I wasn’t sure what to expect. Never had a chance to wear out my from singing before, but it was the ‘good’ kind of tired…
For newcomers, you can click any picture to see it full-sized
So it started Friday night after work. I wasn’t sure what time I needed to be there, as I had been bugging folks for a schedule without success. From work I headed for the Wallowa Lake Camp and arrived early for dinner. I got registered and received a star on my nametag. When I inquired, I learned that the star proclaimed to all that it was my first year. Throughout the weekend, I called it my license for stupid questions… Fortunately, I wasn’t the only ‘un-trained’ voice and everyone was VERY accommodating and helpful.
For dinner, we had a curried chicken thing that was delicious. I’ll try not to run on about the food, but it was all very good and balanced. I wasn’t used to eating quite so many vegetables, so it was good for me to experience them actually tasting good for a change!
After dinner, we did a quick sight-reading (sing as you go, though you’ve never seen it before) of all 10 PIECES of music we were going to learn. I should have been scared, but our conductor, Peter Wortelmann has to be the best person I’ve ever performed for, hands-down. His communication and demeanor helped me navigate a steep learning curve whilst enjoying myself all the while.
After some ‘meet & greet’ I went home and hit the sack. I should explain that the camp had a separate rate for those ‘commuting’ and not requiring accommodations, so when everyone headed for the cabins, I drove home.
I made it back Saturday morning after breakfast for morning worship which was offered by Lostine PC’s very own “Pastor Steve.” As one of his better sermons (in my opinion) I enjoyed the encore.
Being my first time, I wanted to take full advantage of the camp. There were scheduled blocks for workshops and other sessions between rehearsals, but all of which were optional, with no pressure. Next time, I might skip one and breathe, though.
First up was “Shape Note Singing.” Apparently, back in the old days, it was easier for people to learn music by seeing shapes for different notes. (Doe, ray, me, fa, so, la, etc.) We learned and practiced a few pieces to do at the “Variety Show” later.
After Lunch, I attended Dean’s hand bell class. It’s fun, but more complicated than it looks. We ended up ringing bell parts in 2 of the 10 pieces. Then I practiced a quartet from a few friends at church for the Variety Show.
We then broke up into ‘sectionals’ where the men worked on our stuff, and the women theirs. I took in a quick lesson from our Choir Director, Iva Lindsey before our next rehearsal. Dinner was awesome (of course) followed by another rehearsal. (I was hoppin’.)
After all that, we had a “Variety show.” Many folks did little performances, skits, and jokes. It was a blast. I sang a quartet called “Dry Bones” where I carried the very bottom part, it was well received.
I was going to post videos here, but I realize now that these are (legally) performances, and I should therefore have permission from the performers, which I don’t. (Feel free to tell me otherwise, guys!) Please enjoy this photo album instead!
After the Variety Show, I went home and decided I HAD to catch up on chores, which kept me up until midnight (not very smart, in retrospect). I got up on time, started the coffee and accidentally passed back out. I missed Steve’s service, and was even late for rehearsal! (I’m rarely late for ANY thing.) As I approached the hall, though, the sound flowing onto the lawn was gorgeous. I decided to sneak in the back door and take my place in the back row with naught but a conciliatory facial apology to Peter.
After another fabulous meal, I got another hand-bell session in before our final rehearsal. At this point, we rested our instruments, and I decided to run home and grab my video camera to record the concert. I had this brilliant idea of using the remote control to start & stop the camcorder from across the room. Unfortunately, the darn thing wouldn’t stay awake long enough
We had a lovely performance, where I think we did quite well, considering the time constraints. We shared watermelon with the audience and socialized a bit before an evening communion service and fond farewell.
Overall, it was a wonderful experience. The weather was fantastic, the talent inspiring, the people warm and encouraging, and though I felt busy, it really was a relaxing, refreshing experience that I’d like to repeat someday.