Dear students, parents and teachers!
I'm pleased to present the Fine Arts Camps Europe (Czech Music Camp for Youth) program for our 23rd season. We opened our first camp in 1997 with 46 students enrolled in a small band and a string ensemble. Since then over 4,000 young musicians from 34 different countries joined our camp. Campers may enroll in 3 sessions from 7 to 18 days at two campsites in the upcoming season and choose from 11 major programs and 13 electives in both full time and day camp. I hope you'll find our programs interesting and look forward to your stay in our campus located in a beautiful natural setting of central Europe.
Fine Arts Camps Europe serve students between the ages of 8 through 19. The purpose of this educational project is to give our campers opportunity to play in large ensembles like symphony orchestra or symphonic band. Making music in a large group motivates students to develop their talent. Other music majors such as choir, piano, harp, recorders, and guitar also focus on an ensemble performance.
Since our campers come from different countries, we highly promote the idea of international understanding through the universal language of music.
We opened our first music camp in Horni Jeleni, Czech Republic in 1997. The idea for this project comes from Michigan, U.S.A., which is the location of large fine arts camps (Interlochen and Blue Lake). Our camp founder, Fr. Walter Marek (1918 – 2010) served as a treasurer and a board member of Blue Lake since its beginning in 1966. The director of C.M.C.Y. is Fr. Marek's nephew, Josef Kušička, who spent 6 summers at Blue Lake as a student and a counselor.
Czech Music Camp for Youth is registered as a non-profit corporation in the Czech Republic.
The majority of our first year campers (85 %) came back in 1998. Our camp has grown in number and quality. We had 85 students, opened a new summer music stage and offered new majors - recorder ensemble and harp. We have laid the basis of a new tradition.
Our program had further expanded during the third season. We were pleased to welcome 130 talented young musicians. We also opened a new major - PIANO which became highly demanded.
170 students from 8 different countries (Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany, France, Italy, U.S.A., Turkey, and China) participated in 5 major programs in 2000.
We've introduced 2-session program in 2001 for the first time in our short history. We opened English Theatre department which is our first non-music major. Symphony Orchestra was our new major program. 225 students from 8 different countries joined our program. We've opened our camp to handicapped children - music theory classes were held during session I.
232 students from 5 different countries participated in our program in 2002. Thanks to our sponsors we were able to purchase the field (4.5 acres) next to the camp facilities for future development of our program. We also bought a string bass as a loaner instrument. Piano program was divided into ensemble and solo practise. Music therapy classes for children from Horni Jeleni continued. All students could perform together in all-camp-chorus.
We welcomed 250 students in 2003. American flute player Camille Dockery became student No. 1,000 of the C.M.C.Y. Bass drum was purchased in order to provide better sound of symphonic ensembles. The highlights finale of the season was 16-year-old Czech piano player Lukas Vondracek performing Rhapsody in Blue by George Gershwin with our youth symphony orchestra.
The stage was renovated before opening the 8th season. Our program received moral support of the UNESCO. 228 students from 7 different countries participated in the summer camp. Lukas Vondracek performed Grieg's Piano Concerto in A minor - 1st movement with our Symphonic Band. Central European Youth Symphony Orchestras were estabilished in September 2004 as our new program. 55 students participated in two ensembles (orchestra and band).
New tent cover and backstage door were installed before opening the 9th season which hosted 212 students from 7 different countries. Campers had the opportunity to experience the bell elective ensemble for the first time. 46 musicians participated in Central European Youth Symphony Orchestras during the camp session break.
Our 10th jubilee season had 244 participants from 10 countries. They enrolled in the Czech Music Camp and a 5-day mini session Central European Youth Symphony Orchestra which took place during the session break. Its main feature was an extreme weather, heat of July and downpour of August. Opening performance introduced our participants to opera. Opava Opera company accompanied by famous pianist Lukas Vondracek performed well-known arias of Bedrich Smetana's The Bartered Bride. The jubilee had also a special guest, the founder of the Czech Music Camp, Fr. Marek, who came from the U.S. to see the whole season.
