masterclasses and sectionals were invaluable to my evolution as a musician. I still credit Dr. Bromley and Dr. Hartwell for their inspiration. Thank you!

-      Roger Warren, Flute, 1997

It was the first time I realized that there were other kids who, like me, lived and breathed for band/orchestra/voice. Finally I was among my own kind, and we reveled in our geekitude. It was suddenly cool to be a band dork. From that point on, I never felt like an outsider in school again. I knew there were people just like me now, and we understood the power of ensemble music.

-      Lane (Bunny) Smith, Trombone, 1979

My time at Foster Camp was wonderful. I learned so much about singing and performance and had a wonderful time with my friends. Although I did not go on to be a professional musician, I still use the techniques I learned when I sing in church or community choirs.

-      Jeanne Gissel, Voice, 1993-1996

I attended the first two Foster Vocal Camps under the direction of Dr. David Wehr. What an incredible experience! This camp allowed me to grow from a shy, introverted girl into a confident performer. Both the performing and social experiences prepared me for the next step - College. I am sending my son to Foster Guitar Camp this year!

-      Mary Vaughn, Voice, 1974-1975

SFMC was one of the pivotal experiences that led me to a life time of music making, teaching and conducting. The memories of those 4 weeks (yes, the camp was 4 weeks long back then) have stayed with me throughout my career. I was fortunate enough to serve as a camp counselor when I was attending EKU as an undergraduate as well. I will never forget the experience and friendships made - as we use to say in the 70's SFMC FOREVER!

-      Mark Martin, Clarinet, 1971-1973

I was counselor in 1975 & 1976. I really learned a lot in dealing with kids. With students in the dorm like Karrick and Webber, you had better be on your toes at all times! I made great friendships with those guys that extend into today. Bob Hartwell was a wonderful role model as I watched how he dealt with the students, both musically and personally. GREAT TIME!

-      Terry Thompson, Trumpet, 1975-1976


I attended Foster Camp for three summers in high school. Foster Camp benefited my musical growth and helped me to "come out of my shell". I later attended EKU and graduated with my bachelor's degree in music education. I now teach elementary music near my hometown. I have kept in touch with Foster Camp friends through facebook and encourage others to attend Foster Camp!

-      Amy Gayle Milner, flute, 1991-1993

I was fourteen, one of the youngest in camp, which at that time was four weeks. It was my first true time away from home, and I loved it. I was in orchestra and chamber orchestra (cello), and in band (trumpet). I had lessons, master classes, and so much support from other "campers". We wore all white for our concerts, and (of course) stood for "My Old Kentucky Home" at every event. It was truly one of the most exciting and memorable experiences in my life.

-      Patty Kelley, Cello/Trumpet, 1972

Foster helped me develop the discipline required to succeed in future endeavors. My father, the late Dr. Charles Carty, attended in the 1940's. I attended 5 years. My son, Christian Kemker, attended several years and now has a full scholarship in music performance at UofL. We are looking forward to our son, Colin, continuing the tradition. He is registered for the middle school camp this year!!!

-      Kalen Carty-Kemker, Flute, 1977-1981

I essentially began my music career and passion at Foster, sitting last chair the summer after 6th grade. I will never forget the privilege of playing taps at closing ceremonies when I had had achieved principal trumpet stature. Foster helped build the foundation of my music education and I now have a full scholarship in music performance at U of L.

                Christian Kemker, Trumpet, 2006-2009