On August 8, a group of Lawrentians returned to campus as counselors for the Lawrenceville Performing Arts Camp (LPAC), following a two-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic. An effort started in 2006 by Celina Satija ’07 and Nick Johnson ’07, LPAC has continued to provide summer music lessons to passionate students.
The camp provides a special experience for students from underserved communities to perform music and is an equally cherished opportunity by the counselors. This year’s LPAC counselors included head counselor Kate Dillard ’22 and assistant head Grant Shueh ’23,as well as Alexander Xia ’23, IV Formers Jane Atkinson, Cassie Dillard, Lily Hager, William Huang, Aurora Ingenito, and Ian Lee, and III Formers Sonia Ivancic, Ellie Turchetta, Claire Wu, and Angela Yang.
The counselors’ many responsibilities included planning out daily agendas, organizing craft supplies, and coordinating games and lessons. Over the span of the week, counselors mentored a small group of students in instruments such as saxophone, piano, drums, and voice, and taught them musical pieces, which students performed in front of an audience at the end of the camp. Cassie Dillard remarked, “Watching [the students] defeat their nerves and perform their pieces beautifully made me so happy.”
The program holds a special place in LPAC Director Colette Burns’s heart. “I get goosebumps over the development I watch unfold throughout the week,” she said. “Some campers come in so shy or scared, but by the end of the week, they have confidence and are able to perform what they have learned.” Her favorite part of the campers’ final performances is spotting the looks of astonishment and joy on the faces of family members in the audience.
For the counselors, volunteering with LPAC is a fun, rewarding, and valuable experience. What starts as a counselor and counselee pairing forms into cherished bonds as the camp progresses. Atkinson mentioned how she is still in touch with her students and how their funny messages always put a smile on her face. “They said they could not wait for more piggy back rides, walking the imaginary runway, frisbee tosses, popsicles on a nice summer day, and, most importantly, [spending] more time together,” she said.
It’s these fond memories and heartfelt connections that keep LPAC going. In spite of the obstacles posed by Covid-19, Burns decided to continue the program because of the rewarding experience it creates for both the campers and the counselors. “To see the bonds form and how these youngsters look up to our counselors is so heartwarming. I certainly don't regret bringing [LPAC] back to life!” Burns said.