Thursday, June 12, 2014

Preparing for Music Camp

Once again, this year I'll be on the faculty at The Salvation Army Indiana Division's annual music camp. I always feel humbled by their request for my participation because I don't really feel like I am naturally a great leader for the youth singing group. Having sat under some great leadership, I know how far I fall from the mark. The singers I will work with will be beginners at best. Plus, my biggest dilemma is that I never know what to have them sing.  To be honest, there's never been a great deal of selection available at my disposal. I sometimes feel like they are asking me to weave gold out of straw.

When I went in to look over the materials this year, I discovered that several split-track Cd's which were available in the past are no longer there (perhaps they were returned to the individual corps - churches - they came from). In fact, there was nothing with accompaniment and I'm not a pianist and have no pianist for an assistant (merely a camp staffer - probably a teenager at that). I began to feel really terrified.

The camp director gave me a few demo Cd's from Brentwood-Benson Music, but soon I discovered they were only demos and did not include the split-track Cd for accompaniment purposes. Nonetheless, I fell in love with the first two songs for a musical called "Here for the Gold." They are quite upbeat and have melodies which are infectious and fun. So, I have requested the purchase (too expensive and wishing the company would make downloads of the individual songs for a reduced price from the package deal, since we are not actually performing the entire musical, just using two selections). Now, my stress is the worry that the music will not arrive in time for the camp.

Still, I am beginning to feel excited about the prospect of camp. I was hesitant to participate again because I felt stretched so thin in the past two years (with somewhere around 7 or 8 assignments for the week), but I was happy to learn that, with new leadership, they are streamlining some things and cutting out some others, which will mean far fewer assignments and more of a chance to relax and enjoy the week. The staff is smaller but I already feel a sense of kinship with the individuals selected.

I located my son's pretend microphone (something I had wanted to have the students take turns using for fun and to get them to feel more comfortable singing in front of others) and am bringing an old coffee container for students to take turns practicing keeping rhythm. I will spend a fair amount of time reviewing the wonderful videos on You Tube by Kathie Hill (who does a remarkable job of illustrating techniques for teaching kids to sing). Hopefully, the closer the date gets, the more prepared I will feel for the task before me. Plus, I genuinely hope that the students have fun and make great memories.

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