Music melody at Port Milford

PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY – 

This is the 31st year for the annual classical music camp at Port Milford on the shores of South Bay.

Essentially a ghost town, 100 years ago Port Mlford was a thriving community, built on ship building, with mills, stores and services. During the heyday of the rum running trade, it was a significant depot.

Every summer, beautiful sounds of talented young musicians on strings, piano and vocals surround the scenic camp and echo around the area.

Participants normally come from all across North America and abroad. In past years, for instance, participants have attended from Europe and even Japan. This year, one camper is from Guatemala and one from Mexico.

From its early years when almost all the campers came from parts of the United States, this year’s roster includes a solid number from the Toronto area, Ottawa and Kingston, even one from nearby Brighton. Canadian participation has been growing steadily, encouraged by local participation in the camp’s board of directors and support of local talent such as Kingston composer John Burge, whose work has been featured in the annual Prince Edward County Music Festival in September.

Gregory Garrett, music teacher at Prince Edward Collegiate Institute and chairperson of the camp board is another example of local involvement, plus Patrick Headley of Bloomfield, one of the faculty members.

“We’ve got a really great bunch of 60 kids for our first camp session this year,” said executive director Meg Hill on the camp’s first day recently. (The camp normally operates in two separate sessions from July 22 to Aug. 13, bringing an almost complete change of campers between the two.) Campers are expected to be in their teen years and have already developed substantial skill levels in their chosen instrument. By intense exposure to professional players, many have gone on to successful professional musician careers, Hill…

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