Today was the first full day of band camp. In many ways it was a feeling of back to school. The beautiful campus at the Interlochen Center for the arts, people scurrying in all directions heading to class, instead of a backpack of books, instruments in hand, folks getting to know each other during meal time in the cafeteria. I’ve met midlife musicians from California, Montana, Florida, North Carolina, as well as members of New Horizons Bands from around the state. They all have pretty much the same story, they either played when they were younger and began playing again after 30 or even 40 years, or decided it was something they wanted to do after they retired. Many of them have been only playing a couple of years, and a few have attended several camps each time coming away learning something new.
I’m taking a fairly basic schedule this week: there is a saxophone ensemble class first thing in the morning. There are six of us in the class, two are good, the rest of us are fairly green, but we manage to get through the music without too many major mistakes. The Intermediate Band is fairly small, the woodwind section is fairly green (there were two alto’s at the sectional rehearsal) but with practice I think we will sound okay at our concert Friday morning.
After the morning sessions, I need to rest my lip a bit, lunch, and a free period. Today was spent in one of the practice huts working on Intermediate Band music. Tomorrow may be used to work on technique for the only afternoon class I have, beginning conducting. Gotta work on what comes after the downbeat.
Other courses being offered this week include, conch shell playing, introduction to percussion for wind players and a class that seems a bit intriguing, “Way Back and Far Out”…(Bach and after Beethoven). There is also a strolling band class, and classes on jazz styles.
Then there is dinner and another chance to meet my fellow campers, and an evening session for the Intermediate and Advanced bands. Then maybe a little time to unwind, and maybe a little more practice if the lip holds out.
So far lots of walking, enjoying the wonderful Northern Michigan weather (sunny, highs in the low 70s) and casual conversations with some great people.