Raven-less but lively nonetheless

June 28, 2011

The undergraduate students are gone and NFL contract difficulties are keeping the Ravens from their summer roost, but McDaniel’s hilltop campus is far from dull. With 1,500 graduate students enrolled in summer classes, 12 high school graduations and 40 camps, the fields, dorms and newly renovated dining hall are brimming with people.

Senior Music Lecturer Linda Kirkpatrick’s renowned music camp, June 26-July 2, draws seventh- through 12th-grade musicians from all over the East Coast and beyond. Many of the music campers catch their first glimpse of McDaniel while immersing in the sounds of their instrument and learning to play a new one.

It’s not unusual for these young musicians to decide to attend the college based on their experience during music camp, says Kirkpatrick, who has overseen the camp since its beginnings 26 years ago.

“You can make a great impression at a very young age,” she says. “They say they want to come back and continue with their music, whether it’s their major or not.”

As the final notes of music camp ring out from Levine Hall, the nearly 400 Common Ground on the Hill first-session participants start to unpack their dulcimers, bagpipes, banjos, craft beads, pottery tools and dancing shoes – ready to plunge into an unparalleled exploration of cultural diversity and quest for common ground among people of all ages, cultures, beliefs, races and genders.

More than 100 instructors leave their workshops and studios in Iceland, France, Ireland, Scotland and all over the U.S. to share their skills, talents and wisdom in traditional arts and the perspective-broadening, uncommon thinking for which Common Ground is known.

The two Common Ground sessions (July 3-8 and July 10-15), with a total of about 800 participants, flank the July 9-10 Roots Music and Arts Festival which draws thousands to the nearby historic Carroll County Farm Museum and features Grammy-winner Buckwheat Zydeco, Jesse McReynolds with Professor Louie & The Crowmatix, The Burns Sisters, Guy Davis, Craobh Rua, Footworks, Sankofa Dance Theater, Walt Michael & Co., Scott Ainslie, Lea Gilmore and more.

The D.C. College Success Foundation’s newest class of Achievers – nearly 300 D.C. rising high school seniors – will take classes on campus and participate in Common Ground on the Hill as part of a summer academic enrichment program that garners each of the participants two college credits.

At any point during the summer, a walk across campus may be punctuated with the melodic sounds of the Maryland State Boychoir or the rhythmic cadence of the Civil Air Patrol. Cheerleaders, hoopsters, lacrosse players, church parishioners, tennis and soccer players, swimmers and parents of McDaniel’s incoming Class of 2015 may mix and mingle over dining-hall fare or during an impromptu jam session on Memorial Plaza, dubbed Red Square by McDaniel students. It’s summer on the Hill. And things are hoppin’.