Three new summer camps are coming to Sioux Falls thanks to the Levitt and Augustana University.
Levitt Jam Camp provides a dynamic, inspiring experience for kids of all ages to experiment with their creativity and connect with the music industry. Camp opportunities in 2024 include a Latin camp for ages 9-11, a hip-hop camp for ages 11-14, and a songwriting camp for girls ages 14-18.
“The goal of Levitt Summer Jam Camps is to inspire and engage our community’s next generation of artists through a week of hands-on music exploration,” Rose Ann Hofland, Levitt’s director of community engagement, said. “Our camps will focus on connecting like-minded youth, engaging students in unique music learning experiences guided by musicians and educators, and providing a platform for campers to showcase their talents on the Levitt stage.”
Levitt Latin Jam Camp
Levitt Latin Jam Camp, tailored for ages 9-11, will explore percussion, singing, dancing, and Latin American culture. From Monday, June 17, through Friday, June 21, campers will immerse themselves in hands-on activities and musical learning. Then, on Saturday, June 22, campers will present their work with an artist on the Levitt stage as part of the family series concert.
“Latin music is a reflection of my identity,” Levitt Jam Camp instructor Eduardo Mendoza said. “As an immigrant, I found a sense of home in the joyful melodies, poignant lyrics, and diverse rhythmic complexities that define Latin music. My passion is fueled by the desire to introduce communities like Sioux Falls to this rich musical heritage, fostering curiosity and excitement for multicultural integration.”
Levitt Hip-Hop Jam Camp
Students ages 11-14 will have the opportunity to dive into hip-hop musical creation. Between Monday, July 15, and Friday, July 19, campers in the Levitt Hip-Hop Jam Camp will explore lyric development, purpose-driven expression, beat making, hip-hop dance styles, and music production tools. To finish off their week of learning, students will perform with a Levitt artist on Friday, July 18 during a hip-hop concert at the Levitt.
“I’m thrilled about the transformative power of hip-hop for middle schoolers,” Levitt Jam Camp instructor Sheku Bannister said. “Hip-hop offers a dynamic outlet for creativity, self-expression, and individuality, providing students with a platform to explore and showcase their unique talents. Through this immersive experience, I look forward to guiding students as they develop confidence, resilience, and a deeper appreciation for the rich culture and history of hip-hop.”
Levitt Songwriting Jam Camp
Levitt Songwriting Jam Camp is tailored to female and non-binary students aged 14-18. Between Monday, June 24, and Friday, June 28, students will learn songwriting skills, build confidence, and gain inspiration from local female songwriters as they learn to express their own unique voices. Then, on Friday night as part of the country genre, students will perform on stage with a Levitt artist.
“Songwriting is a healthy way to express emotions,” Levitt Jam Camp instructor Janice Gilbert said. “Songwriting has helped me through some of the hardest experiences in my life. I think songwriting is an important skill to teach to girls and non-binary students because they have a right to be seen and heard.”
The camps will be hosted at Augustana University, providing students with access to cutting-edge equipment and the opportunity to collaborate with Augustana School of Music faculty and students. Participants will benefit from a diverse range of high-quality instruments, professional-grade recording tools, and expertise of Augustana faculty, ensuring a comprehensive and enriching learning experience.
“Our goal is to see each camper leave with a deeper understanding of music, improved technical skills, and most importantly, a heightened sense of confidence and enthusiasm for their musical journey,” Dr. Pete Folliard, Dean of the Augustana University School of Music, said. “These camps are more than just learning platforms; they are catalysts for a lifelong passion in the arts.”
In order to make Levitt Jam Camp more accessible, the Promising Futures Fund is supporting Levitt at the Falls and Augustana University to provide a pay-what-you-can model. The recommended tuition is $125 per student, but families can pay what they deem affordable. Every student, regardless of contribution, enjoys the same enriching experience.
“Embracing an accessible camp format that welcomes various experience levels through a pay-what-you-can system and building on our collaboration with Augustana University, Levitt Jam Camps not only bring an exciting new summer opportunity for youth in Sioux Falls but contribute significantly to the local musical landscape, serving as a source of inspiration and skill-building for future music-makers,” Hofland said.