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The KPAC Blog features classical music news, reviews, and analysis from South Texas and around the world. To listen to KPAC 88.3 FM, simply open the player in the gray ribbon at the top of this page and choose KPAC: Classical Music.

UTSA's Statewide Choir Retreat "Boot Camp"

The halls of UTSA have been filled with the sound of singing the last few days thanks to a statewide choir camp, which brought about 250 high school students statewide onto the campus.

UTSA Professor of Music Gary Mabry said the camp begins Sunday evening and runs through Wednesday afternoon.

Those students are broken up into alto, tenors, sopranos and basses, and they’re sectioned off to work with group leaders.

“We’ll have a chance to work with them, really about three-plus hours a day," Mabry said. "And we follow up those section rehearsals with a large rehearsal where we get all the sopranos, tenors, altos and bases together, and those large rehearsals are directed by Dr. John Silantien and by me.”

I told Mabry that this sounded like a boot camp for singers.

“It is definitely boot camp, and this year it tends to be fairly challenging music," Mabry said.

The boot camp analogy continues with the way UTSA manages the whole event. They're responsible for the kids the entire time they're here.

“We require them to stay on campus in our dorms, and our counselors stay with them in those dorms, and they are divided up into pods so that we can keep up with everyone in a very organized fashion," Mabry said.

The idea behind the choir camp is to elevate these singers’ abilities in preparation for the fall class schedule, where some will move on to statewide recognition.

“This audition process begins in the early fall and actually continues to the early spring,” said Mabry.

They have a public performance of sorts Wednesday, although as Mabry points out, those who come are mainly friends and relatives.

“Half of that recital hall is 250 campers sitting in the front," he said. "All those other seats are generally filled with capacity with family members who come to see what their kids have been doing the last four days.”