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      Young musicians and their teachers get ready to perform

      Young musicians and teachers are practicing for a weekend of performances. The dedicated musicians are taking part in the Superior String Alliance Presto Camp this week in Little Lake. The 27 middle school musicians play violin, viola, cello and bass and come from across the Upper Peninsula, Wisconsin and Illinois.

      This is the fourth year of camp for 10-year-old violinist Bella Chiodi of Marquette.

      "It teaches you to play with an orchestra if you have not before and with other groups, and it's just fun ," said Chiodi.

      Danielle Simandl, a Marquette native who is pursuing a masters of fine arts in violin performance, conducts the SSA orchestras. She said they rehearse as a large group twice a day, and the kids spend other time in private lessons and small group rehearsals.

      "They're playing their instruments a good four to five hours every day, which is probably a lot for them and not usually what they do, but we also get a lot of work done in one week's time," said Simandl.

      The week-long camp wraps up Friday night with a concert.

      "I think the concert is going to be very exciting because there's a lot of exciting music. A couple of the pieces are Batman-Main Theme and Ocean Storm," Chiodi said.

      The musicians will also perform a brand new piece of music that was written just for this group.

      "We have a composer that wrote a piece specifically for these campers called 'Catching the Light,' and it's based on the energy of the camp that was described to him. The orchestra will be premiering the piece, and they're the first people to ever play the music for other people live," Simandl said.

      The concert begins at 7 p.m. on Friday night at the U.P. Bible Camp's Woodland Campus, formerly known as the Page Center, off of M-35 in Little Lake. Admission is free. On Saturday night, the camp's fourteen faculty members will be performing in Marquette.

      "This camp is staffed by a lot of people who are professional musicians, and everyone here loves to not only play their instrument, but to teach younger generations how to play their instruments and also love their instruments just as much," Simandl said.

      Saturday's recital is at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Marquette, beginning at 7 p.m. Free-will donations will be accepted for the camp's scholarship fund. For more information on SSA, visit their Facebook page.