Music camp at Hilton parish is a hit with youngsters - Catholic Courier

Music camp at Hilton parish is a hit with youngsters

HILTON — What’s the best way to engage a bunch of high-energy youngsters?

Devise a program that’s just as energetic.

That was the successful approach taken for a music camp at St. Leo Church Aug. 2-3. Featuring a stream of participatory activities, the camp was appropriately titled “Music Alive!”

“We kept them moving,” acknowledged Patricia Gorman, St. Leo’s director of music and liturgy.

For example, on the latter evening, activities began in the parish’s daily-Mass chapel before moving to the music room and then the main church. During that time, the 14-member group of campers — ranging in age from 4 to 10 — learned popular spiritual songs such as “This Little Light of Mine” and “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands.” They also tried out such percussion instruments as tambourines, bongos, sleigh bells and maracas.

Following a craft activity in the parish center, campers headed back into the church where they were treated to several spiritual and Irish folk songs by special musical guest John Dady. Finally, the youngsters headed outside to join family members for sing-along music by Dady around a bonfire, marking the camp’s closing event.

Young campers bring energy, enthusiasm

Campers’ enthusiasm was evident during their musical activities; many sang loudly while others danced. The place was especially hopping when Dady led “The Unicorn,” with participants making gestures to signify various animals, including alligators (clapping hands together vertically to mimic an alligator’s jaw snapping), chimpanzees (scratching one’s sides) and unicorns themselves (hands protruding from the forehead to denote a horn).

While a key objective was for campers to enjoy learning “a little bit of music theory,” Gorman said program activities also sought to help expand and deepen their Catholic faith. For example, participants were given a tour around the church, learning details about the altar, sacristy, chalice and crucifix and other church-related items. They also were introduced to St. Leo’s parish priests: Father Joseph Catanise, pastor; and Father Robert Ring, parochial vicar.

In addition, the youths reflected on Scripture passages concerning such themes as God’s creation; the importance of sharing; and not being overly competitive with each other.

“I definitely wanted to have some readings that could relate to them,” Gorman said.

Gorman explained that age-appropriate music is an ideal way to spark youngsters’ attention and, in turn, enhance their eagerness to learn about the Catholic faith.

“They’re like sponges,” said Gorman, who has served full time at St. Leo since 1989 after several years as a volunteer musician there.

Camp’s offerings prove successful

The early-August activities marked St. Leo’s second-annual summer music camp for young Catholics. Gorman noted that the camp, which lasted 90 minutes each night, was made possible by the presence of several adult assistants: “We have great volunteers here.”

She added that Dady has stepped forward to help out both years as well — a big bonus, as he and his late brother Joe are legends of the Rochester-area music scene. The Dady Brothers were 2020 inductees into the Rochester Music Hall of Fame.

Looking ahead, Gorman said she’s looking to ingrain the music camp into a Vacation Bible School that’s being planned jointly for 2024 between St. Leo and Greece’s St. Mark Parish. Based on participants’ zeal for the recently concluded camp, Gorman knows she’s touched upon a winning formula.

“Perfect, it was great. I could have kept them another hour or two,” she said with a laugh.

Tags: Faith Formation, Monroe County West
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