Summer Stars Camp for the Performing Arts, the unique nine-day, no-cost residential summer camp for middle communities and high-school-aged kids from under-resourced, is welcoming arts industry professionals and camp alumni as Master Teachers, Counselors, and staff to share their expertise and experience during this year’s session August 7-15 in Gill, MA.
Summer Stars teaches success through the performing arts to children 12-17 years old during an intense 9-day program, led by professional artists, educators, and role models. Among this year’s staff are Master Teachers and Counselors who draw upon their own life experiences and knowledge to help the camps discover themselves and their potential through the arts.
Among this year’s Master Teachers are Bob Marlette, whose career includes producing with such notables as Sheryl Crow and Ozzy Osbourne is the Master Teacher for Music Production/Live Sound/Songwriting/Audio Recording. Lisa Joy Pimentel, co-founder and singer/guitarist of the “powerhouse rock trio” No Small Children who recorded the theme song for 2016’s Ghostbusters is the Master Teacher for Rock Band.
Shaumba-Yandje Dibinga (Hip Hop & African Dance) heads a non-profit organization that produces innovative arts education programs; Nathan Scherich (Acting) has appeared on Broadway in Jersey Boys; Tim Dunne (Leadership Program) shares his insights on bringing structured creativity and innovation to challenges facing scientists and researchers at NASA and the NIH with Summer Stars campers this summer. Former president of the American Comedy Network Maggie Dugan (Writing) is a facilitator and a trainer, with a specialty in designing and facilitating events that provoke innovation, creativity workshops and leadership development programs.
Kyle Wrentz (Improv) who appeared on Broadway in The Lion King says that “It is remarkable to watch our students infuse their life experiences into the art: to enlighten, and to discover. This collective energy leads to some extraordinary creative moments. and our students leave with a toolkit of knowledge that infuses into every aspect of their lives beyond their time at camp.”
Thomas Postly (aka Tommi Truthz) came to Summer Stars as a camper 20 years ago. Today, he is a musician, rapper, singer, producer and songwriter based in Brooklyn who leads the Songwriting Workshop at Summer Stars. “It’s a blessing to give back to these wonderful and talented camps who come from many backgrounds and are confronting present traumas. Vulnerability and transparency are the main components in my class that I teach, and they’re not afraid to do either.”
Counselors Aaron Richardson and Serena Walker Jean, both of whom came to Summer Stars as campers, have continued to be part of the organization since their first encounter as kids.
Serena Walker Jean, whose career has taken her to one of the country’s Top 5 accounting firms says “Summer Stars was very different from any of my other experiences. There was no competition about who was the better singer/actor/dancer/writer. Among the campers everyone was supportive and encouraging of one another. My very first summer there I auditioned for a solo in the final show. I am not sure I would have had the courage to audition any other place. is supporting the campers, helping them overcome their self-doubt, and encouraging them to embrace who they are!”
Aaron Richardson, now a college admissions counselor says “I taught myself how to play piano thanks to the contagious energy of Summer Stars. I graduated from college two years ago, where I was studying political education, and my final project was an album inspired by My experimental piano skills and hip-hop appreciation. Summer Stars gave me some of the tools to put this together.”
About Summer Stars Camp for the Performing Arts
Since its founding in 2000, approximately 150 young people, aged 12-17 primarily from the Northeastern United States with an interest in the performing arts, have come to Summer Stars annually. This nonprofit organization teaches success through the performing arts to economically disadvantaged children through a free 9-day residential program held on the campus of Northfield Mount Hermon School in Gill, MA.
The Camp offers small group programs in acting, blues performance, dance, musical theater/choral singing, set design, drumming, and more. Campers experience daily open-mic opportunities, participate in specialty classes, and have the chance to interact with the nightly guest artists (who have included Taylor Swift, Steven Tyler, and Blue Man Group) who perform exclusively for the campers. All these activities build to a high-caliber multi-disciplinary end-of-week show open to the public and featuring all campers that provides an exciting culmination to the Summer Stars experience.
Through the hard work and risk-taking involved in this intensive program, the camps develop essential character and life skills: confidence, creativity, problem solving, risk-taking, leadership and team building. These skills will support Summer Stars campers as they follow any path in life they dream to pursue.