Prince William County band camp expands students' repertoire

By Sarah Lane
Thursday, July 29, 2010

For five days last week, about 90 young musicians united in Prince William County to play and learn as part of the county's concert band camp.

The annual event, held at Potomac Middle School in Dumfries, gave students a chance to try different instruments, work with teachers and learn challenging music.

"In the concert band, we've got kids in fifth grade playing with high school kids because of their talent level. They're not put in a band based on their age but purely on how they play," said Laurel Siberts, a private music instructor and the camp's oboe specialist.

The camp, which began in 2003, is open to students of all skill levels and drew from Prince William, Manassas and Manassas Park, as well as neighboring Fauquier and Fairfax counties.

For Tori Buechling, a 12-year-old flutist from Graham Park Middle School in Triangle, camp was a chance to play the French horn -- which, it turns out, she said she really likes.

Anna Reid, a Forest Park High School 10th-grader who plays trumpet, has attended the camp since she was in middle school.

"I just love being around all the band people. They understand the jokes you make. It's like a family," she said.

But the students weren't the only ones performing. The teachers and other professionals held recitals for the students.

"It's important for them to see us not just as teachers but as musicians," said James Pratte, one of the camp's directors and the band director at Benton Middle School near Manassas.

For information on Prince William summer band camps or to register for the jazz band camp next week, visit

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