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Joye in Aiken offering summer jazz camp

For students jazzed about music, Joye in Aiken has some news of note.

From June 24-27, Joye in Aiken (the nonprofit organization known for its Festival and Outreach Program featuring Juilliard artists) will present a four-day Jazz Camp open to student musicians from eighth through 12th grades.

The non-residential camp will be held in partnership with USC Aiken and will take place on the university campus.

The camp will be led by Joye in Aiken Artistic Director for Jazz Riley Mulherkar. Mulherkar is a Juilliard-trained jazz trumpeter and a 2019 recipient of Lincoln Center’s prestigious Emerging Artist Award.

Trombone superstar and Juilliard alumnus Wycliffe Gordon will teach a master class as a guest clinician. Also participating as faculty members will be Juilliard-trained pianist Mathis Picard, along with fellow Juilliard alumni Bryan Carter (drums) and Dan Chmielinski (string bass).

Sandra Field, president of the Joye in Aiken Board of Trustees, explains that the campers will stay very busy with classes and other activities over the entire jazz-filled weekend.

“The camp opens with registration on Thursday afternoon, June 24,” Field said. “That’s followed by the ‘Jazz Explosion’ concert that evening, which features the faculty members. On Friday and Saturday, the students will be in classes from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. On Sunday, they’ll be rehearsing for, and presenting, a concert for the public. So their schedule will be very full, but they’ll also have time to jam with each other and make new friends.”

She notes that the intensive curriculum for the camp will focus on rehearsing and performing as part of a jazz combo; jazz improvisation, playing and skill building; music theory; and jazz history and appreciation.

Jim Capalino, a member of the Joye in Aiken Board and the major sponsor (with his wife Carlin Vickery) for the four days of activities, explains that the Jazz Camp is a particularly impactful and timely addition to the organization’s extensive Outreach Program.

“This is the first time Joye in Aiken has been able to offer something like this since the Juilliard Jazz Camp here in 2013,” Capalino says. “In this year especially, when education was so heavily impacted by COVID, we feel it’s important to be able to give students a fun experience that will also provide them with truly world-class instruction.”

Tuition for the camp is $200. Lunch will be included, and financial assistance will be available for students who would otherwise be unable to attend.

“Access to the arts, and especially to high-quality arts education, is a very important part of Joye in Aiken’s mission,” Capalino says. “Financial circumstances should never be an impediment. We want to be sure that the camp is open to any student who wants to come and who can benefit from it.”

Capalino sums up by noting how unique the opportunity is for local music students. “The musicians who will be teaching this camp are some of the best in their disciplines in the world,” he said. “To be able to learn from them, jam with them, be mentored by them, is a chance that may only come along once in a lifetime. I urge every interested student in our area to take advantage of it.”

To register for the camp, visit Inquiries can be directed to Jazz Camp Chair Jack Benjamin at or Joye in Aiken Executive Director Janice Jennings at

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