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Pono To Europe With Blue Lake to Play Music

Organized by: Melissa Casey

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THE STORY:

♪ ♫ Help me travel to Europe with Blue Lake's International Band! ♫ ♪

Hi! My name is Pono Casey and I'm a 7th grade middle school student in Batavia, Illinois. I was recently selected to travel to Europe to play music with Blue Lake next summer and could use your help!

This past summer I had the opportunity to study music at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Michigan. I heard about Blue Lake in March from my band teacher. When a representative visitied my school I decided to audition for a Blue Lake scholarship. I was really drawn to Blue Lake as it's an outdoor music camp and I love music and nature. A few weeks after the audition my parents and I received a letter in the mail saying I had earned a scholarship to cover about 1/3 of the 12 day summer camp cost. I was VERY excited!

On the first day at Blue Lake I had to audition for band placement, as there were four bands. I was in a session with incoming 7th, 8th and 9th graders. I was hoping to make at least the second level band, but apparently my audition went well and I was placed in their highest band level, the Symphony Band. There were only a few other 7th graders chosen to be in the Symphony Band and I was very proud to be one of them.

During practices with my band and then section I found the pieces and excercises a bit challenging, which was good. I did not know if anyone I knew was going to Blue Lake during my session so I was a little afraid. But, when I met my cabin mates I realized I had nothing to worry about as one was from Batavia and the rest were really nice and we started becoming friends. Overall I had one of the best experiences of my life so far at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp.

While at summer camp us campers heard both the Blue Lake Northern Winds and Southern Winds International Bands play and they sounded amazing! After learning about the international bands, I applied, interviewed and auditioned for a seat, but had to wait until September to hear. Every year over 1700 campers apply for the approximately 320 spots. I just found out the second week of September I was awarded a seat in the Blue Lake International Band, which will be touring Europe next summer. My being selected was based on my interview at camp, strong recommendations from my Blue Lake camp counselors and lastly on my audition ranking from the band ensamble I was placed in on the first day of camp. I chose the Blue Lake Southern Winds International Band which will tour six to seven communities in Europe. It includes five days in historic Figeac, France and could include cities in countries such as Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany, Austria, Denmark, Spain and Italy. I will not know the actual cities until they are confirmed in April 2015. I am VERY honored and excited to have been selected for this amazing opportunity. It will be a wonderful experience and a tremendous educational opportunity for my music. I am really looking forward to representing my Batavia community and Blue Lake while abroad and learning more about European cultures.

Unfortunately scholarships are not awarded for the International Band and the trip is quite costly as you can imagine. To help my family raise money I plan to have a few fundraisers and put fliers around my neighborhood to get jobs for helping with leaves and snow. I will also see if I can find some local businesses to sponsor me. My parents and I would greatly appreciate contributions of any size that you might be able to make to help me get there and participate in this unique opportunity.

ABOUT ME
I am almost 13 years old boy and the oldest of four siblings. I am a member of my schools jazz band which meets every Tuesday at 7am for an hour before school starts. I greatly enjoy playing music, but I also love to listen to music of all types. After spending the summer at Blue Lake I am now interested in learning the tenor saxaphone since it is in the same key as the B flat trumpet I play.

In addition to music I also really enjoy building with Legos. I participate in an organization called Fox Valley Robotics where there are teams that build Lego robots that compete in regionals at the end of the season. We do research on a specific topic and present our results to the judges - this year the theme is education. This past summer I volunteered over 40 hours helping with Lego Robotics camps and workshops for younger children through Fox Valley Robotics. I love math and science and am an honor sudent in my school.

I am on my schools cross country team and I love to run with my friends and teammates after school. I am a Boy Scout in Troop 6 and enjoy camping and helping my community. The past five years I have been one of the top sellers in my Boy Scout council selling over $2500 each year in our annual popcorn fundraiser. I did it all myself selling door to door. I hope to apply some of my sales and fundraising knowledge to helping me with paying for this trip. That's me...oh and I like to draw, bike and swim too.

THANKS
Thank you for taking the time to view my page and for considering to help me play music in Europe this coming summer. I am REALLY excited to travel and improve my music! I love learning!

- Pono Casey

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Melissa Casey

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