KMC Administration
Nov 16, 2017

Why I love music camp


Edited: Dec 8, 2017

By Jordan Baker

Music Teacher, SD73

I realized working with students at KISSM was one of the most fulfilling things I've ever done in my life. I returned each year, not only because it was fun, but because I could see just how much impact I had on the kids.


KISSM changed my life. At the time I was 13 and, of course, didn't want to go. It was school. In the summer. Luckily, my parents forced me to go, and I attended almost every year, after.


Often, in high school, you try to blend in; you find your niche, and you stay there. I found that with my school's music program, but it wasn't until I went to the Kamloops Interior Summer School of Music when I was comfortable just being me all the time. The students all wanted to be there, the teachers were musicians and cared about your learning, and it was just a fun place to be.

I had four glorious Julys as a student at music camp. I made new friends, played all kinds of neat music in Senior Band thanks to the instruction of the wonderful Keith Woodward, and I learned how to pronounce Malagueña properly. I reluctantly starred in a music video in Digital Audio class, and played Gimli on our radio play of The Lord of the Rings (Abridged). I even still have a partial copy of the recording somewhere.

Alas, Grade 12 came around and I needed to focus on my future. I didn't go to camp after graduating that year; instead I got a job at a local pizzeria, and I thought I was past the KISSM stage of my life. Instead, I believed I would focus on getting a degree in journalism.

KISSM wasn't done with me, however. Dick Dickens, who sadly passed away in 2009, was one of the directors for camp, and he knew me through my involvement in the Kamloops Community Band. He suggested I apply to be one of the university student employees; it would be a good job for the summer.

And again, it was a wonderful experience. Oh sure, it was hard work some days – once we started at 8 am and didn't get home until midnight (thank goodness we gave Musical Theatre its own night to perform after that!) – but I got to see another side of camp. As a student, I didnn’t understand the organization, the long hours, and the dedication from the amazing staff that work there every year.

I kept coming back to camp after that: a couple more years as an employee, and I even spent time volunteering on the board. It came to the point where camp was the one thing I looked forward to each year. I had people asking me, “so when are you going to be a music teacher?”

I realized working with the students at camp was one of the most fulfilling things I've ever done in my life. I returned each year, not only because it was fun, but because I could see just how much impact I had on the kids. So I got my teaching degree, and thanks to my work at KISSM, the local school district hired me, and I get to teach music year round.

KISSM has changed a lot over the years. Students I first saw there in Kindergarten are almost ready to graduate, dozens of staff members have come and gone, and it's used four different locations since I started. But it's still the same camp. It's still where I can't wait to go teach every summer. I wouldn't be where I am today – who I am today – if KISSM weren't part of my life.

So thank you, KISSM. July can't come soon enough.

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  • 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

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