Photo Credit Noah Trevino
Helping campers find a voice by writing songs
August 1, 2016

In her third trip to Culver, singer-songwriter Michaela Anne Neller took on her third role.

In March of 2014, Neller spoke and performed during Culver Girls Academy’s annual Culver Women’s Celebration. Known as Michaela Anne professionally, she had the CGA students on the edges of their seats as she talked about her childhood and being the daughter of Jeni and Mike Neller. Capt. Mike Neller, Culver’s Commandant of Cadets, served as a United States Navy submarine officer for 29 years.

A year after CWC, Michaela came back to work individually with teachers and students in the Music Department.

This summer, Michaela taught a class at Culver Summer Schools & Camps. Offered during the final trimester (two weeks) of camp, students wrote one or two fully formed songs and performed them on the final day.

“I believe in learning by application” Michaela said. “Everybody takes what they learn very quickly and is able to apply it just by throwing themselves into the deep end and trying to write a song. It’s all very diverse sounds and the lyrics are all formed by their experiences, so it’s been a very fun class.”

After camp, Michaela will return to her home in Nashville, Tenn., where she is a professional touring musician. However, Nashville hasn’t always been Michaela Anne’s home. In both of her previous visits to Culver, Michaela spoke about her time as a Navy Kid, always having to move around, never really having a hometown.

“I literally don’t have a hometown” says Michaela. “But I grew up mostly in Washington State because we would keep getting re-stationed there”

Michaela’s love for Washington is clearly demonstrated in her 2011 album To Know Where. A favorite song among Culver students, Oh Washington is a tune that many CGA students have had stuck in their heads since Michaela’s first trip to campus. It’s a song that every Culver Kid can relate to, a perpetual love for a town, a home away from home, fun summers, and the importance of holding on to those memories.

When asked what she would miss most about teaching at camp, Michaela said “I’m going to really miss the kids. I teach private lessons and workshops throughout the year but I’m also on tour a lot with my band playing in clubs and bars.

“This is a nice change of pace for me,” she added. “I love being able to work with a group of really talented, really smart high schoolers.”

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Posted in Fine Arts Summer
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