Anabaptist Orchestra Camp exists to offer praise to the Lord by giving Anabaptist instrumental musicians the opportunity to play their instruments with other believers, to develop their skill, and to enjoy fellowship with other musicians.

The weekend consists of rehearsals, chapel, workshops, individual and sectional practice time, as well as time for recreation and conversation.

In October 2011, we held the first camp with two dozen musicians, mostly strings, and a grand total of five brass and woodwinds. We played several hymns, staple classical pieces, “He Shall Feed His Flock” and “Come Unto Me” from Messiah, and others. Since then, the camp has grown significantly.

Anabaptist Orchestra Camp is held the second full weekend in August (Thursday-Sunday). This year camp is being held at Legacy Christian School in Sugarcreek, Ohio, and the Sunday afternoon concert is being held at Dover High School in Dover, Ohio. The 2024 camp dates are August 8-11.

Camp Organization

Sarah Sommers, Dalton, Ohio

After begging her parents for several years, Sarah received her first violin at age 12. She studied violin with Mary Bontrager for 10 years and has played with local orchestras and string quartets. She has been teaching violin for more than 18 years and is Level 3 Suzuki Violin School certified. She is passionate about facilitating student collaboration and serves on the steering committee of the Anabaptist Orchestra. In her spare time, she loves hanging out with her nieces and nephews, going to concerts, traveling, and baking.

Jeff Swanson, Terre Hill, Pennsylvania

Jeff Swanson is the conductor and administrator for the Anabaptist Orchestra. He holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Music Performance from Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida, and Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas respectively. He also received his certification in Music Education from Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. A professional musician for the first nine years of his career, Jeff played French horn in the Grand Rapids Symphony and the Philadelphia Orchestra before he decided to be a full-time educator. He has been a choir director, band director, and teacher since 1999. He is currently the director of music at Terre Hill Mennonite High School and Shalom Mennonite School, both in Terre Hill, Pennsylvania. He enjoys singing, running, restoring antique furniture, playing games late at night with his family, and talking to his cats.

Deana Swanson, Terre Hill, Pennsylvania

Deana Swanson has been a member of the Anabaptist Orchestra since 2012, and serves as the administrative assistant on the steering committee. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Communications from the University of Texas at Arlington where she also played in the concert band, and completed her courses in Secondary English Education from the University of Valdosta. Deana began playing the flute in the 6th grade and has played ever since. She currently plays with the Anabaptist Orchestra and Lyrica Sacra. Deana lives in Terre Hill, Pennsylvania with her husband, Jeff, three of her five children, and four cats.

Carmen YoderNew Paris, Indiana

Although she knew nothing about the strange instrument at the time, Carmen decided to play the clarinet in the 5th grade band. She continued playing several years in school, as well as occasionally playing at church and with friends. She began attending the Anabaptist Orchestra Camp in 2013, and is now serving as the registrar for the camp. When she’s not delighting friends and family with the melodic honking of her clarinet, Carmen enjoys working at a local coffee shop, reading, eating, traveling, and spending time with the people she loves.