It began because students in Marlboro just wanted more opportunities to hone their skills in the arts—and now VoiceWorks is bringing its knowledge about musical theater to Bridgewater with Camp Triple Threat.
VoiceWorks Managing and Artistic Director Ryan Guth brought his team to Tuesday to host a master class with students interested in learning about the world of musical theater.
"I started this in Marlboro in 2009 because of a lack of high school arts programs," said Guth, who teaches sixth through eighth grade music there. "A lot of kids are academic, but many went to high school and said they didn't have room in their schedules for music."
In response to that, Guth created the program, and, in 2010, he held his first intensive musical theater camp to coach campers in audition skills, singing, acting and dancing.
"It was a great success, and, after last year, we decided to expand to Bridgewater," he said.
Also part of the VoiceWorks team are Laura Cantwell, director of camps; Joan Aniano, head choreographer; Aaron Lenhart, director of musical theater; and John Wilson, musical director, and vocal teacher at .
Guth said he attended Westminster with Wilson, and they discussed bringing the program to Bridgewater.
"I have been friends with John, and I know there is a great deal of respect for the arts in Bridgewater," Guth said.
VoiceWorks began bringing its classes to Bridgewater in February, renting space at the , on Washington Valley Road, where the teachers work with students in musical theater.
And so, Guth said, he brought some of his Bridgewater students from those classes to a master class at the middle school, to share the kinds of skills taught in the camp.
Guth said the organization offers voice lessons, but there is a unique experience because students are learning how to interpret pieces and actually act them.
"It is so they can move an audience," he said. "A lot of kids came in in February with the raw talent."
Guth said they work with students both with dreams of being professional performers and who like musical theater as a hobby.
But, Guth said, they bring in professionals to work with all the students.
"There are current working actors and singers who come to Bridgewater for the camp program," he said. "There are friends I've made along the way who hear about the camp."
So the students, Guth said, are learning from professionals in the musical theater world.
"It is real working people, and it's exciting because we keep everything current and fresh," he said. "They are interested in the program and want to come to the class."
Guth said they work mainly with incoming sixth through 12th graders, and the camp itself is limited to about 20 to 25 students so as to provide individual attention to each.
And other lessons include teaching about makeup and costuming to show that there are other opportunities in the arts, although the focus is on performing.
"We want kids to realize that what they see on television and what happens in musical theater are two different things," Guth said. "It is not enough to just be a singer."
For more information, or to sign up for the camp that is first come first serve, visit the website at VoiceWorksNJ.com, or call 908-248-4884.