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FBC Trussville’s first Fine Arts Camp teaches music, drama, self-confidence to local childrencomment (0)

August 9, 2007

By June Mathews

Parents looking for a fun and enriching arts experience for their children this summer found it at First Baptist Church, Trussville, in Birmingham Baptist Association.

The first Fine Arts Camp, sponsored by The Conservatory at First, Trussville, a program providing instruction in ballet, art and several instruments, took place in July and according to parents, children and organizers, was a huge success.

The idea for the camp originated with The Conservatory’s director, B.J. Price, who is also the church’s associate minister of music.

“Late last year, the [First, Trussville] ministers were asked to establish some goals for 2007,” he said. “As I began praying about what God wanted us to accomplish this year, the thought surfaced that a fine arts camp could be a great way to reach out to kids in our community who may or may not have had any exposure to the message of Jesus.”

Pastor Buddy Champion agreed.

“Things like this are what the church is all about — bringing people of all ages and all walks of life into our building who may never have the opportunity to experience the love of Jesus any other place,” he said. “God has given us this great facility and resources for ministering to our community. All we have to do is open our doors and hearts, and He’ll take care of the rest.”

Of the 42 children who participated in the camp, around 40 percent were not members of First, Trussville, Price said.

Brad Forehand, a University of Mobile student serving a summer internship in the church’s music program, coordinated the camp. Using a format similar to one he’d learned as a participant in Birmingham’s Summerfest Musical Theatre (now Red Mountain Theatre Company) workshops, Forehand divided the campers into six age groups designated Hip-Hop, Country, R&B, Ragtime, Jazz and Rock. Each group rotated through daily sessions in drama, piano, guitar, art, choir and dance.

Forehand said the camp was an inexpensive way for children to sample the arts in a fun and relaxed setting.

“A lot of parents want to get their kids involved in the arts, but they may not know how to get started or what their kids may be good at or enjoy the most,” he said. “A camp like this gives kids a taste of a lot of different things, and it helps the parents determine where the kids need to be. It also gives parents a chance to see if the younger ones are ready to be involved.”

Lynn Grogan, whose 9-year-old son Bradley participated in the camp, echoed Forehand’s sentiments on a personal level.

“Bradley had wanted to take piano lessons at one time, so the camp was a chance for us to see how he would like piano if we were to go ahead with the lessons,” Grogan said. “It also gave him a chance to experience some creative outlets we might never have considered like drama and art.

“As it turned out, I think he enjoyed guitar the most. He came home every day and practiced strumming the chords he’d learned that day.”

The four-day camp culminated with a showcase in which the campers performed for their families and friends.
Through the camp experience, Bradley “learned not to be afraid to try new things just because he’d never done them before,” Grogan said. “Fine Arts Camp was a great experience for my child on a number of levels.”

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