The 11th season took place in 2007 with 223 participants from 8 different countries. The season was 24 days in a row. We opened a new major department, ART. Harp department got a new Irish harp and during C.E.Y.S.O. all communication was held in just English.
Total 218 students joined our 12the camp season in 2008. Thanks to purchase of a new drumset our camp could accommodate two large ensembles the symphonic band and the symphony orchestra. The main event of the season was the concert in the Holy Trinity Church in Horni Jeleni celebrating the 90th birthday of the camp founder Fr. Walter Marek.
Fine Arts Camps Europe was created in 2009 in order to spread this camp activity into other countries and promote Czech Music Camp for Youth internationally. However, opening a new campsite in Slovakia wasn't possible due to a small number of students. 193 students from 9 countries participated in our 13th season.
The Guitar Ensemble was introduced as a new major program for the first time in our 14th season with 195 participants from 13 different countries.
Haná school band from Prerov, CZ opened our 15th season. The Czech Music Camp hosted this band during our first camp in 1997. 190 students from 13 countries participated in 2011. Memorial symphony orchestra concert for Fr. Walter Marek who passed away on 10 Nov. 2010 was held in Holy Trinity Church. The conductor was Valerie Palmieri.
We opened our 16th season in Horni Jeleni Holy Trinity Church with baroque music concert featuring cemballist and former C.M.C.Y. student and faculty member Petra Zdarska who was the most successful Czech participant at the international music competition Prague Spring 2012. The camp hosted 163 students from 12 countries.
Our 17th season hosted 144 students from United States, Turkey, Great Britain and the Czech Republic. A new major International Choral Ensemble opened in session I.
FACE-IN international exchange program started on July 9, 2013 when the first exchange student from the Czech Music Camp, Vanda Proskova, participated in Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, session II in Michigan, United States. She spent 12 days 1st chair playing tenor sax in the top wind ensemble at Blue Lake. Vanda also spent 5 days in a host family in Traverse City. After her return home she shared her great experience with our session II students at the Czech Music Camp.
167 students from Greece, Turkey, Hungary, Lihuania, Russia, Great Britain, Mexico, Slovakia and Czech Republic participated in our 18th annual season in 2014. Czech Theatre was opened as a new major in session II. Clarinet player Tadeas Sorejs became the first camper who participated in both Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp and Czech Music Camp for Youth during one camp season.
Our 19th season hosted 174 campers from Lithuania, Hungary, Serbia, Slovakia, Russia, Great Britain, Panama, Vietnam and the United States. Our first off-camp mid-session concert was held at Doudleby castle on July 19, 2015 followed by a tour of the castle for all 120 campers and staff members.
197 students from Lithuania, Turkey, Slovakia, Serbia, Russia and the United States enrolled in our 20th season. The opening recital was featuring the winner of 2013 Prague Spring International Music Competition French horn player Katerina Javurkova. Session II opening recital was featuring our alumni camper and faculty member and successful 2012 Prague Spring participant Petra Zdarska on harpsichord. The Grand Finale of the jubilee season brought together present and former students, staff and faculty members playing or singing Ode to Joy.
The third decade of our camps was opened on July 19, 2017 by Holice Town Band featuring a lot of our alumni students, staff or faculty members. The off-camp concerts took place in Hamza's Centre for handicapped in Luze. Our Youth Symphony Orchestra performed a "flash mob in the mall" in Hradec Kralove Aupark mall.
Probably our last season in Horni Jeleni began with a Prah-A-harP Quartet concert in Horni Jeleni Holy Trinity Catholic Church on July 18, 2018. The off-camp concert of all ensembles took place in UNESCO heritage town Litomysl. This concert was held to celebrate 100th anniversary of camp founder Rev. Walter Marek's birth.
Our camp moved to a new location on the Mountain of Holy Mother near the town Kraliky in July 2019. 160 students from 5 different countries participated in 2 camp sessions in the mountains. We gladly joined local events such as fundraising music tour of 4 local churches and chapels. Off-camp concert featuring string orchestra, choir, piano and harp was held in the Retirement Home in Cervena Voda. Final concerts were held in Kraliky music school and in the community center Strelnice.