School of Music

Summer Camp FAQs

January, 2020

Registration begins each year on February 1 at 9 a.m. Before that time, you can see the registration page, but it will not go live until 9 a.m. on February 1. Registration continues until each camp starts, but some sections fill very early, even on the first day. So please register early.

Click here to register: Registration Page

Once your registration has been accepted, and you know there is a spot for your camper, a deposit must be made within 7 days of your registration. Please register only if you fully intend to attend. 

Deposit amount: $100, non-refundable within one week of acceptance. While we are happy to accept credit cards, sending a check will save us the merchant fees. However, it's your choice.

  • 1. Mail checks to: USM School of Music, Attn: Summer Camps, 37 College Avenue, Gorham, ME 04038
  • 2. Click here to make online credit card payments.  
  • 3. Once your camper has been accepted, you will be asked to complete the Medical and Consent Forms, sign and send them back early, preferably by regular mail. Please, do this early. 

Mailing address for checks and medical/consent forms: USM School of Music, Attn: Summer Camps, 37 College Ave., Gorham, ME 04038, but only after your spot has been confirmed. 

Write to me if you have questions:

Best wishes,


Scholarship Information - While the University does not offer scholarships for our summer camps, we are most grateful for the many middle and high school music booster clubs that do provide them. Supporting your local clubs throughout the year can help many students come to a variety of summer camps. Inquire with your local boosters to see what might be available for your camper. Thank you for supporting your local school's music and arts boosters clubs as they have already helped many students attend summer camps. 

Also, from time to time we are notified of a scholarship opportunity that we are happy to post here. 

The Sean O'Blenis Memorial Scholarship was created to assist two students from York or Cumberland Counties to attend summer camp at USM, one for Junior Music Academy and one for Music Academy. Applicants should already be accepted to camp. To apply, please request an application from the donor at:

  • Be between 11 and 15 years old, as of April 30, 2020.
  • Be a full time Maine resident.
  • Submit a completed application form (and all supporting documents) by April 30, 2020.
  • Show a financial need for the scholarship; total family income may not exceed $100,000.
  • Have submitted an application to attend the camp and notified them that you are applying for a campership through our program.
  • Payment is made directly to the camp by the Maine Community Foundation once campers have been chosen by the selection committee and all paperwork has been submitted.



Other Frequently Asked Questions

The following are frequently asked questions that may be helpful to you. If one parent has unanswered questions, then surely others do as well, so please feel free to send me questions that are not yet on this page. I hope you find this helpful, and that your camper has the best summer musical or theatrical experience ever.

Best wishes,
Lori Arsenault
Performing Arts Operations and Concert Manager (retired!)
Summer Camp Coordinator
USM School of Music
(207) 780-5142


New for 2020 - Housing for Overnight Campers

The overnight camps will be housed in Upton Hastings Hall this year. This is the building across the drive from Corthell Hall on the way to the Dining Hall. More information will be provided here to help you choose your roommates. We will do our best to accommodate requests. 


Where do we check in on the first day of camp this year?

DIRECTIONS TO CHECK IN, CLICK HERE -->> - Each camp is a little different, but you'll find that information on this one page along with pictures of each campus area. (this will be updated for 2020 with pictures of Upton Hastings.


Summer Construction on Campus

Summer time is when our Facilities Management Team upgrades our campus buildings. This year, the big project will renovate Bailey Hall, across the street from Corthell, so there will be a lot of construction activity over there. The Dining Hall is completely new and beautiful this year. 


What dorm will the overnight camps stay in?

This year we will be in Upton-Hastings. That's the one on the way from Corthell Hall to the Dining Hall. We believe at this time that there are two students to each room. We'll keep you posted on that. Campers may bring a fan to use in the dorm rooms.


Can the these camps accommodate issues of food or other sensitivities, or other disabilities?

Yes, for food sensitivity, on the first day of each overnight camp, campers are welcome to meet the kitchen staff before the first meal in our newly renovated dining hall to find out how to navigate the food choices. In the case of severe food allergies, dining hall personnel are willing to meet you in advance to accommodate special dietary needs. Please contact us to make early arrangements. 

If you have questions about disability access or need to request disability accommodations (e.g. sign language interpreters,materials in electronic format, etc.), please contact the USM Music Box Office,(207) 780-5555,, TTY 711 (Maine Relay). Requests should be made as soon as possible to allow sufficient time for the accommodation process.  


When sections are filling up, will I find out immediately if there is an opening? 

No, the answer may not be immediate, especially in the first month when most of the registrations come in. If it were an immediate automated system and a section filled, you'd just get a computerized reply saying that there are no spaces available. We decided that summer camp is just too important, and registration needs to be done person by person, name by name. First, all registrations before yours are processed, and rosters are checked and double checked. Then, if a section is filled, before offering you the opportunity to be on a waiting list we try to figure out a way to get you in. Thank you for your patience during this process. 


