KMC Administration
Dec 8, 2017

KISSM opened my eyes to a big musical world!


By Dr. Michelle Cheramy, Flutist

Professor of Music, Memorial University, St. John’s, NFLD


I remember well my first experience of the Kamloops Interior Summer School of Music: it was about 1984, the camp that year was being held on the campus of what was then Cariboo College (now Thompson Rivers University), I was a young teenager, and I was excited to be spending two weeks in an environment dedicated entirely to making music.

Little did I know then what a seminal experience the Kamloops Interior Summer School of Music would be in my life!

Attending KISSM as a high school student (which I did more than once) opened my eyes to a big, big musical world: jazz combos, African drumming, musical theatre...there were so many rich musical opportunities to be had. The faculty were first class musicians and educators who embodied creativity, passion, and excellence. The energy of the faculty was inspirational, and it was immeasurable fun to connect with kids from all over the region who shared my love of music.

After high school I decided to try to convert my love of music into a career in music, and KISSM was an important part of that journey. While a university student I returned several summers to work for the camp, and those summers taught me everything from the joy of working in a team driven by a shared vision to the difficulty of maintaining order in a junior saxophone ensemble (whew!). They also afforded me the opportunity to perform with established professional musicians, something keenly important for an emerging professional.

As I finished school, landed my first orchestra job and then a full-time university teaching position, I returned to Kamloops for a couple of additional summers to teach as regular faculty at KISSM. It was an honour to contribute to the continued legacy of the camp that had nurtured me as a student, but distance and other commitments eventually ended my affiliation with it.

Or so I thought!

Fast forward twenty-plus years and here I am at KISSM again! This time I am here as a parent, having travelled 7500 kilometres to hand my own children over to the dedicated staff of the summer school. My heart is full of excitement for my kids because I know what great fun, great music and great memories await them.

Since my time as a student at KISSM I have been lucky enough to perform as a soloist, chamber musician and orchestral musician in venues across Canada and the US, and in Europe. The Kamloops Interior Summer School of Music nurtured and inspired me on my path to becoming the musician I am today, but even if I had not become a professional musician I would still consider my time at KISSM essential in my development as a person. I was and always will be proud to have been part of an organization that seeks to create an open, welcoming environment for all, and seeks to foster the best in each individual person (no matter how small)—goals that are universally relevant to all fields of endeavour.

Commenting is off for this post.
New Posts
  • Christo Vutev
    Sep 24

    I went to KISSM as a campter for 8 years, and have come through with an improved ability to trust others. It was great to work hard with other campers to prepare for performances, so much so that no single moment stands out. The bonds made from having gone through a lot with people tend to be much stronger than casual friendships.
  • colinofee
    Jun 18, 2018

    From 2007 to 2014 I attended KISSM as a student, participating in string ensembles, bands, Jazz bands, and drumline. My experience as a student was fantastic! Over the years I made many lifelong friends, greatly improve my musicianship, and most importantly, had a whole lot of fun. In 2015, I was hired as assistant faculty and I have been returning ever since. Having the opportunity as faculty to watch students improve their skills, meet new friends, and have unbelievable amounts of fun has been incredibly rewarding. There's something magical about KISSM that consistently attracts me and many others to return each coming year. Maybe it's the beautiful music we create, maybe it's the lifelong friends we meet or even the strong, positive, community feeling that KISSM fosters. Whatever it is that keeps us coming back, it's for sure found at KISSM.
  • Emma Tow
    Jun 17, 2018

    I attended KISSM for 5 years as a camper and am returning this July for my third year as a mentor on staff. From the beginning KISSM was always exciting to me because I was able to explore all of my different musical interests; piano, violin and musical theatre. I grew so much as an artist because of the expertise and passion of the instructors at KISSM and the opportunities to be involved in the community these connections lead to. But it was the other campers who really influenced my life, and now my fellow mentors who continue to do so. At KISSM I was able to meet so many like minded people who inspired me with their talent, creativity and joy. Collaborating with them on piano duets, in strings ensembles or in musical theatre productions always inspired me. KISSM became the highlight of my year because of the wonderful friendships I had made there. And this is still why I can't wait to come back each summer! Thank you KISSM!

The Kamloops Music Collective (KMC) is a
non-profit organization that provides young musicians opportunities to learn, play and

perform music through a variety of programs,

and under the mentorship  of teachers and performers in the community.


Tel: (236) 425-4221 

Physical Address: 423 St. Paul St 

Mailing Address:

PO Box 983
Kamloops BC V2C 6H1

Subscribe to our newsletter:


© 2019 Kamloops Music Collective.

  • Facebook - White Circle
  • YouTube - White Circle
  • Twitter - White Circle
  • Instagram - White Circle
  • LinkedIn - White Circle