Stokes Forest Music Camp

Summer 2017:  July 9 - July 22

The Stokes Forest Music Camp is run through the Preparatory Center for the Arts, a division within the John J. Cali School of Music in the College of the Arts at Montclair State University.

Contact us:
By email -
By phone - 973-655-4443
By fax - 973-655-5279

Stokes Info Book 2017
Student Application

Stokes on Facebook

Directions to the camp

About Us

The Stokes Forest Music Camp offers students sessions of intense music making, combined with environmental studies and recreational activities. Its mission is to cultivate a sense of individual self-discovery and self-confidence through the rigors and discipline of music study and an appreciation and awareness for the natural environment.

The Preparatory Center for the Arts, a division within the renowned John J. Cali School of Music at Montclair State University, developed the camp’s curriculum and continues to oversee its musical activities and endeavors. The Preparatory Center was established in 1976 to provide musical education and training for all age groups. Through the years the Prep Center has served as a supplemental musical enrichment for some and comprehensive musical training ground for others who have gone on to pursue careers in music. The Preparatory Center for the Arts and its programs are dedicated to providing students of all ages, backgrounds and levels of ability with the experience of learning music in an encouraging environment intended to enhance creative growth and promote a life-long understanding of and appreciation for the musical arts.

The New Jersey School of Conservation provides the beautiful campus where the Stokes Forest Music Camp is held and the environmental experts who run ecology classes, hikes and activities. It is a school within the College of Science and Mathematics at Montclair State University and serves as the Environmental Education Field Campus for the University. It also has the distinguished title of the oldest university-operated environmental education center in the nation. The School of Conservation is located 57 miles from the Montclair State University campus on a 240-acre tract of land located in Stokes State Forest in Sussex County.  Over the years, the philosophy and program content at the School have evolved with the development of the environmental education movement in the United States and throughout the world. The mission of the School of Conservation is to convey knowledge of how Earth systems operate and how human actions affect these systems. It is intended that this knowledge will cultivate the prolonged performance of environmentally responsible behaviors and the development of self-confidence to support the development of attitudes, beliefs, and values that will aid individuals and groups alike in the resolution of current environmental problems, the avoidance of future environmental problems, and the quest for sustainable development.

The Stokes Forest Music Camp is the result of the dedicated contributions these organizations bring enabling the camp to offer an exceptionally balanced program that stimulates and inspires students long after they have returned home.

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Montclair State University’s Preparatory Center for the Arts grants admission to students between the ages of 10 and 17 who have a musical background. Early application is encouraged! A day program is available for qualified younger students and residents of Sussex County and nearby locations. Please e-mail the Preparatory Center for the Arts office at for details or call (973) 655-4443.

Two week session: July 9 - 22, $1,800
One Week session: July 9 - 15, $950

Day Camper
Two week session: July 9 - 22, $1,450
One week session: July 9 - July 15, $725

Registration Fee: $75 (This fee is in addition to tuition)
Tuition and Fees include all room and board, T-shirt, insurance, on campus medical expenses, classes, chamber and large ensembles, concerts, master classes, recreational and environmental program activities. Tuition and Fees do not include private lessons, which can be added at a nominal cost after acceptance. A Private Lesson Request Form will be provided with acceptance materials.


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Musical Activities

Students enter with an instrumental, vocal, keyboard or composition focus. Individual student schedules typically include a large ensemble, one or more chamber ensembles, a music theory class and electives. Students may also opt to sign up for one to two private lessons a week per instrument at an additional fee. An appropriate theory class and chamber ensemble will be assigned based on the student's background and experience.

The orchestra and/or band are the primary ensembles for all string, woodwind, brass and percussion students. A wide variety of representative works in the orchestral and band repertoire from baroque through contemporary will be rehearsed and performed. Seating in either ensemble is established by placement audition on arrival day and reviewed weekly. 

The Jazz Ensembles are offered to provide instrumentalists and vocalists the opportunity to learn and perform representative pieces of jazz literature. Students learn techniques of improvisation through theoretical understanding and a progressive refinement of improvisational performance skills.

The Rock Band provides qualified students the opportunity to learn and perform representative Rock songs. Students are exposed to various techniques of rock ensemble rehearsal through the use of listening and chart reading. Additionally, emphasis is placed on an understanding of the historical contexts in which the various rock sub-styles emerged.

