Dozens of local students attend prestigious music camp through FOX4’s Band of Angels

LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Dollars shouldn't stop anyone from making music: That, in a nutshell, is the mission behind FOX4's Band of Angels, which helped send a large group of students to a prestigious music camp right here in the metro.

Campers at the Midwestern Music Camp have been turning out tunes for more than 80 years. Directors said it's the second-oldest music camp in the nation, and it takes place in Lawrence.

On Friday, camp concluded with a concert that included several of the high school musicians sponsored by FOX4's Band of Angels.

Camp directors said the nonprofit -- a partnership between FOX4 and Meyer Music that also collects old instruments and donates them to kids once they're refurbished -- sent as many as three dozen students to Lawrence.

De Soto High's Morgan Cravens and her french horn and recent Leavenworth High graduate Joshua Rivera and his saxophone are among the campers who had their $700 camp fees paid for free.

"It's nothing but hard work. That's why I love this camp," Rivera said. "They push you."

"It means a lot knowing I have all these great professors here I can email or text anytime I want and they'll answer," Cravens said. "They're very personable. It's an amazing camp."

Camp director Matt Smith is also second in command of bands at the University of Kansas.

"For a lot of us, we don't even know who the Band of Angels campers are," he said. "They're not singled out or identified separately. They're just campers to us. It's just an opportunity for these students who may not have the resources to attend a camp like this."

It`s ironic the camp is on a college campus. Cravens and Rivera are among the campers who are planning to pursue a music degree after high school. They say this camp convinced them they`re on the right track.