International Music Camp

Along the North Dakota/Manitoba border, a very large group of musicians and artists gather every summer. This isn’t your typical band camp.

Since 1956, when they started with just 113 students, the International Music Camp has been providing instruction in music, art, writing, and other related fine arts. From mid-June through the end of July you can hear band music, orchestra music, and familiar strains of barbershop and choral music whispering through the International Peace Garden property.

The Music Camp was set up in the former Civilian Conservation Corps camp. The CCC camp was abandoned after construction was completed on the International Peace Garden. Former CCC barracks, used as housing for construction workers, was later turned into housing for the Music Camp.

Since then, a 2,200 seat Masonic Memorial Auditorium, new dormitories, remodeled and expanded dining hall, nurse’s station, laundry, rehearsal halls, dance studios, and more have been added. The camp now has 80 buildings including 38 practice huts.

Camp Director and his staff

Tim Wollenzien, camp director since 2006, was a music educator for 22 years prior to IMC: Lake of the Woods School in Baudette, MN for 12 years, Coon Rapids and Osseo Senior High Schools, MN for a total of three years, U of MN teaching assistantship for three years, and St. Cloud State University, MN for four years.

Tim plays the euphonium, also known as the baritone horn, a small relative of the tuba. Tim plays with the International Tuba Quartet at IMC each summer and conducts the Minot Community Concert Band during the school year.

Throughout the year, the International Music Camp is administered by Tim Wollenzien and Amy Hall, full-time administrative assistant. Amy is in her tenth season with the IMC. Along with the Minot Symphony, she also plays flute and piccolo with the Minot Community Band.

Laurie Wollenzien, Tim’s wife, is an assistant to the Camp Director and has many roles. She supervises most of the administrative staff at the camp in the summer, coordinates health care and staff nurses at the camp, coordinates standards and accreditation, administers human resources, among other things. She is an RN with the Trinity Cancer Care Center. Laurie plays the French horn in the Minot Symphony Orchestra and the Minot Community Concert Band.

Former Camp Directors 

The International Music Camp was founded by Dr. Merton Utgaard in 1956. From the Music Camp’s 50th Anniversary book, about Utgaard: “He conceived the idea, he tailored the concept, and he formulated and developed what was to become North America’s premier Summer School of Fine Arts.” Dr. Utgaard received numerous awards throughout his career, including the Citation of Excellence from the National Band Association, the Governor’s Award for contributions to enrichment of the arts in North Dakota, and the prestigious A. Austin Harding Award from the American School Band Directors Association.

Joe Alme served as Camp Director from 1983-2006. Among his prestigious awards: Distinguished Service Award from the North Dakota Band Directors Association and the Leadership Award from the North Dakota Association of Non-Profit Organizations. Alme was also inducted into the ND Music Educators Hall of Fame in 1995.

Interesting stats


Last years’ staff was about 200.


In 2011, over 2,100 students from 5th grade through H.S. age and adults.

The majority of attendees are H.S. students.

Countries represented

75% of students are from North Dakota and Manitoba.

South America, Europe, and countries A to New Z.

2011 – 12 countries were represented.

Classes include

Music classes: chamber music, percussion, garage band, piping and drumming, piano, organ, guitar, jazz band, fiddle, hand bells, choir, a cappella pop choir, vocal jazz, barbershop chorus.

Other: basic and advanced digital photography, sound technology, musical theatre, dance, composition, art, and creative writing.

Flag array at IMC, 2011

Enrollment and recruiting

Though the Camp has an established enrollment – attendees come year after year in many cases – Tim recruits by corresponding with last year’s members and attendees and visits local schools and organizations. Posters and brochures are sent throughout North Dakota and surrounding states and throughout Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Direct mail is sent to former students, schools, universities, and colleges.

Other activities

In addition to instruction, there is a Friday night concert series, Saturday concerts open to the public; the students enjoy breaks and evening activities like group dances, movies, talent shows and a teachers’ concert. There is also a gift shop and concession on site.

More info

There is more information available on the website

Sign up for the newsletter here. Check out the Facebook page and Twitter.


Address – 111 11th Ave., SW, Minot, ND  58701-4693

U.S. Phone – 701-838-8472

Email –


Euphonium photo – Ronand7,

Flag photo by Karen S. Elliott



Filed under Guest Writers & Bloggers, Special Events

6 responses to “International Music Camp

  1. ontheplumtree

    Love this Karen. What a wonderful resource for people to come together, learn and share. I bet this is a buzz.

  2. Oh, what we can learn from music and the music makers!

  3. Audrey Keith

    I attended 3 sessions at IMC for creative writing. It’s very intense, and well worth while.

  4. Pingback: North Dakota Week kick-off – fun travel destinations and events | Karen S. Elliott's Blog

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