Role(s) and years at camp? Accordion Closed
This will be Rick McEnaney’s 41st year at Curry Summer Music Camp. He started out as a Junior Session tuba student going into the 9th grade from Tucson, AZ. He has worked at Curry as a camp counselor, Senior Staff, Director of the camp and this summer will come back as our Senior Session Symphonic Band and Wind Orchestra Director.
Grade(s) attending summer music camp? Accordion Closed
It was the summer between 8th and 9th grade. My Junior High Band Director, Mr. Jim Sheeley suggested I look into the camp. For this I will always be grateful to him. When I told him my family could not afford it he suggested that as I was a tuba player to write to Dr. Curry and ask if there were scholarships available. So I did and Dr. Curry covered half of my tuition, which allowed to attend.
Did you know you wanted to become a professional musician? Accordion Closed
Oh no! Mr. Sheeley had done so much to open up m
usic to all of us at Carson Junior High, as the previous year we had had a string of substitute band directors, but at that point in time no one in my family had ever been to college, and I was not even an average player. I had no idea what I was going to do in High School much less afterwards.
What influence did it have on you? Accordion Closed
It is almost impossible to overstate the positive effect camp had on my life. That summer I heard my first symphony orchestra, which to this day has a profound effect on me, I had a class that introduced us to great music of many kinds, most of which I had never heard of, there was a master class with 16 TUBA players in it (up until this point in time I had never played in an ensemble where I was not the ONLY tuba player), and I met Charlie Way and Randy Wright. Mr. Way (who was the former trumpet professor at NAU) coached our brass quintet (another first I had never experienced). He was amazing. Charlie was fun, funny, so talented and so caring. Mr. Wright was a band director in Phoenix, an NAU grad, and was both the tuba teacher at camp and my first camp ensemble director. Likewise he was such a powerful influence. I am proud that I was able to maintain contact with both of these extraordinary men throughout my adult life. I knew when I came home that summer after camp was over that would do whatever I needed to do to come back every summer I that I could. (Which I did as a camper until I graduated from High School. The summer I graduated I could not come to camp as I was marching with the Santa Clara Vanguard drum and bugle corps. After that summer I would be involved with camp as a counselor, guest conductor, instructor, camp director, and camp parent once my own kids were old enough to come to camp)
What is your favorite memory at NAU Curry Summer Music Camp? Accordion Closed
My first year I auditioned into the “GOLD BAND” back then there were five bands each session. I was dumbfounded by the number of great players that were going to put on a concert in ONLY TWO WEEKS, and the experience of just being on the beautiful NAU campus, it was all overwhelming. A concert in only two weeks was waaaaaay outside my wheel house. I was used to performing in a concert once a semester. I could not believe it was going to happen, and I was just as amazed when it DID happen. As I said my first music camp conductor was Randy Wright. Mr. Wright was also a tuba player, which of course made him extra cool, AND he wrote and arrangement of the main theme to Star Wars for us to play (which had been released the year before and was the absolute coolest tune on the planet). The idea that he could just write it out for us stuck with me all of these years.
Other thoughts or memories you would like to share? Accordion Closed
Twelve years later as a young band director I was asked to be a camp conductor for the first time. I conducted the “GOLD BAND” and many of the teachers who had been there all those years I was a camper were still there as mentors and helped me through my first summer as a camp teacher. It was SCARY, having coffee in the teacher’s lounge (which was a couple of sofas set up in a hallway with a 50 cup coffee maker) with Joe Lloyd, Tom O’Kelley, Paul Grimes, Bob Godfrey, Bucky Steel, Dr. Curry, Bernard Curry, and Dr. Wolf (just to name a few) was terrifying. However, I probably learned more that summer than any other time in my career. Those folks, among many others associated with camp, would remain mentors to me throughout my career. Since then I have held many positions at camp in every case it was successful because of the remarkable people on faculty and a rewarding experience because of the amazing students.
Do you still know people you attended Curry with as a student? Accordion Closed
Yes, both professionally and personally.