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Roanoke Symphony Orchestra kicks off Summer Music Institute program for youth

ROANOKE, Va. – Seventeen-year-old John Smith has played the trumpet for more than a third of his life.

He is a frequent camper of the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra's Summer Music Institute. 

"It gives me a chance to, (for) lack of better words, shuck off of my other responsibilities and just play music for a while," Smith said. 
Smith is one of 100 students participating in this year’s overnight music camp at Hollins University. 

He is also a part of the 40 percent of campers who received some form of financial aid to attend. 

“Opportunity shouldn't be limited by dollars. So if we can we will get the opportunity to get the kids here, who want to be here, who want to grow and change. We want to seek out scholarships and financial support while they are here,” said David Crane, executive director for the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra.

Campers receive five full days of learning from musicians of the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra. The students are in grades 6-12. Some come from as far as West Virginia. 

“I wanted to improve and then next year I can go back and share some of that with members from my orchestra back at home,” said Erin Skaff, another camper.

At the end of the camp on Friday the students will perform for friends and family.

“It is a really good cause. It gives kids a great opportunity and there are some amazing instructors here and it is a valuable opportunity for people,” said Smith.