FAIRMONT, W.Va. – Marion County students are expanding their artistic, musical and theatrical abilities in summer school.  

The county’s SOAR summer school program has partnered with Fairmont State University to teach middle school students about creative arts.  

Students at Fairmont State during SOAR summer camp (WBOY Image)

For three weeks, the students are bussed to Fairmont State’s campus for a different lesson in the creative arts field. 

During the second week of the program, nearly 30 students were introduced to different kinds of instruments and styles of music and watched a performance by the Black Diamond Philharmonics.  

Leigh Anne Riley, Fairmont State’s performing arts program director, said some of the students have never been to a theater because their school doesn’t offer it, so this is a way to expose them to the creative arts.  

“They’ll probably be getting to see instruments play that they have maybe never seen outside of a textbook. So, the instrumentalist will be talking about their instrument and maybe how long they’ve studied on that instrument and what their experience has been. So, that I think is going to be really exciting for them just being able to see a professional organization performing for them and getting to see instruments in-person,” Riley said.  

The program also shows the students what Fairmont State can offer in extracurricular activities if they want to peruse them.

“Trying to get them exposed to it and excited about it young usually piques interest for life if they’re going to have it. So, a lot of the repertoire that we’re going to play today with the quartet I’m hoping is going to be something that is going to be exciting and kind of make them more interested in learning more about music,” Alyssa Schwartz, Fairmont State’s Director of bands said.  

The first week featured lessons in the theater. The last week of the program will wrap up with an arts lesson.