Camp Description

Summer Camp 2018

July 30 - Aug 4

Welcome to the DUSS summer camp!  We offer a concentrated 6 days of music study and fun on the beautiful campus of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Durham.  Activities include: large ensembles, small chamber music groups, solo performances, theory games, sight reading classes, viola for violinists, and outdoor activities.

Summer camps are mixed age, generally starting with students age 6 to 18.  We typically accept up to 50 students, and these are divided into 4-5 general levels of playing within our two larger groups: 

- Violin and Cello Choirs: For more information about this level, please see the descriptions of the Violin Choir I, II and III and Cello Choir choir on our ensemble web page here.

- Summer Chamber Orchestra:  For more information about this level, please see the description of the Intermediate String Orchestra and Concert String Orchestra here. 

The camp is staffed by Duke University String School faculty who are assisted by our advanced high school students, called "Teen Volunteers".  We accept current DUSS students in the Violin Choir I through the Concert String Orchestra levels.  We also welcome visiting students to audition to participate.  (See below for audition information.) 

Please note: Students are assigned to ensembles based on ability level, not age.

Music will be handed out on the first day of camp and also will be available online before camp for students to prepare.  Each student should prepare one solo piece to play in a masterclass or during ensembles during the week.

Parents are asked to walk their students into the main parish hall at St. Stephen's where we will gather and finish each day.  Parents also must come into the building to pick up their campers at the end of the day.  You may drop off your child as early as 8:30am for camp, but no earlier as there may not be a supervising adult present.

The teachers have no office space at St. Stephen’s, and they will leave soon after 3:00, so please pick up your children on time!  We offer additional supervision from 3-5pm for each day.

Our Camp Concert will take place at 3:30pm on Saturday, August 4 in the beautiful sanctuary at St. Stephen’s.  Campers will wear their camp t-shirt for the concert.

Earlier that day we will have a theory bee, solo piece masterclass, instrument petting zoo, and pizza party to celebrate the end of camp.

Early Registration ends May 5th.  After May 5th, a $25 late fee will apply.


Frequently Asked Questions

Q- What are the audition requirements?

A- Students currently in a DUSS ensemble do not audition.

Students not currently participating in DUSS ensembles: please send a cell phone video audition to, containing a scale and a solo piece.  Please refer to the audition requirements for our ensembles listed here.  The due date for video auditions is April 5.  Early submissions are welcome and encouraged for fast feedback!

Q- Are scholarships available if our family can't afford the camp?

 A- Yes, we will have limited financial aid assistance.

Q- We can't come to the whole camp, but want to come for part of it.  Is this possible?

A- Unfortunately, no.  We need to rely on students being at the camp from the beginning to the end, as all students will be placed in "chamber music groups," and if one student isn't participating for part of the camp, that leaves the rest of the group in a lurch.  Exceptions may be made for students that need to miss 1 day for special purposes.

Q- What are "Teen Volunteers"

A- We typically have 5-10 dedicated high school-aged students who are members of the Youth Symphony and who help by playing in ensembles, with snack setup/cleanup, with outdoor games, and with other general needs.  These volunteers also have some chamber music performance opportunities, but they do not pay any fee for camp. Teen Volunteers can also use camp involvement for community service hours. Talk to your teacher to see if you are a good candidate to be a Teen Volunteer this summer. We love our Teen Volunteers!