4H buskers raise nearly $1,000 for scholarships

Lilly Simpler plays banjo. Cordova 4H Music Camp brought young musicians to perform around town on Friday, July 19, 2019. Photo by Zachary Snowdon Smith/The Cordova Times

An afternoon of streetside performances by Cordova 4H Music Camp students raised almost $1,000 for camp scholarships. The Bands Around Town event had 114 students playing in Cordova on Friday, July 19.

The event helps students overcome stage fright ahead of their Friday-evening final performance, said Amy O’Neill Houck, board member for the music camp.

From left: Isla Haisman and Shiloh Wolfe play bass at the Cordova post office. Cordova 4H Music Camp brought young musicians to perform around town on Friday, July 19, 2019. Photo by Zachary Snowdon Smith/The Cordova Times

“They get over some of the fear of performance,” Houck said. “It’s in this festive, low-stakes environment. It’s comfortable. It’s their town, not on a stage … but putting out their hat or their instrument case makes them feel like they’re busking like real musicians.”

Students played in front of the Baja Taco restaurant, the Cordova Center, the post office and other central locations, taking donations from passersby.

Kilinahe Agres leads a group of children in an ukulele performance near the Baja Taco restaurant. Cordova 4H Music Camp brought young musicians to perform around town on Friday, July 19, 2019. Photo by Zachary Snowdon Smith/The Cordova Times

Though students spend the week at camp receiving individual instruction on instruments such as the guitar, ukulele and bass, band activities are less about technical perfection than about acclimating students to collaborating with other musicians. As part of a band, students chose the setlists they played during the Bands Around Town event. Material varied from gospel and folk standards to Beatles tunes.

“The point of the band isn’t necessarily to showcase the top skill of all of its members,” Houck said. “The point of the band is to practice being a band, which means working together and listening to each other and making decisions together.”

A successful Bands Around Town event was facilitated by clear weather. In previous years, students have performed in heavy rain, Houck said.

Elizabeth Baenen plays guitar at the Wells Fargo Bank. Cordova 4H Music Camp brought young musicians to perform around town on Friday, July 19, 2019. Photo by Zachary Snowdon Smith/The Cordova Times
Hasan Bowman plays guitar at the Baja Taco restaurant. Cordova 4H Music Camp brought young musicians to perform around town on Friday, July 19, 2019. Photo by Zachary Snowdon Smith/The Cordova Times