- 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.
Those who know me, or have been reading this blog for a while, know that I have been working at the same music camp every summer since I graduated from high school, and had been a camper there for a few years as a child, as well. It has been a constant in my life. Wherever I was going to school, as I was starting life as a professional musician, as I was transitioning from pianist to singer, camp has been part of my life through it all. Some of my oldest and dearest friends are ones I made working there. I met my husband there. It has helped me become who I am today, in many ways. It's a magical place, and I'm always touched by how accepting the kids are of each other, and how kids who just "don't fit in" in their regular lives can come to camp and totally come out of their shells. They come in shy and self-conscious and leave with confidence and a new circle of close friends who love them for who they are.
This was a particularly poignant summer for me, as I realized that camp is a chapter of my life that is coming to a close. I was able to fit it in to my schedule this summer, but while I was there, I felt like it was pulling me away from singing, and it didn't feel quite right. Hopefully, in future summers, I will have direct conflicts with apprentice programs, or roles, or concerts. But even if I don't, I can't take a month off of singing in the middle of the summer. It's not that I really felt like my voice suffered because of it, but I can't stand to be away from it for that long. As hard as I tried this summer, I realized that it is impossible to focus on learning a role or practicing without feeling like I was ripping myself in two. Camp is basically a 24-hour a day job, and the things I do there definitely do not relate to opera. People there do not know me as a singer, which is fine, but the more time I spend there, the less I feel like a singer, and I don't like that at all. So, as much as I love it, I think it's time to say goodbye. Some of my friends from camp will stay in my life in other capacities, and I will still get to visit (Alec still works there), but I'm fairly certain that this was my last summer of working there. Change is hard....
.... and now, acb, it's your turn!