American Idol winner Studdard is expected to be in attendance Monday to kick off the weeklong event.
The camp’s motto, “Preparation determines your destination,” is grounded in each camp activity.
Myrtice Collins, a faculty member in the music department at JSU, said professors from the university will work with participants on music theory, sight reading — playing an unfamiliar piece of music after just a few moments’ preparation — and stage presence.
“Sight reading is a weak area for some coming out of high school,” Collins said. “Some high school choir programs don’t use sheet music.”
Emily Studdard, Reuben’s mother and interim executive director of the camp, said students will also learn how to prepare for an audition and hear about the music industry firsthand from those in it.
“The kids ask questions about his career,” Studdard said of her son. “They’re really into that with him.”
Along with Reuben Studdard, Kaylee McKnight will address the camp about her participation with the Red Mountain Theater in Birmingham. Through that experience, McKnight has auditioned for Broadway shows.
Collins said the event was successful in its inaugural appearance at the university last year.
“It gave them an opportunity to audition for a lead in a song and receive pointers on how to present themselves best on stage,” she said. “Young people who are really interested in a music career need to feel comfortable with their stage presence to audition for a part on Broadway.”
Collins said one participant was awarded a full scholarship to JSU in the music department after the faculty saw his talents at the camp last year.
Young musicians interested in participating were asked to audition so JSU instructors could coordinate their skills. No musician is turned away. Vocalists chose either to prepare a popular song or sing “Happy Birthday,” and instrumentalists play scales.
Collins said those still wanting to participate may perform a late audition Monday.
“We don’t want to leave anyone behind,” she said.
According to Studdard, the Reuben Studdard Foundation, which puts on the camp, granted several scholarships for camp tuition. Tuition is $200 with a $25 registration fee and includes instruction, breakfast, lunch, a camp DVD and a camp T-shirt.
At the end of the camp, participants will showcase their talents at a finale concert.
Studdard said Reuben started the camp because when he was growing up, he didn’t get the chance to attend such camps.
“It is important for musicians to be around other musicians,” Studdard said. “We have a very talented group of kids. They enjoy coming and learning about music.”
Star staff writer Blair Klayko: 256-235-3547