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Students attending Lakeland College's 59th annual Music Camp have the unique opportunity to perform the world premiere of a piece specially commissioned for Lakeland's camp.

Composer Kimberly Archer (kimberlyarcher.com), associate professor of composition at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, has been working with students this week and helping them learn her original piece, "Irish Blessing." The piece was commissioned by Chris Werner, director of Lakeland's Music Camp and the college's assistant professor of instrumental music.

The work will be performed as part of the camp's final concert on Saturday, Aug. 1, beginning at 11 a.m. in Lakeland's Wehr Center Fieldhouse. Werner will conduct.

"I've worked with her pieces many times, but this is the shortest amount of time I've had to prepare myself and the players for a world premiere, so this is unique," Werner said. "Not only had the students not seen this music, but it's brand new. There is a coolness and pressure to having the composer in the room."

"Irish Blessing" is written for a full band, orchestra strings and voices. More than 200 students will perform. The concert will also include a group performance of "America the Beautiful," and Archer will speak about her piece.

Archer's original work and her residency during the camp are funded by a grant from the Kohler Foundation, Inc.

Archer wrote of her piece, "Having attended and enjoyed many such camps in my own youth, I wanted to offer a concert culmination of joyful song using an Irish blessing – preferably one that actually references the Irish's great love of music."

Lakeland's Music Camp, which this year runs from July 26-Aug. 1, provides band, choir, orchestra and piano instruction for high school and middle school musicians. Learn more at Lakeland.edu/musiccamp.

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