Summer Harmony Camp began in 1998 under the leadership of noted barbershop arranger, Dr. Val Hicks, who was serving as the Rocky Mountain District Vice President of Young Men In Harmony at the time. Dr. Hicks was literally one of the founders of Youth Outreach in the Barbershop Harmony Society, back in the 1960’s (known then as the “Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America”…SPEBSQSA). He held the camp in Grand Junction at Mesa State College in 1998 and 1999, and then he nominated Tony Pranaitis as his replacement for YMIH VP, as Dr. Hicks sought to retire from the position. Tony was elected to replace Dr. Hicks, and in 2000 moved the Camp to the Estes Park YMCA after negotiating a mutually beneficial contract. Darin Drown (baritone “Storm Front” quartet, director of “Sound of the Rockies” chorus) served as clinician for camps at Mesa State and the early years at the Estes Park YMCA. (Tony also promoted the idea of Summer Harmony Camps in southern and western areas of the District…and one Camp in New Mexico now occurs annually, and Utah now has an annual Festival).
The boys Summer Harmony Camp is sponsored by Denver Youth in Harmony, a collaboration of the Denver MountainAires and Denver Mile High barbershop chapters, and Harmony Foundation, which sponsors youth barbershop camps and festivals across the country. Visit www.HarmonyFoundation.org for more information, or to contribute.
The girls Camp began in 2002 when Region 8 of Sweet Adelines International became a co-sponsor of Summer Harmony Camp. Mel Horgan was serving as the Young Women In Harmony leader for Region 8 Sweet Adelines, and initiated the opportunity for girls to come to Summer Harmony Camp.
Many notable clinicians and quartets have served at Summer Harmony Camp, inspiring young people with the love of barbershop harmony, and after over a decade of Camps, some of our Camp ALUMNI have returned to serve as staff and clinicians! All of these generous supporters have donated their time and talent for the benefit of the young singers who attend.