Band Camp Movie JacketThe movie American Pie has produced a stereotypical version of band camp that while funny is far from realistic. This article attempts to set things straight.

{mosimage} The popular movie series American Pie has brought about many interesting catch phrases, foremost among them being, "One time, at band camp!" Contrary to the frivolous (and physically disturbing) things that happen in the movie American Pie , band camp for the majority of schools across the nation is much less outrageous. In fact, for the vast majority of music students the American Pie band camp scenario could not be further from the truth. This article will attempt to disperse some of the more crazy ideas and bring things into a more realistic perspective as to the differences between American Pie's band camp and the real thing.

Interlochen Fine Arts Camp- The Ultimate Band Camp

In American Pie, the running "one time at band camp" gag takes place at what is essentially a full time, residential music summer camp. These kinds of camps do indeed exist, the most famous being the summer arts programs at the Interlochen Center For The Arts in Interlochen, Michigan. This legendary school has been putting on some of the most well known and respected summer music and band camp programs for nearly 2000 summer campers and 450 fine arts boarding high school students. Graduates of the Interlochen program have gone on to become highly successful musicians and media broadcasters such as Mike Wallace of 60 Minutes and Chip Davis of Mannheim Steamroller.

Local Band Camps- The More Common Band Camp Option

In a majority of communities across the United States the local school systems have some form of marching band program. Whether that program is involved with parade marching, field marching, or both, most programs attempt to hold some form of band camp during the summer months, and these camps look very little like the stereotypical American Pie band camp .

A traditional high school band camp can take many forms. In most cases bands will get their members together for several one day rehearsals throughout June and July, ending with an intensive week long rehearsal where the group hones their music and their marching drill in preparation for the coming marching band season. While most of these camps are day camps only, some schools go the extra mile and move the entire ensemble to separate, housing provided, facility so they can completely immerse themselves in the music and camaraderie without any outside distractions. It is from these very intense team building activities that the American Pie band camp ideas come from. While the more colorful anecdotes of the movie may make for funny and interesting television, the truth is that band camps are simply a method for musicians and directors to work together to produce better musicians and better performances for all of us to enjoy.

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