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Talented Clinton Teens Return for Music Camp at Mississippi College

MC incoming freshman Gabi Jones of Clinton is attending her 7th MC summer music camp.
MC incoming freshman Gabi Jones of Clinton is attending her 7th MC summer music camp.

Gabi Jones never tires of summer music camp at Mississippi College.

For Gabi and scores of other campers, the five-day residential experience creates lasting friendships and helps students enhance their musical skills. In late June, campers receive taste of life at the Christian university. In-between classes and talent shows, they find time for fun on the Clinton campus.

The Music Department’s camp remains popular with Clinton residents like Gabi. It’s also a hit with more than 40 campers from cities across Mississippi and nearby states.

Gabi’s singing voice isn’t her only gift. The talented Clintonian also dabbles in piano, ukulele and digital composition. She can’t wait for the 2018 MC Music Camp to begin. The program runs June 24-29.

“Music Camp has been unlike anything else for me,” Gabi says. She will attend for the 7th time.

“Speaking of people who care, I have met the most incredible forever-friends here,” says the 18-year-old incoming Mississippi College freshman.

In recent years, Gabi carved out wonderful friendships with campers like Zandry Bullock and Iggy Lueck. “They’ve boosted camp in ways I can’t explain. We continue to hang out and make music on a weekly basis.”

No doubt, she will make more friends in late June. The camp is geared to students in grades 7-12.

On the Clinton campus, students learn from an all-star lineup of professors – from Music Department Chair Angela Willoughby to Mark Nabholz, conductor of the MC Singers. Professor Robert Knupp, the camp’s director, serves as the organist at Galloway Memorial United Methodist Church in Jackson.

“The ability to work with the professors is so vital to the entire experience,” Jones said.

It made her decision to enroll as an MC freshman much easier. “I know I’m more comfortable continuing with them not only as teachers, but as people. They care.”

Starting in late August, Gabi plans to focus on MC music classes and step up her skills in vocal performance. “In terms of career plans…I’ll figure that out as I go.”

Knupp knows one music camper very well. His daughter, Kathryn Knupp, will attend once again.

It’s win-win for the professor in the Aven Fine Arts Building, and his daughter.

“Kathryn likes the interaction with other campers. She enjoys the fun activities like the tacky dance and talent show along with singing in the choir,” Knupp said. “She looks at it like a college preview- living in a dorm, taking classes and eating in the school cafeteria.”

The Clinton campus remains familiar turf for Gabi Jones. She grew up in a Blue & Gold family. Gabi is the daughter of Missy Jones, an MC history instructor. Her dad, Paul Jones, becomes senior pastor at Crossgates United Methodist Church in Brandon on July 1. Her parents are MC graduates.

Others with Mississippi College ties are signed up. MC art professor Albert Smathers of Raymond is sending his daughter, Sienna. Isabel Lueck, a longtime camper from Clinton, will return. A violinist, Isabel takes lessons from Emily Williams, an MC music instructor.

Art lessons, an a capella pop vocal group, instrumental improvisation and worship technologies are new additions to enrich activities at the 2018 music camp.