You may be thinking, “Choir Camp doesn’t really sound that exciting,” and in some ways you’d be right. This camp may not be jam-packed with activities that’ll knock my socks off, but that’s why I like it. Sure, I come to sing, but that’s never what I remember most…
This year I felt several things. I was nervous that all the smoke would make singing unpleasant. As it was, I had learnt to reserve my instrument, lest I lose my voice. Between Friday and Sunday night, we would learn and practice 10 pieces! I felt tired & burned-out. My vacation was all but restful, and I was stretching thin amongst my job, DIY projects, and making time for Birdy. I was anxious that so few had turned out this year, and the word around camp was that participation was too low to be sustainable.
As I arrived Friday after work, I silenced my phone, and immediately started to relax as I greeted old friends, and found solace amongst the woods. Hugs & smiles were exchanged, while I also got to meet some new acquaintances. We handed out music, gathered for camp business, and shared a nice meal before our first practice.
Being a ‘commuter’ I got to drive home each night. This afforded me a lesser rate, but forfeited breakfast and time with the group. Saturday broke clear, sunny, and not as hot as in the past. The day’s practices were broken up by workshops, and I elected to do African drumming in lieu of hand bells this year.
A student returned from EOU once again, and taught us a lot. Striking the drum in a few, prescribed ways produces different sounds & tones. We practiced a few rhythms, being ‘called in,’ and generally had some fun messing around.
With lunch time came more rehearsal, where we broke into men/women groups. We were VERY fortunate this year, as we had not one, but two directors! They each took responsibility for 5 pieces, and this allowed both groups to have adequate direction. Occasionally, I get drawn into some ensemble for the talent show, but this year all they needed was a good “snapper.” While the ladies sang ‘Blueberry Hill’ I strutted around goofily, snapping my fingers. This year’s show also produced a myriad of wonderful performances including vocals, bells, ukulele, and even a mouth-trumpet!
Sunday started with a low-key service. While hosted by the Methodist denomination, we had many there from other walks of faith, including those not ‘set-apart’ in Christianity. The group, I’ve found, is welcoming of all. We had a roll & grape juice communion/sacrament and some guitar-driven worship before resuming our practice.
Later, I took the workshop on ‘Mindfulness’ which was a brief introduction into meditation tools and breathing exercises. I find I have to ‘humor’ people on this sort of ‘fluffy’ stuff, but usually get value from it in the end. This time was no different, as some of the science behind it was explained. I now also have a method to beat my sporadic insomnia, so that alone was worth an hour of my time. (Thanks Steve)
With the workshops being optional, I took some time to relax, too. I started up a ping pong game with a few folks. This grew and (in addition to learning “around the world”) we ended up playing with some Nez Perce kids who were sharing the accommodations while they were in horse camp.
It ended, traditionally, with a no-charge performance Sunday evening. Some pieces this year were so beautiful they got me choking up at times, so I had to focus on counting. Combined with a few attendees that had ‘moved on’ from this mortal realm, and I found myself quite in-touch with my “fluffier side.” I had lots of friends show up to the concert, so it really felt good.
Now if only I had gotten another day before going back to work! Until next time, enjoy some pictures….