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Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Aug 15, 2018

Sondheim summer theater camp has ‘big top’ theme

May 22, 2018

Following several successful years of summer camp, the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center announces the fifth annual Evelyn Gamrath’s Summer Theater Camp: “Under the Sondheim Big Top” 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 16-20 on the Sondheim stage.

Students, 8-14 years old, are invited to celebrate with song and dance from the 1980 Broadway musical “Barnum” and the 2017 smash hit movie musical “The Greatest Showman.”

The summer camp, named in honor of Evelyn Gamrath, a longtime junior high choral director, will be led by: Allen Chapman, camp director, Anne Chapman, choreography director, Vicki Jacobsen, music director and Lynn Jacobsen, stage director.

“This is going to be an unbelievable experience for the students,” said Rustin Lippincott, director of the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center. “We have assembled the best educators we possibly could have put together for this camp ... call it the ‘who’s who’ of Iowa High School vocal and show choir educators. What an extraordinary opportunity for the kids to be with these educators for an entire week.”

“We are excited to be part of the Summer Camp at the Sondheim,” said Allen Chapman, from his home in Fort Madison. “We are putting together the best songs from “Barnum” and “The Greatest Showman” so we can feature the younger kids and the older kids at different parts of the performance. They are going to have a great time at this camp, singing and dancing their way across the stage.”

Chapman has taught vocal music from elementary through college, in a career spanning more than 40 years. He has toured choirs to Europe and appeared on national convention programs. He has had numerous awards bestowed upon him including National Federation Award of Merit by the Iowa High School Music Association for his contributions to music education at the local, state and national levels.

Anne Chapman, daughter of Allen and the late Sandra Chapman has been singing and dancing since she could walk and talk. Her studio pupils have been awarded regional and national honors, her dance teams have been crowned state champions and her choirs consistently rank at the highest levels in competition. Her skill as an adjudicator and clinician have provided her with numerous opportunities to serve as a show choir camp choreographer, guest speaker at conventions and symposiums and adjudicate competitions nationwide.

Vicki Jacobsen returns as the music director, a role she held with the inaugural Summer Camp at the Sondheim. Jacobsen spent 32 years as vocal music director of Danville Community Schools in Danville. She was the K-12 music instructor and established a “swing choir” her first year in the system. Her show choir program received statewide recognition for its innovative style and energy and were named one of the top small school music programs in the state, yarnering many awards at competitions. She also directed a concert choir, women’s choir, and men’s choir.

Lynn Jacobsen, rounds out the all-star camp staff as the stage director. Jacobsen, an Iowa High School Speech Hall of Fame member, has led Danville students to the All-State Speech Festival every year for the last 43 years. He was recently named the 2014 Iowa Educator of the Year by the National Federation of High School Educational Theatre Association.

Summer Camp at the Sondheim is made possible by the support of Wayne and Nan Kocourek, along with Fairfield Hy-Vee Food and Drug Store, Everybody’s Whole Foods, and Jefferson County Farm Bureau.

Summer Camp at the Sondheim is named in honor of Evelyn Gamrath, wife of Bob Gamrath and mother of Bob Gamrath Jr., Kathyrn Carpenter, Nan Kocourek and Tom Gamrath. Evelyn Gamrath was a longtime junior high choral director, collegiate and church choral director, and had a passion to teach children and instill in them the love of the arts.

“Summer Camp at the Sondheim started three years ago with goals of providing area youth with opportunities to express their creative spirit and experience the thrill of live performance, while gaining confidence, and having fun doing it,” said Lippincott. “We are thankful for the support of the Kocoureks, Lindsey Flannigan and Fairfield Hy-Vee, Paul Praither, Nathan Gamet and Everybody’s Whole Foods and John Sandbothe and Jefferson County Farm Bureau. Their support has allowed us to expand on the successes of the first four years of our camp and enhance the campers’ experience of theater, performance, teamwork and critical life skills with a dynamite cast leading the camp.”

Registration for the Evelyn Gamrath Summer Camp at the Sondheim is $125. To register campers, visit www.FairfieldACC.com or contact Lori Vaughan at the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center, 472-2000. A camp registration night is set from 5:30-7:30 p.m. July 16.

“It’s going to be an exciting week, Monday through performance day,” said Lippincott. “We are staging a full-length performance together in one week and the stars are 8-14 years old, it will be a lot of fun, the kids will learn from some of the best choir and show choir educators in the country and perform under the Sondheim stage lights.”

For more information and to register, visit www.fairfieldacc.com or call 472-2000.

The deadline to register for the summer theater camp is July 16.

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