The select choir is the primary ensemble for voice students and is also open to all interested students. Repertoire from madrigals to musical theater favorites will be explored and performed.

Chamber ensembles offer a unique opportunity for students to develop skills and awareness in intonation and control of their instrument, refine the listening skills necessary in a small ensemble, as well as gain exposure to various chamber works. Chamber ensembles are grouped according to student level. Ensembles rehearse daily under the supervision of an experienced chamber music coach.

Each year the camp presents a musical at the end of the first week. The musical is an abbreviated version of a representative music theater work. The production offers students the opportunity to participate in all aspects of rehearsing and presenting a show.

Every student is required to participate in a theory class. Students are exposed to the essential principles and practices of music construction. Through reading, analysis, composing and a progressive refinement of aural skills, students are given a comprehensive approach to the understanding of music.


The evening concerts, which span the two-week session, include performances by faculty, students and guest artists. Concerts include solo and chamber performances, a music theater production and lecture-recitals featuring professional musicians.

To supplement the camp’s daily schedule of music activities, private instrumental, vocal and/or composition lessons can be arranged at a nominal cost. In the lesson, students are encouraged to expand technique, repertoire and the skills necessary to their development as a musician. Students may sign up for one to two private lessons a week per instrument or area of study.

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Environmental Activities

An integral part of the Stokes experience is the unique opportunity for students to explore, understand and appreciate the natural environment. School of Conservation faculty provides campers with various nature activities, studies, and presentations intended to cultivate an awareness of the natural world and an appreciation for it.

Recreational Activities

A variety of recreational activities are available each day in the afternoon as well as certain evenings.  Students have the opportunity to participate in hiking, canoeing and row boating, archery, woodworking, the climbing wall as well as a variety of Action Socialization Experiences and more. Evening recreational events include campfires, dances and movies.

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Facilities and Accommodations

The camp is located 57 miles from Montclair State University on the New Jersey School of Conservation property in the heart of Stokes State Forest just off of route 206 in Sussex County, New Jersey. The School of Conservation facilities are divided into two campuses, known as Wapalanne and Sequoya. These campuses are separated by Lake Wapalanne, a gorgeous man-made lake that was created in the 1930’s as part of President Franklin Roosevelt’s WPA program. They are connected by the beautiful Rainbow Bridge, which arches over the lake. Also found on the premises are two boat docks, a frontier town, craft house, nature center, astronomy center, climbing wall and archery range. Additionally, there are a variety of well-marked trails for hiking and nature study activities.


The New Jersey School of Conservation facilities include twelve heated student cabins each accommodating up to twelve students and two counselors. These rustic cabins were originally built in the 1930’s as part of President Roosevelt’s WPA program.


Campers, faculty and staff dine in the Big Timbers Dining Hall. Meals are prepared on premises by the New Jersey School of Conservation kitchen staff. The camp menu is varied and nutritionally well balanced. Special dietary needs can be accommodated including vegetarian, vegan and certain dietary restrictions.

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An infirmary is maintained on the premises with a nurse on call twenty-four hours a day.  In the event of a serious emergency, the camper will be taken to Newton Memorial Hospital for treatment. All medical expenses and insurance are the responsibility of parents or guardians. 


Lou Kosma, Artistic Director

Artist Faculty
Sophia Anastasia, Flute
Patrick Breiner, Jazz Saxophone
Adrienne Ostrander, Percussion
Lanny Paykin, Cello
George Spitzer, Musical Director, Voice
Marti Sweet, Violin/Viola
Charles Yassky, Director of Bands

Residential Administration
Christopher Hoffman, Director of Students
Letitia G. Stancu, Assistant Director of Students

The Stokes Forest Music Camp has an outstanding counseling staff. All counselors are matriculated music majors or graduates from major music schools and conservatories including the Cali School of Music, Carnegie-Mellon, the Crane School of Music, Hartt School of Music, Ithaca College, New School in NYC, Rutgers University, Oberlin Conservatory, Julliard School, Manhattan School of Music, and others. All are trained and understand the rules and regulations of the New Jersey School of Conservation and the Stokes Forest Music Camp. In addition to monitoring and assisting campers in their daily routines and activities, counselors are actively involved in ensemble coaching and lessons.

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