Tuesday, July 26, 2005
Monday, July 25, 2005
Sunday, July 24, 2005
- The latest copy of Opera News
- Scores for the Baroque opera scenes, which look great
- Music for one of the benefits I'm doing in the next couple weeks
- a dvd and photo cd from a recent opera performance
I felt exhilerated and elated. It was as though the universe were reminding me that real life and wonderful opportunities are waiting for me when I go home later today. I can't wait!
Friday, July 22, 2005
I'm still enjoying camp, but I'm getting very anxious for it to be over. I finally caught the cold that's been circulating around the staff, and although I escaped with a very light case (thanks to Zicam and EmergenC!), it has still put a damper on my spirits. Also, it's been quite a rainy summer. It was supposed to be sunny all week, but early this morning (around 2:00 a.m.) it started pouring rain, and our tent, which has been great so far, decided to start leaking in about 10 different places. Not enough for us to get soaked, but enough that there was nowhere we could put the air mattress so that we weren't getting dripped on at least a little. Annoying. Luckily, the sun is back out now, and the rain promises to hold off at least through tomorrow, so hopefully we won't have to relive the moving fiasco of last weekend (see the post below).
On a brighter note, my vocal ensemble is fantastic this week, and has some boys with changed voices, strengthened by a couple male staff members, so we've been singing some of my favorite music, South African folk songs. I've spent a little time in South Africa, and I have to say that their folk music touches my soul in a more direct way than any other music I've ever heard. In fact, it was in South Africa that I first was encouraged to follow singing as a career path, so it definitely holds a special place in my heart. Also, the band I'm working with is playing Clare Grundman's transcription of Bernstein's Overture to Candide this week, which is such a fun piece. It also pushes me almost to the limit of my flute-playing ability, so it's been nice to have a challenge. I'm looking forward to the concert tomorrow, and then to getting home to my own bed!
Sunday, July 17, 2005
However, yesterday during breakfast, at around 9:00 am, it started raining, and the decision was made to move the concert inside. The only place indoors at camp big enough to hold all the campers and their parents is the upper lodge, which is where we eat all our meals. Within 20 minutes of finishing breakfast, we (the staff at the camp) had cleared all the breakfast dishes, swept the floor, moved all 36 tables outside, arranged the benches to make a place for the audience, and moved 80 folding chairs and a lot of percussion equipment up the hill from the amphitheatre to the lodge to make a "stage" for the bands and orchestra to play on:
We were all set to have the concert inside. It's not an ideal situation, because the lodge is extremely live accoustically, and the bands are really loud! Also, it gets incredibly crowded, hot, and sweaty with 500+ people crammed in to the space. But, it's better than getting wet. Luckily, by 10:20, 5 minutes before the concert was scheduled to start, the sky looked like this:
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
The other detail (much less life-changing, but still fun), is that I've joined a blog-ring of opera blogs (see the bottom of my site for a link). I know, I haven't been writing much about opera lately, but once camp is over and I'm back to real life, it will become much more prominent. :)
Saturday, July 9, 2005
The concert went very well -- the kids did a great job, and the parents were all touched and impressed by what their children had accomplished in six days. The concerts all take place in a great outdoor amphitheatre, which I promise to post pictures of next week sometime. The performance lasts about 90 minutes, and includes two bands, a string orchestra, a full orchestra, and the all-camp choir. As always, it is hard to say goodbye to the kids who touched my heart this week, but I know there will be more in the two weeks to come. In the mean time, I'm enjoying a little time off. I'll even get some time to practice tomorrow morning hopefully, and get some real work in on the roles I have to learn. So far I've been having to squeeze in 10 minutes here and there, which is fine for things I'm already familiar with, but not so good for things I'm trying to learn from scratch. I'll be grateful for a little quality time.
Thursday, July 7, 2005
Wednesday, July 6, 2005
All this is to say that it is wonderful to see the kids at camp, all music geeks in their own ways, all getting along, making music together, and finding a network of support and friendship among people who share their passion for music. Some of them don't even find this in their own families, and live most of their lives as "black sheep." At camp, there are no black sheep, which is another part of what makes it such a wonderful place.
Also, on a side note, my little vocal ensemble, which generally has about 5-6 girls in it during the first two weeks of camp every year, has 11 girls, 2 boys with lovely soprano voices, and 2 other staff members in it this week, for a grand total of sixteen including me! So far, we've looked at folksongs this week from Spain, England, Croatia, Japan, the United States, and the Hopi indian nation. There are few things more lovely than young voices singing a cappella in harmony. It's good for the soul.
Sunday, July 3, 2005
We have been here since Thursday night, but today is the first day that kids arrive. In these first few days, there has been new staff training, rehearsals of this year's music, and general bonding and fun time. There will be time later to post about all the magical things that happen with the kids at camp, but I wanted to take a few minutes to list some of the things I love about these first days.
- Seeing all our old friends. Every year there are lots of new staff members to get to know (that is particularly true this year -- there are 59 staff, and I would say about 40 of them are in their first or second years here!). However, there is also a core group of us who have been here for a long time. We don't generally see a lot of one another outside of camp -- we live in different places, and have our own busy lives, and outside of an occasional wedding, holiday, or other special event, our lives are pretty separate. But there's a special bond that happens when you spend 3 or 4 weeks with people in an intense setting, year after year.
- Playing my flute -- even though my lips are somewhat chapped after the 5 hours of rehearsals we had yesterday (that's a lot for any wind player, but especially one who hasn't touched her instrument for almost 2 years!), I love getting out my old friend and playing in a band. It's a totally different musical experience than playing piano or singing, even in a choir, and it's great to have this change of pace for a few weeks -- definitely a new perspective.
- Our tent! I love sleeping outside, especially when we can do it in the relative luxury of our home away from home (see photo below), and it's been fun settling in for another summer.
- The views -- again, see the photos below!
- Getting to see new sides of people. One of the wonderful things about camp is how it can stretch your personal limits and encourage you to try things you wouldn't. For example, camp is the place I first got up my courage to sing, alone, in front of people. Ane look where I am now! Also, we all get to use our talents in ways that people don't normally get to see. For example, Alec is a teacher and conductor. I know he's great at it, because I hear his groups during the year at performances. However, yesterday I got to see him teaching first hand, and even got to play in a group that he was conducting, so I saw his amazing talents and skills from a totally new angle.
There will be more posts and photos as the three weeks go on, but I thought you might enjoy seeing some pictures:
The tarp comes off when there's no rain in the forecast, and the top of the tent just mesh, so we can look up at the stars. Inside is a queen-size air mattress with a memory foam pad, down pillows and comforter, and plenty of room to store all our stuff. Next to it is a pavilion where all of us "tenters" gather. This year, we've run an extension cord out, so we have christmas lights, a fridge, and a stereo system. Not exactly roughing it, I know.
Sorry it's a little blurry! This is where staff who are not assigned to a cabin of kids sleep -- there are several small buildings filled with bunks, a living area with a common room, bathrooms, and a kitchen, and a big deck off the back with a gorgeous view. Our little tent community is set up behind it.