What should I prepare for my audition?

Right after registration, participants in Music Academy, Choral Music Academy and Junior Music Academy will perform an audition for seating assignments. Each camp has different requirements. Please go back to each camp's page for this information. 


Where can I send a care package to my camper?

Send to:
Camper's Name (add SMTA, SMYBDC, SoMMA, SMCMA or SMJMA)
c/o USM School of Music
USM Summer Youth Music and Theatre Camps
37 College Avenue
Gorham, ME 04038.


What should my camper pack for camp?

That is different for each camp and it's listed in each of the "Parent/Camper Letters." Here are last year's letters that you can see as a sample. 

2019 Parent and Camper Letters (sample these to understand 2020 information)

Southern Maine Theatre Academy (SMTA)
Letter to SMTA Campers including Daily Schedule

Southern Maine Youth Band Day Camp (SMYBDC)
Letter to SMYBDC Campers
SMYBDC Daily Schedule

Southern Maine Music Academy (SoMMA)
2019 SoMMA What To Bring and Director's Letter

Southern Maine Choral Music Academy (SMCMA)
Letter to SMCMA Campers
SMCMA Daily Schedule

Southern Maine Junior Music Academy (SMJMA)
Letter to SMJMA Campers
SMJMA Daily Schedule


Should percussionists bring any instruments?

Yes, percussionists should bring drumsticks! The University provides everything else they will need for rehearsals and performance.


How are medications handled?

We have a head counselor who will be willing to carry out the parents' instructions regarding administration of medications, and you will have an opportunity at check-in to speak privately with the head counselor regarding any medical issues. We also rely on completed parental consent forms to let us know in advance of any particular health concerns. We do not have a nurse on staff. The University Police Department is our 911, and the nearest medical facility is just a few miles away. 


What should we do if our camper needs special accommodations?

If you have questions about disability access or need to request disability accommodations (e.g. sign language interpreters,materials in electronic format, etc.), please contact the USM Music Box Office,(207) 780-5555,, TTY 711 (Maine Relay). Requests should be made as soon as possible to allow sufficient time for the accommodation process.  


Can the campers bring an iPhone?

Yes, campers can bring iPhones, but they will be expected to use them appropriately. They can not use them during rehearsals, and should primarily use them for contact with family, and as alarm clocks and metronomes for practicing. They can be used in a limited way to stay in touch with friends, but campers should primarily be socializing with their new friends at camp. Any kind of inappropriate communication while at camp, such as cyberbullying, is cause for immediate dismissal.


Can I bring the final payment and consent forms to check-in on the first day?

No, these are due 30 days prior to the start of camp. The reason that we must have your forms and payments in advance is first, so that I can prepare the camp directors and head counselors for who they will have in their sections, who has any special dietary or medical needs, AND who doesn't. When there are forms and payments still outstanding, we have to make many revisions to the rosters and staff books in order to keep track of your children. Some children get turned away because of spots taken by those who decided not to come. The amount of time that is spent by staff on collecting outstanding forms and payments is time better spent preparing for camp. There are many weeks of work that takes place before camp begins. In order for check-in to be smooth and pleasant, and to be assured that sections are all filled and campers and staff have what they need on the first day of camp, we absolutely must have your materials well in advance. Thank you for your kind cooperation. Please download the consent form and send it in soon.


Why are deposits non-refundable?

The USM Summer Youth Music and Theatre camps are very popular. Some sections fill on the first day and potential campers are placed on a waiting list. But some of them don't stay there and make other plans. Those who respond quickly and take a space on the roster and then change their plans are having an effect on the planning of others. We must do all that we can to assure that those on the roster are fully intending to attend camp, and that no additional resources are spent on cancellations. Likewise, once a camper is at camp, the full registration fee will not be refunded. 


How can I give feedback?

We'd love to have feedback about your summer camp experience at USM. Send questions, comments, concerns and helpful suggestions to me, Lori Arsenault,, to the School of Music director, Alan Kaschub,, or to any of the camp directors. Their contact information will be in the camp letters. We're working very hard to give your children the best musical and theatrical experience possible, and your feedback will be very helpful and appreciated.


If you have questions about disability access or need to request disability accommodations (e.g. sign language interpreters,materials in electronic format, etc.), please contact the USM Music Box Office,(207) 780-5555,, TTY 711 (Maine Relay). Requests should be made as soon as possible to allow sufficient time for the accommodation process.  


Return to the USM Summer Youth Music and Theatre Camps home page.