Thursday, July 28, 2016

Music Camp 2016 In the Books

Another music camp has come and gone. Once again, I was asked (graciously) to be on faculty (this time in primarily assistance roles - shwew!) and once again, I had a marvelous time. We figured out that this is my 5th year on the faculty and not since my first year have I been able to attend with one of my sons as a camper. Thankfully, this year was Trevor's first year that he took any interest in going (I'm guessing this was prompted a bit by his upcoming role in the percussion section of his middle school band).

My first assignment was to administer the theory tests to all campers. I kept waiting and waiting for Trevor to make his way into the dining hall, so I could see how much theory he actually knows. Alas, he never arrived. When I checked on this at the faculty meeting, that first afternoon, I discovered that his counselor never took he or another few boys to their placement tests (not for theory or band placement). As a result, that evening he was pulled aside by the percussion instructor and simply asked a few questions. Because he didn't try out, he ended up being placed in the beginner band (a placement he felt was in error because he could perform far better than his peers in the band). Even so, he was able to shine in his track and had a good time making a friend in one of the other percussion members in that band.

At the first evening program, the faculty was introduced to the campers in a rousing game of "Would You Rather." Since the theme was based upon Star Wars, most of the questions I was asked were hard to answer because I've only seen three movies and many a moon ago.

On the evening of the second full day, Trevor wanted to go home. The heat was really taking a toll on him (most days were in the 90s with a real feel over a hundred). When he went to sign up for his afternoon elective, all the indoor games slots were filled and so they placed him in the hiking track. He's a bulky boy and hiking in the best of conditions would be a challenge for him. He gave up after ten minutes and ended up standing in the sun for the rest of the hour, waiting for the others to return. He was none too pleased to discover that the evening program required more walking in the heat as we participated in a music scavenger hunt. Still, he survived and ended up really enjoying his camp experience, despite the heat.

Before we knew it, the middle of the week arrived and with it the promise of the annual faculty trek to Steak-and-Shake. We always pile into a bunch of vans and descend upon the unsuspecting restaurant, requiring two lengthy tables to fit us all. Conversation was good and it was such fun to spend time among the adults after pouring into so many kids throughout the week.

Another highlight of the encampment was the opportunity to play my horn with the faculty band. We attempted a rather difficult Star Wars arrangement and I was given the solo horn part (even though I had offered to cover 2nd Horn, not wanting to be responsible for any unexpected solo). There was a section in the music where I was supposed to play slurred triplets of E-C-E, E-C-E, ... over and over. Because the fingering is the same for both notes, it was all lip to try to get the notes out. In the end, I gave up and simply counted those measures off - ha!

I think my favorite piece that we played was a cornet solo featuring Lynda Carr Cooper. It was called "People Need the Lord." Lynda is a phenomenal musician and the piece is absolutely beautiful. Plus, my part provided a soothing harmony for the melody line.

My favorite assignment this year was a role as assistant leader for a Creative Writing Elective. All of our campers in the class were enthusiastic about writing (such a pleasure to meet young people with similar passions to my own). I had prepared about a hundred writing prompts and each camper was given a day to write up a post for a blog about camp. The girls (all girls) had a wonderful time getting thoughts down and sharing what they had written with everyone else in the class.

At the final concert of the week, the intermediate choir (the track I assisted with) did a fabulous job. They enjoyed both of the two numbers selected by the leader and I was able to direct one of the pieces (great fun). By the time the concert was over and our instruments and belongings collected, both Trevor and I were pleasantly exhausted. We stopped for a special Culver's treat on the way home to celebrate a fantastic shared camp experience.

No comments: