Band members attend unique summer camp for girls


Students from seven Fayette County schools attended the second annual Athena Music and Leadership Camp, sponsored by Music Essentials, June 8-12 on the campus of the University of West Georgia. Named for the Greek goddess of the arts and wisdom, the Athena band camp is designed to serve rising 7th – 12th grade girls who play woodwind, brass, and percussion instruments. This year’s camp participants included 50 young ladies from 12 Georgia school systems, mostly in the metro-Atlanta area, and 24 schools including Booth, Fayette, Flat Rock, Rising Starr, and Whitewater Middle Schools, and Fayette County and McIntosh High Schools.

The young ladies participated in master classes, music theory and conducting classes, leadership and empowerment seminars, and the All Girls Symphonic Band. Additional activities included an Athena faculty recital, a special performance by The Atlanta Trumpet Ensemble, conducted by Kay Fairchild, and a camp Drum Circle, led by Athena percussion instructor, Paula Williams. Female music majors from the University of West Georgia and members of Tau Beta Sigma and Sigma Alpha Iota music sororities presented a forum for the campers and volunteered throughout the week. The camp concluded with a concert by the All Girls Symphonic Band, conducted by Dr. Dawn Perry, on Saturday afternoon, June 12.

An all female camp staff of professional musicians created a nurturing, yet stimulating environment for the girls throughout the week: Zandra Bell, UGA doctoral student and former Director of Bands at Youth Middle School in Monroe; Dr. Lara Dahl, oboe professor at Georgia State University; Dr. Shelly Unger, bassoon professor at Emory University; Audrey Murphy, Director of Bands at Hopewell Middle School in Alpharetta; Patti Martin, Director of Bands at Temple Middle School in Carroll County; Kay Fairchild, trumpet instructor at Emory University and Pope High School in Marietta; Dr. Ellie Jenkins, horn professor at Dalton College; Hollie Lawing, professional trombonist and member of the Midtown Brass Quintet; and Paula Williams, Director of Bands at the High Meadows School in Roswell and percussion director at Pope High School in Marietta. Dr. Myra Rhoden, Director of Bands at Fayette County High School, served as the Athena Camp Director. Additional leadership and conducting seminars were presented by Dr. Dawn Perry, Director of Bands at Wingate University in North Carolina, Patrice Butler of the Coca-Cola Company, and Dr. Joyce Rhoden, Director of the Counseling Center at Tuskegee University in Alabama. Photography by Kimberly Parker Pace, in Alabama, served as the official photographer for the event.

The Athena Music and Leadership Camp is open to all female rising 7th through 12th grade musicians (woodwind, brass, and percussion) and will be held again in June 2011 at the University of West Georgia. For more information, please visit

Fayette County participants listed by school:
Emily Schuler, Booth MS
Alyasa Brown, Fayette MS
Christa Jones, Fayette MS
Omone Tokurah, Fayette MS
Johnnae Tatum, Fayette MS
Leia Wilkerson, Fayette MS
Julia Callie Burks, Flat Rock MS
Jessica Needham, Flat Rock MS
Gemma Papasodero, Flat Rock MS
Sara Preiss, Flat Rock MS
Jenna Hughes, Flat Rock MS
Carlise Vidourek, Flat Rock MS
Gabrielle Illg, Rising Starr MS
Tori Melton, Rising Starr MS
Stellina Simpson, Whitewater MS
Mary Zitelli, Whitewater MS
Alexis Johnson, Fayette County HS
Mallory Northrop, Fayette County HS
Mattie Mullins, McIntosh HS Alumna, President of Tau Beta Sigma, UWG (not pictured)
Jessica Faulkner, Fayette County HS Alumna, Member of Tau Beta Sigma, UWG