Signature Music Camp

Dick Ford leads students through a sight reading class during Signature Music Camp.

Dick Ford leads students through a sight reading class during Signature Music Camp.

The next generation of student-musicians spent part of their summer on campus attending the prestigious Signature Music Camp. Students interested in pursuing higher education and a career in music came to OCC from as close as Central New York and as far away as California.

Camp attendees received training in both small and large groups. High school-aged students participated in a two-week session, and middle school-aged students enrolled in a one-week program. The entire staff was made up of former campers, several of whom now teach music in public schools. Instruction was based in the new Academic II building anchored by the College’s Music program. The structure spans a nearly 60-feet high gorge and contains a 150-seat recital hall, an instrument and choral rehearsal room, practice rooms, and smart classrooms. Campers lived in the College’s modern, air-conditioned residence halls.

“Coming here was a great way to grow musically,” said Molly Ross, a high school sophomore from Danbury, Connecticut. “You were surrounded by people who were as excited about music as you. It was a wonderful experience!”

Liam Lipsky, a senior from Tully High School, attended his fifth Signature Music Camp this summer. “I enjoy coming every year and meeting new people. Everyone wants to be your friend. We all have great relationships with each other. It’s a fun time and a great environment.”

The OCC campus and Academic II building were very popular with students. “It was really amazing here. We were all so excited to be here and see the facilities. It’s a beautiful building and college,” said Sarah Meemken, a junior at Averill Park High School in the Albany area.

Signature Music Camp was founded by Dick Ford, a former school superintendent who opened a music studio on Syracuse’s Near West Side to help local high school students. In the camp’s 22 years, more than 300 alumni have pursued music in college, and many are now teaching music throughout the country.

“Onondaga Community College is highly respected in New York State by music educators,” said Ford. “The College’s Music program has a long history of educating students and preparing them for transfer to outstanding schools like SUNY Potsdam, SUNY Fredonia, Ithaca College, and Syracuse University, where they can pursue a baccalaureate degree. With its new Academic II building, OCC is now a showcase for students and parents considering a high quality, undergraduate education.”

More information on Signature Music Camp is available at or by calling (315) 478-7840.

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