Our History

SAIL (Strings Alliance in Lincoln) Music Camp was the brain child of Phoebe Hamann. The first exploratory meeting was held in March 1985. It was attended by representatives of the P.T.A., Lincoln Public Schools, Sigma Alpha Iota Music Fraternity (SAI), and the community.

Camp opened in August of that year on a shoe-string budget. Thirty-five students attended the inaugural camp at Auld Pavilion at Antelope Park. Lincoln Public Schools provided instruments to use at no charge.

In accordance with the name, the camp had a nautical theme. Staff and teachers wore SAILor hats. The clanging of a ship's bell announced the changing of classes and the beginning and end of the day. The young musicians were grouped into "fish schools" according to their instrument and ability levels. Special, easy-to-play songs with a nautical theme were arranged by the SAI members. Many students had never played their instruments before the beginning of SAIL Camp.

The ambition, dedication, and donation of time, talent, and supplies by Phoebe Hamann and her Sigma Alpha Iota sisters were important elements in the establishment and continuing success of SAIL Camp.

From its meager beginnings of one half-day session with 35 young musicians, SAIL Camp has now grown to include two camp sites with morning and afternoon sessions. There is also a two week Honors Orchestra session for more advanced musicians. Over the past 30 years, the camp's enrollment has grown to 375 students.

Admiral Bev Lightner, Captain Mike Swartz, a dedicated staff of string teachers and professionals, and the volunteers of Sigma Alpha Iota continue the work that was so lovingly envisioned and started by camp founder Phoebe Hamann and her SAI sisters.

SAIL Camp was recognized for 25 years of service by the Lincoln Public Schools Board of Education in 2009.