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Camping Out at the Kimmel

July 28, 2011 By:
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Two oboes and a bassoon: Oboists Michele Ozer (left) and Hannah Cohen flank bassoonist Dreya Cherry. Photo by Dafni Comerota

Give these girls some oboe room; they need it to showcase their considerable musical talent.

Oboists Michele Ozer, 18, and Hannah Cohen, 14, will get just that this Friday at noon, performing along with three-score other musicians especially selected for the Kimmel Center's ninth annual Teen Summer Arts Chamber Music Camp.

Seventy-six trombones have nothing on the 62 instruments about to sound off in concert at the center's Perelman Theater.

No marshmallows here -- all topnotch students selected for this prestigious camp version of musical first-chairs, and all on full scholarships, one of a four-part harmony of camp events offered by the center's education department.

Of course, some others could use a lesson or two on what they're playing. Oboe? Isn't that a "skinny clarinet," Ozer the oboist has heard of her choice of instrument.

No confusion why they were chosen, or what makes the July 29 concert of key interest to those interested in the future of Philadelphia music-making or, for that matter, music education.

Those assembled for the intensive two-week camp have been offered sound advice by prominent professionals to go along with considerable training.

Upbeat and up on stage: With an age range from 14-18, the teens are teaming with talent -- and ready for some harmonic convergence at the Kimmel Center.

Which brings one to Dreya Cherry, 14. The ninth grader at Souderton Area High School in Harleysville knows from harmonics -- and harmonicas: Her late grandfather, Stan Shlusberg, played harmonica "and was a big influence."

Not that Dreya cupped the harmonica herself; she chose the bassoon as her instrument, switching from the sax a handful of years ago.

Her parents, Debra and Russell, "have taken it as a serious step" in what she would like to do with her future, says Dreya of winning her audition and scholarship to the Kimmel camp.

She's impressed others, too, playing bassoon with the choir on occasion at her synagogue, Temple Brith Achim in King of Prussia.

And Klezmer, Too

And assaying "What I Did on My Summer Vacation" won't be limited to a description of her Kimmel experience; earlier this summer, Dreya took part in a klezmer camp, performing as part of a quartet.

This musical trio of talents -- both Dreya and Ozer are second-time Kimmel participants -- are used to the spotlight and having family and friends in their camp: Ozer, a graduate of J.R. Masterman High School in Philadelphia, on her way to the University of Pennsylvania, has taken part providing music at High Holiday services at her temple, Congregation Rodeph Shalom, while Cheltenham High School 10th-grader Hannah, like her fellow oboist, studies at Settlement Music School.

As they settle in for Friday's concert, joining the other teens, should "America's Got Talent" be holding a spot open? Dreya just laughs, then reconsiders.

"Maybe," she says with a note of hope in her voice.

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