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JK Stories: My Weeks with Jolene

Posted by Rebecca Fox Starr on Mar 7, 2014 10:18:00 AM

My journey with the Julian Krinsky Camps and Programs began in the 1990s when I was in middle school. I spent two incredible summers, when I was going into sixth and seventh grades, at the Creative and Performing Arts Camp when it was called JKST and located at the Haverford Friends School. 
There, I spent time honing my skills in all areas of Creative arts, from projection to painting, but the highlights for me, both summers, were the two weeks I was able to spend with Jolene, a Broadway performer and friend of the camp director, Jodie. Jolene and her accompanist worked with me one-on-one every afternoon, exposing me to new types of music, teaching me advanced skills like diaphramatic breathing and controlling my vibrato, and it was a gift to work with such a talented professional. 
Every two weeks the camp had a "theme", and we would perform a showcase accordingly. Luckily for me, during my week with Jolene that first summer, the theme was Ziegfeld's Broadway, bringing us to the era of the 1920s. We sang songs and did group numbers of all kinds, but from my individual work she exposed me to the music of Gershwin, something that would stay with me for my entire personal and performing life thereafter. 
In a long, flowing yellow dress, I performed "But Not For Me", which later became a beautiful standard in my repertoire. It was sophisticated for me, as I was barely 12, but it elevated my understanding of music and performance and I will never forget a word of that song. The following summer, Jolene's two weeks fell during the theme of "Italy". Then, she taught me the Italian Standard called "Mama", which I sang in both English and Italian. For a 7th grader, this advanced singing, in both style and language, taught me so much. This is another song, despite being in a language I do not know, that I will never forget a word of.
Jolene taught me many things during my weeks with her; she taught me about the professionalism of being a Broadway performer; she taught me vocal techniques; but, most of all, she taught me how to inspire and instruct while teaching. I can say, confidently, that Jolene is why I continued to pursue my careers in both performing arts and education, and I feel that my first experience with the JKCP was a gift just keeps on giving. 
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Topics: JKCP Student Spotlight, Pre-College Summer Programs



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