Fourteen-year-old Courtney Seem was standing outside the hectic office of the Kansas University Music Camp on Monday, trying to get some attention.
Seem couldn't fit through the office door. He had a sousaphone a type of tuba hanging around his neck.
Like many of the junior high students attending the first day of the camp at KU's Murphy Hall, Seem had a question for the camp staff. After he found out he could pick up his borrowed concert tuba downstairs, he was off to a lesson, lugging the heavy sousaphone.
"This is fun," said Seem, a junior high student from Stanley. "You get a lot of exercise, but it's fun."
SEEM WAS among 350 students who are in Lawrence this week for the 56th annual camp. Before the camp ends July 20, more than 1,100 junior and senior high school students will have attended the sessions.
The students, some of whom commute and some of whom are living at Hashinger Hall, will stay at the camp for one to four weeks, depending on their enrollment session.
They are schooled in their choice of four areas: piano, voice, band and strings. The camp has three bands designated by level of expertise three jazz ensembles and a full orchestra. Students also can take chorus, which many of them haven't had the opportunity to study, said camp director David Bushouse. A recital wraps up each week.
On Monday, like on every other first day of camp that Bushouse has seen in his 12-year tenure as director, things were frenzied. Those knocking on his door included students looking for locker combinations and faculty trying to figure out their parking permits.
STUDENTS' tuition, including residence hall fees, ranges from $275 for the one-week junior high session to $960 for a four-week senior high session. Students receive about six hours of instruction daily.
"Most of the them have the time of their lives," Bushouse said. "And most see people they meet here in future years, like at all-state competitions. I had one person from a (KU) residence hall come up to me and say most of the people in his theory class at KU went to camp with him."
Though most of the campers are from Kansas and the Kansas City area, the camp draws students from all over the country. Last year, 32 states and three foreign countries were represented in the senior high division.
The faculty also is diverse in its geographical makeup. Along with instructors from KU, Lawrence and the Kansas City area, this year's faculty roster includes the conductor of the U.S. Air Force Academy band, a band Bushouse calls one of the best in the country.
IN ONE fourth-floor classroom Monday, 13-year-old Anibal Garza of Kansas City, Kan., had just slipped into a back-row window seat in front of fellow trumpet-player Eli Goodell, 12, of Lawrence.
The two new friends agreed the camp was "pretty fun."
"But I hate the stairs," Goodell said. "I'm trying to just get everything I can get out of (the camp.) I've had private lessons and my instructor suggested it."