Ferrwood Music Camp held a dedication of a historic marker followed by an open-air concert on July 14. Father Anthony, Generose of Queen of Heaven Church, Reverend Earl Roberts lll of Lattimer United Methodist Church and Richard Kline, Chairman of the Ritual Committee of Agudas Israel Syngogue, blessed the plaque at the music camp. The music camp has been the venue for music instruction and outdoor activities for youth since 1967. It is tucked away in Drums on Middle Road near the Drums Elementary School.
Founded on the basis of giving children music education and making them better citizens, the camp today, in addition to music education provides outdoor recreation, arts and crafts, healthy food, nutrition tips, exercise and just plain fun.
The Reverend Joseph Ferrara, initially founded the Greater Hazleton Philharmonic Society and later started Ferrwood Music Camp as a complement to the orchestra. The camp was originally founded in 1927 as the Luzerne County Fresh Air Camp for children predisposed to Tuberculosis. The camp operated throughout the 1950’s. Father Joe upon inquiring about the need for a facility to hold a music camp and perform for the community was alerted about a potential site. Left abandoned and overgrown over the many years, on the first search it could not be located. Once found and following an investigation into its ownership, the County
Commissioners agreed to lease the camp to the Philharmonic Society. The site is located on the former Kislyn tract in Butler Township. The property was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2004.
Robert J. Lagana, President of the Greater Hazleton Philharmonic Society said of Father Joe, “he was extremely dedicated to his vocational duties and responsibilities, to be sure. However, he found a way to marry his vocational calling with his talent as an accomplished musician and the result was nothing less than spectacular.”
Inscribed on the bronze roadside marker is:
FERRWOOD MUSIC CAMP
NAMED AFTER “FATHER JOE” FERRARA WHO ESTABLISHED FERRWOOD MUSIC CAMP IN 1969.
“WHILE I MAY NOT TURN EVERY CHILD INTO AN ACCOMPLISHED MUSICIAN, THROUGH MUSIC, I CAN CREATE A BETTER PERSON FOR LIFE”.
THIS CAMP WAS ORIGINALLY FOUNDED IN 1927 AS THE LUZERNE COUNTY FRESH AIR CAMP FOR CHILDREN PREDISOPOSED TO TUBERCULOSIS.
THIS PROPERTY WAS PLACED ON THE NATIONAL REGISTER OF HISTORIC PLACES IN 2004.
The CAN DO Community Foundation “adopted” Ferrwood Music Camp in 2000. In accordance with its mission of “CPR – Conservation, Preservation and Reclamation – Breathing New Life into our Community” the foundation pursued the restoration of the camp and have it placed on the National Register.
Along with the historic marker dedication, the foundation held its 25th Annual Meeting at Ferrwood. Gary F. Lamont, foundation president said “The preservation of Ferrwood is important to the heritage of this community and the foundation’s effort enables the use of the camp for generations to come. The members of the foundation are proud to work with the many individuals, businesses and organizations to continue to have Ferrwood Music Camp as an integral part of the greater Hazleton community”.
Under the direction of Phil Latella, the volunteer music director and Chris Stamatopoulos, volunteer camp coordinator, the instruction and activities continue to expand. Phil who was taught by Father Joe works with an army of volunteers, some of whom attended the camp to make Ferrwood come alive.
This year the members of the community were the benefactors of eighty five “camperships” made available to children that do not have the means to attend.
The event committee was headed by Nancy Stasko who is very much involved behind the scenes. She secures donated supplies from various companies as well as seeks hotel rooms for out of town instructors at no cost. She was joined by fellow committee members Elaine Judd, Lonnie Polli and Chris Stamatopoulos. They are examples of many individuals too numerous to mention, who make the extra effort during the season, to make Ferrwood happen.
For more information, visit the Ferrwood Music Camp website: http://ceomusiccamp.org/ferrwoodnew/.