By Don Toothaker
The Haverhill Gazette
---- — We all have dreams. It’s never too early or too late to invest in yourself.
I was reminded of this lesson last week, watching my daughter and other young kids stand on stage and sing for an audience of strangers. Their giant step of self confidence reminded me that even at 48, I can still chase any of my dreams with passion and bravery. Anyone can. Everyone should.
Summertime for children is full of friends and fun. As parents, we seek to keep our kids busy and entertained, but too often the choices seem repetitive and lackluster. Summer camps are popular, but finding something different is not always easy. This year, my 11-year-old daughter, Demsey, chose to attend a very unique camp in Haverhill. She wanted to spend her week at Pop Camp with DeAngelis Studio of Music in Lafayette Square. The camp is designed to teach kids about being musical pop stars, but in reality this camp is about more than just music.
At the start of camp, each child was told to choose a song they wished to perform for the grand finale at week’s end: A concert for parents, family and friends. During the week, the kids learned about stage presence, microphone techniques, voice and pitch control, audience interaction and living a healthy lifestyle. They rehearsed every day under the trained tutelage of camp leaders Joshua, Tim and Letriah. Each afternoon, Demsey came home bursting with enthusiasm and news from her day. Her excitement, confidence and motivation could not be contained. That alone made the camp a success. However, the concert revealed so much more.
Demsey is musically inclined. She constantly sings at home, dances, plays the piano, flute, and guitar, and dreams of being the next Taylor Swift. Part of that dream became a reality at Pop Camp.
Watching my daughter perform for the first time ever in front of 30 strangers, on a professionally lit stage with professional equipment and sound, was amazing. More importantly, watching and hearing my daughter sing with such poise and emotion will be something I never forget. She and every other child stood on stage and sang with bravery and commitment. They conquered their fears and lived out a part of their dream. In doing so, they faced a lofty challenge that even adults can be intimidated by. They built self esteem and gained confidence to accomplish any dream they set their mind to.
I am hard pressed to think of anything better for children. I am hard pressed to think of anything better for any of us. Pop Camp is about much more than just music.
Don’t just dream it. Do it.
Email suggestions of Haverhill people and places to photograph to Don Toothaker at email@example.com.