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Denver Adult Strings Camp (DASC) started as just an idea in the spring of 2021. DASC Director, Sarah Jylkka, had grown up a violinist and converted her love of music into a profession in music education. As many musicians experience, she found herself chatting about her instrument with everyone from coworkers to friends to strangers over the years and a common theme emerged. Most folks heard that she played an instrument professionally and wanted to share that they too had played an instrument at some point in their lives. Not only did they used to play, but most also expressed regret that they no longer played their instrument or hope that one day they would get to play again. After a tumultuous year and a half following the initial COVID-19 pandemic, creating a program for intermediate adult string players seemed like a great way to spread joy and inspire much needed community. With a background in camp counseling and teaching and an amazing network of friends and colleagues to draw upon who were incredible musicians and teachers in their own right, DASC came into existence.
The first DASC session was held near Washington Park in Denver, CO during the summer of 2021. The expectation was that 12, maybe 15 players would sign up. If they got really lucky, maybe 20 people would want to participate in the program. With just two months of advertising, registration numbers kept climbing and the session started with over 50 participants. Over the next three weeks, many things took place: coaches dispensed valuable information and bonded with their groups, adults who hadn't played their instruments in 5, 10, 30 years were able to make music again, friendships were made, an orchestra was formed, and over 50 people from all generations, backgrounds, and skill levels came together to make music. Today, DASC has held 5 successful sessions and is poised to begin expanding programs into other states across the country. We have served over 140 Colorado residents and performed for over 800 friends and family members in Colorado and around the world via our live streamed concerts. Our membership continues to grow and the program scope continues to evolve with our members. Even as our community expands, our goal to come together in an encouraging, fun, and educational environment will always remain.
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