Friday, August 19, 2011

Music Camp

      When I was young there was always an exciting, mysterious, somewhat idealized novelty connected to the concept known as Summer Camp.  It always sounded fun and adventurous - meeting new best friends, spending the whole day playing (more or less), and (most appealing) no summer chores for a week.  :)  I only went to camp twice during my childhood, and while it was fun - mostly - it wasn't as wonderful as I'd imagined it.  And I never felt cheated that Summer Camp wasn't an annual childhood ritual.

Fast forward to me being grown up and my friend MJ telling me about the really great music camp she attended every August, and how I'd really enjoy it.  I smiled, nodded, and quietly wondered to myself, "Aren't I too old for camp?"  When I think "camp", I think councilors; camp fires; little kids running around all day with more energy than I can imagine having; random craft projects; mass produced camp food; and lots of late nights giggling after the lights have been switched off.  These days, I qualify as down-right boring: work at a steady pace with my sisters at whatever; quiet time by myself; do nothing in the sunshine; eat good food; go to bed when I'm tired - which is invariably earlier than your average camper.  :)  Once all that went through my head (in less time than it too you to read it) I had flashbacks to the little I'd learned about music camp when I first started playing violin; they were way beyond my capability AND they usually had an age cut-off that disqualified me anyway.  So as fun as it would have been, I'd written that particular adventure off years ago as "expired possibility - may it rest in peace".  But there was MJ telling me there was a camp that didn't have an age limit, and if she could handle the music so could I.  I said no for two years: the first year was just plain cowardice; the second year didn't work because of scheduling.
Last year, when I bumped into MJ the week before camp she graciously extended a third invitation.   Even I was surprised when I said I'd think about it.  I mentioned the idea to dad, who encouraged me to go.  Long story short: I went.  With little warning and almost no pre-camp music practice I took courage and stepped out to try something new.  And I am so glad I did!  To say "it was so much fun" doesn't quite do it credit.  But there is really no other way to say it . . . .

It was SO MUCH FUN!!  When MJ said we'd be staying in a cabin I thought rustic cabin with sleeping bags, maybe a shower and a lot of campfire food.  Umm . . . no.  We have the coolest house ever.*

Three bedroom, two bath, full kitchen.  With six adult women who like good food, it could do with a second refrigerator, but since we have a dishwasher nobody is complaining.  :) That screened in porch is the new bit this year, and if the deck had a electrical outlet I'd be practically living out there.
Living in our house, besides me, is Jedi 'Cellist; not to be confused with The Irish 'Cellist, who also lives here; The Librarian; MJ; the Irish Dancer (who is The Irish 'Cellist's niece); the Student Violist and the The Very Cute Book-Worm - who came with the Jedi 'Cellist.  Did I forget anybody?  We have a lot of fun.
One of my favorite things about our house is the view.  From our deck we see this:

A short walk and all this beauty . . . .

 My favorite spot is at the end of the deck; my second favorite spot (unless someone claimed it first) is the swing that overlooks the lake.

 But the setting is really bonus to the music.  Not as challenging as last year, but still hard enough I have to work at it.  I love teaching, I really do - but I miss the challenge of having to stretch my own skill well beyond what I am comfortable with.  This stretches me.  (Which is an understatement - last year I thought the Mahler movement was going to be the death of me.)  With youth orchestra and adult orchestra running back to back we usually rehearse from 4:00 pm to approximately 7:30 pm - one break between to get re-situated and moment or two of stand-up time when the conductor can tell we're all getting really stiff.  On paper that doesn't really look like much . . . . at the moment my shoulders are telling me otherwise.  :)  But its a good sore.  And the days have gone by really fast.

So to my family - who encouraged me to come, challenged me to "not cheat" on the gluten/refined sugar free thing, and filled the gaps in my chore schedule:
Thank you
I'm learning; I am enjoying; and the musical corner of my heart is being fed.  I guess I must have needed this.
With lots of love 

PS - if there are any cookies lurking in the house, you better hide them before I get back!  :)

*with the exception of mine.  I think my house is pretty cool, too - as are the people who live there. :)

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