LITCHFIELD - As a city with a growing niche for the arts, Torrington is sending its own contingent of teens to join kids from the U.S. and abroad for the Litchfield Jazz Camp.
Eight kids from Torrington attended, or will attend, at least one of the weeklong sessions of camp held at the Forman School in Litchfield, PR and Marketing Director Lindsey Turner said. Of the more than 540 kids, less than half hailed from Connecticut while the rest came from around the U.S. and from five other countries, she said.Two Shea brothers, Pat, 14, and Chris, 13, spent a session at the camp playing their instruments, an alto sax for Pat and clarinet for Chris.
"My combos (group) teachers are some of the best I've ever had," Pat said. "We did some really good songs."At camp there was so much to do, and the faculty concerts were amazing, he said. He also liked the jam session."You make music up from your head," Pat said. "Just have fun with it, and just do it."The Torrington High School jazz band is tough to get into, Pat said. Camp will give him a head start, he said.Other than relaxing by a big tree on the Forman campus during free time, combos was Chris' favorite part of the camp because he got to have a lot of fun while playing songs, he said."I learned a lot," Chris said. "(Camp) was very good. I would recommend anyone who is 13 to 18 years old who has a passion for music to go to it."Camp honed his skills for the regular band and jazz band he already plays in, Chris said. He hopes to return to camp next year, he said.The unbelievable faculty of touring and recording artists makes camp so special, Turner said. The faculty runs the camp as a non-competitive program to foster an environment all about learning, she said."I think it is just as wonderful for the teachers," she said.The students have two classes in the morning and two in the afternoon: playing in a group, studying theory, and learning more about their instruments, Turner said. They also have jam sessions and free time, attend faculty concerts, and perform at the camp, around Litchfield and at the jazz festival, she said. Days can last from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., Pat said."It is very intensive," Turner said. "Each day they have a lot of playing experience."With support from the state Department of Education, more than $90,000 in scholarships were awarded to students on a need basis, Turner said. Seven of the eight students from Torrington received scholarships, she said.